Nā Hoa secured their first GRAMMY® Award nomination in the Best Regional Roots Album category as the Recording Academy announced on December 7th, 2018, the final ballot nominees for the 61st GRAMMY® Awards. The Best Regional Roots Album category is dedicated to recording artists for releasing albums in regionally based traditional American music, including Hawaiian, Native American, Polka, Zydeco, and Cajun genres.
High-pitched falsetto voices whimsically singing traditional Hawaiian tunes bring forth images of Hawai‘i’s unparalleled history and scenic terrain. Falsetto singing is an integral component and trademark of traditional Hawaiian music, which is the genre that Keoni Souza (bass), 34, Ikaika Blackburn (‘ukulele), 36, and Hale Seabury-Akaka (guitar), 35, have diligently worked hard to perpetuate over the years. Together they form the group Nā Hoa, simply meaning “friends” in Hawaiian.
Young men playing songs of Hawai‘i’s past is minimal, yet the niche is rapidly growing as more young Hawaiians find solace in their roots. As Nā Hoa acknowledges the importance of their heritage and pays tribute to the decorated musicians that went before them, they are filled with a tranquil sincerity and obligation which is unmatched.
Each of the three group members plays music all over the world, individually or as a group, for select hālau (hula groups) who showcase their hula in competitions or concerts at different locales. The most frequently visited destination for the trio is Japan, where the market for traditional Hawaiian music is potent with demand. Souza’s most notable performance was at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City. Other destinations that have been entranced with Nā Hoa’s music include: New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and California.