An awa ceremony takes place at a previous Celebration of the Arts event at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. The annual celebration of Hawaiian culture, art, music and crafts will take place Friday and Saturday. During this year’s awa ceremony at 8 a.m. Friday, Hawaiian practitioners and hotel executives will sit on the sacred mat to sip the bitter waters of Kane as they pledge to support all that is Hawaiian. Photos courtesy Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

For the first time in Hawaii, a women’s falsetto competition will be held Saturday at the Ritz-Carlton Arts Celebration in Kapalua, hosted by acclaimed entertainer Carmen Hulu Lindsey.

“I am honored to join the prestigious tradition as the namesake of the first wahine falsetto competition”, said Lindsey, chairman of the board of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, who will also be performing at the event. “I will do some songs. I haven’t played since I became an administrator.

As part of the Celebration of Island Tastes event from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the resort, the evening will also include a taste of Hawaii’s finest traditional fare and entertainment with the Kamehameha Schools Maui Campus Music Ensemble, followed by candidates’ performance.

“My daughter Napua (Greig) came up with the idea,” Lindsey explained. “She said, ‘we still have competitions for the men, but what happened to the women?’ We were supposed to do this two years ago, and then the pandemic happened.”

The winner of “Carmen Hulu Lindsey Leo Ha’iha’i Falsetto Contest” will receive a recording opportunity with Greig’s Pihana Productions and a cash prize of $600. Second place will receive $400 cash and third place will receive $300. Entrants will be evaluated on song and music, Hawaiian language, and overall presentation, with judges including Amy Hanaiali’i.

The opening protocol is performed at a previous Celebration of the Arts event at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. This year’s ceremony will be held at Honokahua Beach (DT Fleming Beach) at 5:45 a.m. Friday. Photos courtesy Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

Entertainment also includes Hawaiian music and hula by Lindsey and her daughters; Napua Greig and her halau hula, Halau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka; Kahulu Maluo-Pearson and her halau, Halau Kamaluokaleihulu; and kumu hula Kamaka Kukona.

“There are not too many women who sing hai anymore”, noted Lindsey. “It’s a style that should be perpetuated because it really is Hawaii. All the ladies who came before us, who were our mentors, are gone. Aunt Genoa’s ohana perpetuates it, and fortunately my daughter Napua also sings the hai. Raiatea (Helm) is a beautiful hai singer, just like Amy.

A professional entertainer and recording artist, Lindsey won the 2014 Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Female Vocalist of the Year for her album, “A He Leo Wale No E.” His previous albums include the multi-nominated Hoku “Ho’oanapau.” She was featured most recently on Hoku’s nominated album, “Lei Nahonoapi’ilani – Songs of West Maui.”

As a child in Waimea on the island of Hawaii, Lindsey remembers being mesmerized hearing Aunt Genoa Keawe.

“I was around 8 years old and I remember Aunt Genoa singing. I thought that one day I could sing like her.


She hopes the contest will help preserve and perpetuate a unique aspect of Hawaiian music and inspire more women to embrace hai.

“I would like it to continue like Uncle Richard Ho’opi’i and give the girls the opportunity to come forward”, she says.

Celebrating the spirit of aloha with more than 60 of the state’s top artisans, educators, cultural practitioners, speakers and artists, the 30th annual celebration of the arts will take place Friday and Saturday.

“We are thrilled to welcome Hawaiian cultural experts and artisans to Kapalua to create enriching and emotional experiences that will last a lifetime,” said Clifford Nae’ole, the resort’s Hawaiian cultural advisor.

This year’s theme is “Mauka to Makai . . . Everything is connected.” It focuses on global climate change and connects all aspects of life together through educational experiences and spiritual renewal.

“This event keeps growing and growing every year,” said Nae’ole. “It’s Easter, so it’s a kaona, it’s a double meaning of resurrection and rejuvenation.”

Among the weekend’s events, famed Hawaiian practitioner Kahu Lyons Naone will team up with an ambassador from Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Environmental Ambassadors to focus on medicinal plants in a “Science and Spirituality” showing at 11:00 a.m. Friday and 12:00 p.m. Saturday at the resort’s Hawaii Garden.

Waihe’e Limu Restoration Group founder Aunty Napua Barrows teams up with the group’s Kehau Custino to “Limu: Love Them and/or Leave Them” in the hotel theater at 11:30 a.m. Friday.

Lopaka Nakaahiki-Bukoski will present “Ho’oponopono: connecting everything that’s wrong to make it right” at 1:45 p.m. Friday in the hotel theatre. He will explain the process and protocol of the ancient Hawaiian practice of ho’oponopono. Nakaahiki-Bukoski will also share lessons from his great-aunt Mahilani Poepoe at 2 p.m. Saturday at the hotel theater, with “Haki Iwi: Hawaiian Chiropractic.” Participants will learn how gravity, body placement and spirituality can create the ultimate realignment.

Documentary by Kenneth K. Martinez Burgmaier “Hawaiian Spiritual Guardians: ‘Aumakua” will be screened in the hotel theater at 4 p.m. Friday. Maui residents featured in the film include Lyons Naone, Nae’ole, Danny Akaka, and Calvin Hoe.

A fashion show featuring Maui’s top designers, “Na Lole from Maui Nui,” at 8 p.m. Friday in the Salon Ballroom, will include Hawaiian music and hula.

Saturday’s celebratory events include the screening of “Hawaiian Soul” a tribute to Hawaiian musician/activist George Jarrett Helm Jr. in the hotel theater at 3 p.m. Created by ‘Aina Paikai and Kaliko Ma’i’i, this award-winning film explores the bravery of Molokai’s Helm in protesting the US Navy bombardment of Kaho’olawe.

A unique cultural event, unlike any other in Hawaii, explains Nae’ole: “We believe that by inviting Hawaiians into their own homes and making them feel comfortable in their own homes to voice their opinions, show their art, and talk about their accomplishments, failures, and challenges, and having the public listening to guests, locals and practitioners, then maybe they can be part of the solution. It is about awareness and communication through cooperation.

Admission to the 30th Annual Celebration of the Arts is free except for the Island Flavors Celebration. Ticket prices for the Island Flavors Celebration are $110 (general admission), $90 (kamaaina with valid Hawaiian ID), and $45 (children ages 6-12). Children 5 and under are free. Call the concierge for tickets at (808) 665-7089. Food and beverages are available for purchase throughout the event. The full schedule is available at

Today’s breaking news and more to your inbox