Felix wins top awards at Mokihana Composer’s Contest

The profound lyrics of the song, “Dynasty of the Sun,” brought recognition from judges and the audience at the Kaua’i Mokihana Festival Composer’s Contest and Concert Monday night at the Kaua’i Community College Performing Arts Center.

Heaped with trophies and prizes, poet and songwriter Keahi Felix won the Contemporary Hawaiian category and the coveted Na Poe People’s Choice award.

Music for the song was composed by Edward Machado. The song was performed by a well-rehearsed and talented group that included singer “Lady” Ipo Kahaunaele-Ferreira. That brought them the award for Best Performance.

Felix also won the award for highest overall score, the Lyrical Content award, and the Commercial Potential award.

David “Waveslide” Wilson’s heart-felt musical tribute to his friend, “Muggs Stump,” won first place in the Open Category, backed up by Rick Barnette on guitar and William Rash on trumpet.

Fred Aki won first place in the Professional Category, with his performance of a tribute to the island of Kaua’i, “Beauty Within.” The lyrics include the following: “Nani o Kaua’i, beauty of Kaua’i; rich and blessed by heaven; beauty oh so rare.

Others in the Professional Category were Brett Rouse, Ilima Rivera, Millicent Cummings, and Sam Kitsh and Dawn Cantrell.

“Hauoli La Hahau-Aloha, Hawaii’s Christmas Gift,” by Madeline Brandli, took second place in the Contemporary Hawaiian Category, followed in third place by “With Aloha” by James “Mr. Jim” Schattauer.

Following Wilson in the Open Category were “Oh, Koke’e,” by Peter Wood, second place, and “Ke Akua ‘O Ke Aloha,” by Sophie Ross, third place.

Promoting and recognizing composers on the island, the event is known for its camaraderie, with competing musicians often playing backup for each other.

Contest judges were last year’s Professional Category winner, Richard Beach; past Kaua’i Mokihana Festival board member Doric Kaleonui Yaris; and KKCR radio host Kilipaki Vaughan. Maka and Evalani Herrod provided auditing services.

Sponsors included the Alexander & Baldwin (A&B) Foundation, Kukui’Ula Development, Hawaii Tourism Authority and the County of Kaua’i Office of Economic Development.

The 21st Annual Kaua’i Composers Contest and Concert is the founding event of the Kaua’i Mokihana Festival, which continues island-wide throughout this week.

Highlights include hula competitions and workshops. An updated schedule may be found at http://mokihana.kauai.net/, or call 821-2267 or 652-1249.

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