Hall of Fame Honorees are selected periodically and are displayed in their own koa exhibit. Each member is given a separate panel which includes biographical information, pictures, and other items of interest.

How Honorees Are Chosen

We’re often asked, “How are Hall of Fame inductees chosen each year?”

Selection of those gifted composers, musicians and vocalists to be honored in the Hall of Fame is made from a carefully researched list. Each year, the Advisory Board chooses several gifted ones to be honored who have been instrumental in creating and perpetuating Hawai`i’s unique musical “voice”. Some have created a sea change in music style; some have composed songs that express the essence of aloha. Others, over more than a century of our Islands’ history, have tuned the ears of the world to Hawaiian music through incomparable vocalization and instrumental performance.

“We still have a long list to go,” says the Advisory Board chairman, Kahauanu Lake, adding “this is not a popularity contest, but rather an historical journey through Hawai`i’s rich culture of music and its influence on our Islands’ history.”

The criteria for selection of musical artists to be inducted into the Hall of Fame is strict

  • The creation of a musical or hula composition(s) that features the use of Hawaiian language and/or poetic style which evidences the highest level of skill, creativity, and /or nuance.

  • The origination of a Hawaiian musical or hula form or outstanding work that preserves an existing Hawaiian music or hula form.

  • Lasting impact and/or continuing popularity of work in the field of Hawaiian music or hula.

  • Work that expands the recognition of Hawaiian music or hula within and/or beyond Hawai’i.

“People ask ‘why isn’t so-and-so in the Hall of Fame?’”, Mr. K comments. ” I tell them ho`omanawanui – be patient.”

Since Na Lani Eha, The Royal Four, all of them composers, musicians and vocalists, began their patronage of Hawai`i’s music culture, the signature history and legends of Hawai`i have made their way into musical expression. The character of it is so unique that on hearing a Hawaiian song, people around the world who may never have visited the Hawaiian Islands, or speak a language other than their own, know the word “Hawai`i”.

Many members of the Hall of Fame Advisory Selection Board received their musical training at home as small children. They were taught the words and tunes by rote, from a parent or grandparent; the songs they learned were passed down by ear, in the traditional Hawaiian manner, as few of the old songs had ever been written down. Several of the Board members are third and fourth generation of well-known families in Hawaiian music.

The Board of Directors applauds our music Advisors for their serious commitment to a difficult task.

2018 Hall of Fame Honorees

Saichi Kawahara
Beamer ‘Ohana (Nona, Keola, Kapono)
Bray ‘Ohana (David K. “Daddy” and Lydia “Mama” Bray)
Ho‘opi‘i Brothers (Richard and Solomon)
Kahananui ‘Ohana (Dorothy Kahananui and Dorothy Gillett)


Literary Awards

He Mele Aloha (Vicky Hollinger, Kimo Hussey, Puakea Nogelmeier, Carol Wilcox)
The Queen’s Songbook (Barbara Smith)

2017 Hall of Fame Honorees

Richard “Babes” Bell
The Isaacs ‘Ohana
The Kanaka‘ole ‘Ohana
Krash Kealoha
Skylark Rossetti
Kimo Kahoano
Karen Keawehawai‘i
Melveen Leed
Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole

2016 Hall of Fame Honorees

Johnny Noble
Jean “Kini” Sullivan
John Kaimikaua
Mamo Howell
Danny Kaleikini

2015 Hall of Fame Honorees

Lokalia Montgomery
Lei Collins
Halekulani Girls (Alice Fredlund, Sybil Bright Andrews, Linda Dela Cruz)
Jerry Byrd
Darrell Lupenui
Thaddius Wilson
O’Brian Eselu

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2014 Hall of Fame Honorees

Hawaii Calls
Sonny Chillingworth
Edith McKinzie
Puakea Nogelmeier
Beverly Noa
Lani Custino

2013 Hall of Fame Honorees

Kamaka Hawaii, Inc.
Matthew H. Kane
‘Iolani Luahine
Napua Stevens
Don Ho

2012 Hall of Fame Honorees

Harry Owens
George Kainapau
George Na‘ope
Ka Leo Hawai‘i
Makaha Sons of Ni‘ihau
Song: Hawai‘i Pono‘i

2011 Hall of Fame Honorees

Benny Kalama
Alice Namakelua
Sam Li’a
James Pihanui Kuluwaimaka Palea
Akoni Mika
Joseph Ilalaole

2010 Hall of Fame Honorees

Ernest Ka’ai, Sr.
Andy Cummings
Richard Kauhi Quartette
Pat Namaka Bacon
Keali’i Reichel

2009 Hall of Fame Honorees

Ma’iki Aiu Lake
Thomas Sylvester Kalama
Kuiokalani Lee
Dennis Kamakahi
Hui Ohana (Ledward Kaapana, Nedward Ka’apana, Dennis Pavao)

2008 Hall of Fame Honorees

Joseph ‘Ae’a
Elizabeth Leilu’uhipolani ‘Alohikea
Albert Po’ai Nahale-a, Sr.
Alice Johnson
Thomas Kihei Desha Brown
Anuhea Audrey Brown
James Ka’upena Wong, Jr.
John Keola Lake
Palani Vaughan, Jr.
Leo Nahenahe Singers (Noelani K. Mahoe, Ramona Noelani Akiona Teves, Ethelynne Kaleimokihana Teves, Lynette Kahekili Kaopuiki Paglinawan.)

2007 Hall of Fame Honorees

Donald McDiarmid, Sr.
Bill Ka’iwa
Jesse Kalima, Sr.
Eddie Kamae
Peter Moon
Marlene Sai
John Pi’ilani Watkins

2006 Hall of Fame Honorees

Charles Davis
Linda DelaCruz
Mahiai Beamer
Emma Veary
Nina Keali`iwahamana
The Brothers Cazimero

2005 Hall of Fame Honorees

Kahauanu Lake Trio
Alfred Alohikea
Bill Ali`iloa Lincoln
Henry W. Waia`u

2004 Hall of Fame Honorees

Kahauanu Lake
Kawaiaha`o Church

2003 Hall of Fame Honorees

Kamehameha Schools

2002 Hall of Fame Honorees

Gabby (Charles Philip) Pahinui
Ray Kinney
Famous Songs: Our Advisory Board honors five traditional Hawaiian songs:
– Alika
– Kalama’ula
– Wehiwehi ‘Oe

2001 Hall of Fame Honorees

Genoa Keawe
Haili Church Choir

2000 Hall of Fame Honorees

Madeline Kaululehuaohaili Lam
Hawaiian Chanters
– Keaulumoku
– Ka`opulupulu
– Kapoukahi
– Kapihe
– Hewahewa

1999 Hall of Fame Honorees

The Royal Hawaiian Band – see history in biographies of Henry Berger and Band Masters Mekia Kealaka`i and David Nape.

1998 Hall of Fame Honorees

John Kameaaloha Almeida
Irmgard Farden Aluli
R. Alex Anderson
Bina Mossman
David Nape
Famous Songs: Our Advisory Board honors five traditional Hawaiian songs:
– Hawai’i Aloha
– Ul Like no a Like
– Kaulana Nä Pua
– Makalapua,
– Nalil (Nä Ali’i)

1996 Hall of Fame Honorees

Sol Ho`opi`i
Alvin Kaleolani Isaacs
Albert R. “Sonny” Cunha
Haunani Kahalewai
Mekia Kealaka`i

1995 Hall of Fame Honorees

The 1995 honorees to the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame are the first to be admitted and, as noted, share space with the Royal Four in the first traveling koa exhibit. Read the full story about how this first select group of Hawaiian musicians came to be so honored.

Henri Berger
Charles E. King
Joseph Kekuku
Helen Desha Beamer
Lena Machado
Alfred Apaka
Sol K. Bright, Sr.
Victoria K. I`i Rodrigues
Mary Kawena Pukui

The Patrons of
Hawaiian Culture

Na Lani Eha, the Patrons of Hawaiian culture, were not only giants in the field of Hawaiian music but form the very cornerstones of subsequent Hawaiian culture and arts, and as such, “preside” over the greats of Hawaiian music honored herein. They have their own prominant place in the 1995 koa traveling exhibit and share space with the first ten Hall of Fame honorees.

David Kalakaua


William Pitt Leleiohoku



(Lydia Kamaka'eha Paki, 1838-1917)

Miriam Likelike