Islands’ stars shone brightly in 2016

By Wayne Harada, Special to the Honolulu Star Advertiser

It’s time for the 2016 Waynie Awards, this column’s annual retrospective of the past year:

>> Entertainer of the Year: A posthumous nod to Jimmy Borges, the jazz giant who died May 30 at age 80. He lived his last year with distinction and honor, earning multiple Na Hoku Hanohano Awards en route to the pearly gates. Borges shared his bravery by living his nal moments his way: without life-extending chemotherapy and radiation. It wasn’t easy but it was inspiring. My only regret is that he didn’t survive long enough to receive this honor. …

>> Voice of the Year: Auli‘i Cravalho, the Kamehameha Schools student who provided the voice of “Moana,” a Paci c princess, in Disney’s fall blockbuster animated lm. She brought a feisty and enthusiastic element to the role of the unconventional Disney wayfarer eager to carry out the tradition of her people. In the process, she got to sing songs composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the year’s hottest showbiz entity (“Hamilton”), and held her own opposite People’s Sexiest Man Alive, Dwayne Johnson, as Maui the demigod. …

>> Male Singer: Willie K, the Maui super trouper who became a regular at Blue Note Hawaii. He does it all, from Hawaiian to blues to jazz to opera. Doesn’t get any better. …

>> Female Singer: Melveen Leed also elevated her vocal pro le with Blue Note gigs, making her the year’s top wahine.

>> Next Year’s Star: Blayne Asing, the 2016 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards’ Most Promising Artist, who sings, strums guitar and composes music with heartfelt precision.

>> Group: Streetlight Cadence has had an incredible December. The lads — Jonathon Franklin on violin, Jesse Shiroma on accordion and percussion, Brian Webb on cello and Chaz Umamoto on guitar and ukulele — have bounced from promising artists to stars on the cusp of greatness. They used to perform for free on Kalakaua Avenue, so they were delighted that their Blue Note December debut was a paid gig, one of several major pre-Christmas shows including the Ben and Maila Christmas concert at Ala Moana Hotel, the Hawai‘i Bowl halftime show, a show at the Hapuna Prince and two holiday shows at the Hawaii Prince Hotel (including Jay Larrin’s). At year’s end their “Home for the Holidays Live” CD was No. 19 on Billboard’s Heatseekers charts and No. 2 on the Heatseekers Paci c lists. National fame is next. …

>> Comedian: Frank De Lima is tireless and topical. With comedy clubs and CD sales on the wane, he creates his own buzz with parodies that tap the populace’s interests. He paid homage to Marcus Mariota, Black Friday/Cyber Monday and West Oahu orange-coning tra c woes. For the Yuletide his three tutu on The Cab jingles became a sextet with three gents, all ably portrayed and sung by De Lima. Delightful! …

>> Best Charitable Show: Country superstars Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood’s one-night, two-show booking expanded to four concerts at Blaisdell Arena, all with a remarkable $69 admission to bene t the charities and missions at Pearl Harbor. And don’t forget, they vowed to return. …