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A band of nine singers from the US and Canada, known as the Hawaii National Symphony, are the first musicians to be honoured with an annual award for their contribution to Hawaiian music.
The group, based in Honolulu, performed a rendition of the iconic song Hawaii by Hawaiian folk singer Heather O’Brien in 2016 and 2017.
Hawaii is known for its unique indigenous culture, which includes a number of ancient traditions including traditional dances, singing and traditional food and medicine.
The new award is part of a wave of recognitions by the Hawaiian government to highlight its cultural diversity.
In 2018, Hawaii recorded the highest number of cultural festivals in the US, according to a report by the Hawaii Arts Council.
More than 400 artists and performers were nominated for the prestigious honour, with a record number of entries.
“Hawaiians have been singing music for thousands of years,” said Hawaii State Museum curator of Hawaiian music, David Kim.
“It is our duty as a Hawaiian community to preserve the music that has been passed down to us and to continue to honour our music, in harmony with the natural environment that we live in.”
Kim said the band’s performance was a testament to the resilience of the native Hawaiian culture.
“They have a unique and creative approach to performing and creating music, a unique way of speaking, and a very distinctive sound that is unique to Hawaii,” he said.
“We are so grateful to the Hawaii Symphony for recognizing their contribution.”
The Hawaii Symphony, which is part-owned by the state of Hawaii, has previously honoured performers with cultural, musical and literary achievements.
The award recognises the contributions of the Hawaiian music industry, which has produced many of the nation’s greatest hits and is the largest performing arts industry in the world.
It was previously recognised in 2008 for the contribution it made to the preservation of the country’s indigenous music.
It is also a part of the Hawaii Music Award, which recognises acts who have made significant contributions to the development of contemporary music in Hawai’i, including Hawaiian musician and songwriter Aloha Jazz.
Hawaiian folk music has been around for centuries, but there have been many changes in the past 30 years, including a shift in focus to the production of music and recording technology.
There have also been cultural shifts, including the rise of a modern, hip-hop culture that has influenced the Hawaiian culture and music.
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