Hawaiian group Olomana started out as the duo of Robert Beaumont and Jerry Santos in 1973, and within three years they had put out their debut, Like a Seabird in the Wind. The album featured the Beaumont-penned "Home" and "Ku'u Home O Kahalu'u," which was written by Santos. The duo, melding traditional and more modern Hawaiian music, soon went on to record a couple more albums, And So We Are and Come to Me Gently. In the early '80s, the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts bestowed half a dozen of its awards, called Na Hoku Hanohano, on Come to Me Gently. The title track, composed by Santos, took home the title of Song of the Year. Another song, "E Ku'u Sweet Lei Poina 'Ole," was composed by Emma Defries and won the Hawaiian language award, the Haku Mele.
Olomana grew from a two-man band to a four-man outfit with the additions of bass player Wally Suenaga and drummer Willy Paikuli. Beaumont died in 1982, and Haunani Apoliona joined the group that same year. In honor of the important role Beaumont played in the making of Olomana, the group released an anthology that included a song that was penned for him, "The Lovelight in Your Eyes." Santos and Apoliona also released solo albums. Expecting Friends, Santos' 1989 release, garnered a pair of Na Hoku Hanohano prizes for Contemporary Hawaiian Album of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year. Apoliona took home half a dozen of the awards two years earlier for her solo effort, Na Lei Hulu Makua, Na Wahine Hawai'i. Among the awards were Traditional Hawaiian Album and Female Vocalist of the Year. In 1992, when Olomana put out the album E Mau Ana Ka Ha'aheo (Enduring Pride), three more awards came the group's way, among them one for the year's finest Traditional Hawaiian Album. The band named itself after a mountain of twin peaks in Maunawili on the island of O'ahu. "Olomana" translates from Hawaiian as "old man." ~ Linda Seida