Jacqueline ‘Honolulu Skylark’ Rossetti, pillar in Hawaiian music, dies at 65

Jacqueline ‘Honolulu Skylark’ Rossetti, pillar in Hawaiian music, dies at 65
Jacqueline Leilani “Honolulu Skylark” Rossetti passed away at the age of 65 Wednesday. (Rossetti Ohana)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaiian music community is mourning the loss of another beloved and renowned figure: Jacqueline Leilani “Honolulu Skylark” Rossetti.

One of the founders of the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, Rossetti garnered numerous awards and recognition throughout her career in the island music business.

She died Wednesday afternoon of complications from end-stage renal disease, her family confirmed. She was surrounded by loved ones as well as Hawaiian music at Kaiser Permanente at Moanalua.

She was 65 years old.

As a 1971 graduate of Kamehameha Schools, Rossetti went on to work in broadcast radio.

After studying in San Francisco, she returned home to Honolulu and quickly became a popular radio personality at KNDI.

Rossetti moved on to become one of the pillars of the Hawaiian music broadcast industry during her time as a midday announcer and program director on KCCN 1420 AM.

She helped bring a renaissance to the art of Hawaiian music in the mid to late 70s, which gave birth to groups like the Sunday Mānoa, Brothers Cazimero, music of the Hōkūleʻa and more.

“Rossetti has touched more of the Hawaiian music industry than anyone; helping music artists and entertainers, mentoring three generations of radio announcers and was the voice of many Hawaiian issues and many Hawaiian events,” the family said in a statement.

She’s also credited with helping jumpstart the legacy of the group the Mākaha Sons of Niʻihau.

During the height of her career, she was honored as an Outstanding Hawaiian Woman of the Year in 1984, Broadcaster of the Year in 1991, and won two Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards in the 90s.

She was also recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts. And for more than 30 years, she helped emcee the Merrie Monarch Hula competition.

Also instrumental in skyrocketing the popularity of KCCN FM 100, Rossetti carried her passion for Hawaiian music and culture with her when she moved to Hilo in 1992 and began working with radio stations KWXX-FM and KAPA Hawaiian FM. She also took on a role with the county of Hawaii in Economic Development.

Rossetti is survived by her longtime companion, Kimo Laʻau, her children, Imaka Lindsey, Kilohana Lindsey and Makana Rossetti-Ota, and six grandchildren.

Memorial services are pending.

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