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Archive for December, 2011

Aloha kākou!

Here’s this week’s question:

What is the title of song #7 on the CD release of the Aloha Pumehana Serenaders’ album, HULA GEMS?

A.  Beautiful Kauaʻi

B.  I Aliʻi Nō ʻOe

C.  Kalena Kai

D.  Hiʻilawe

• Please submit your answer by posting a reply to this entry on the blog.
• All correct answers will be eligible to win a special email message from me.
• One winner will be randomly chosen at 11:59pm HST.

Will YOU be this week’s lucky winner?

Good Luck!

Aloha Poʻalima! Happy Aloha Friday!

**Crooner Update:

Yes!  Right on!  You ALL  had the correct answer this week!

The answer is A.  Beautiful Kaua’i.  It’s a favorite of mine.  And the book, He Mele Aloha, tells a fascinating story of how the song came into being–as well as some discrepancy with the lyrics.  I love having the chance to get a little bit of backstory on piece–it really brings it to life.

And this week’s winner, chosen randomly from all of the correct answers, is… (Drum roll, please…) Tanya Fleck!  Congrats, Tanya!  You’re this week’s Trivia Superstar!

A giant MAHALO to all of you for playing along this week.  Hope you’ll play along next week, too!

Happy New Year’s Eve!



Leaving for Hawai’i in ONE WEEK!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Auē!  The trip preparation is in full-swing!

And my head is spinning!  Ha!

I’m sitting here at my desk, trying to get some things done, and I had to stop for a minute.  I mean, I’m totally blown away by how awesome this trip has become.  Funny how things work, right?

Here’s what I mean:

This trip is happening because I was asked if I would be a part of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i's New Year’s Ohana Festival.  (Please click HERE to read more about the festival.)

I hadn’t planned to be in the islands on the day of the festival.  But I only hesitated for a moment.   Thankfully, I’ve got lots of folks around me to remind me that I need to Show Up and Say, “YES!”

And the trip started coming together…

I’m really excited (and honored!) to be a part of this amazing festival that celebrates FAMILY and treasured cultural traditions!

And now even more wonderful-ness is happening!  More opportunities to share Aloha while I’m there on O’ahu!

I’m blown away by the synchronicity of it all.  And, true to form, Pops was totally UNshocked. when I told him.

“It’s because it’s RIGHT.  That’s all.  Now you just need to make sure you’re prepared.  E hoʻomākaukau!” (Leave it to your kumu/hānai Pops to find the sanity of it all–and then remind you to get ready!  Ha!)

Stay tuned for a special Weekend Edition post that will fill you in with the details of some of the cool things I’ll be participating in while I’m there.  Details are still coming in…

But it’s… um… AWESOME!

I’m honored.  And humbled.

And so glad that folks are there to remind me to Show Up and Say “YES!”–because that’s when the really good stuff has an opportunity to happen.

Now… back to work!  So much to do!

Right on.

(Happy Aloha Thursday, gang!  Hope you’re having a great day.)


The Crooner’s Weekly “TOP 5″ (12.28.11)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

ukulele Croonerʻs Weekly TOP 3 iPod Jason Poole Accidental Hawaiian Crooner

Aloha kākou!

I always have my iPod with me. It’s my personal jukebox.

Living in New York City, I spend a lot of time traveling underground via subway–and those rides can be long and boring! But having a collection of great music with me at all times keeps me from losing my mind. I can escape to a tropical isle with the push of a button. Portable paradise!

Here are the TOP 5 SONGS from my iPod this week:

1. Alekoki (Darlene Ahuna’s recording on the album All The Best Of Darlene Ahuna-Vol. 1)

This song, whose lyrics are attributed to Lunalilo and music to Lizzie Alohikea, is a classic.  And a favorite.

The stories I’ve heard say that Lunalilo wrote the song because he was disappointed he could not marry the woman he’d hoped, Victoria Kamamalu.  The song’s lyrics are beautifully poetic, rich with imagery.  And it begs for a hula.

I love Darlene Ahuna’s recording–I love her haʻi (female “falsetto” or break) and I love how she lets the lines drop off in a sigh… like that of an exasperated would-be lover.  Right on!

For a great written history of the song, check out one of my favorite books: Nā Mele O Hawaiʻi Nei (Samuel Elbert and Noelani Mahoe.)

•Please click HERE to see Hawaii411′s interview with Darlene Ahuna.

2. Kalua (Love Song of Kalua) (Hui ʻOhana’s recording on the album The Best of Hui ʻOhana)

A vintage song given the royal treatment by the incomparable super-group of Hawaiian music, Hui ʻOhana!

The song, written by Ken Darby, was used in the 1952 movie, Bird of Paradise.  Its haunting melody appealed to many–making it a classic.

And when it’s performed by Hui ʻOhana (and this is a LIVE recording!)–well–it’s awesome.  Like amazingly awesome.  Stellar.

The name Kalua always makes me secretly chuckle a bit.  Did they call her “The Pit?”  Ha!

3. Nā Manu O Kalani Nui (Amy Hānaiali’i Gilliom & Wilie K’s recording on the album Hawaiian Tradition)

Ah!  This recording brings back such memories!  I listened to this album non-stop when I first started learning some of the hula basics.

And this song was a favorite because it was bright and bouncy, but still gentle.  Still nahenahe.

Years later, I studied the song’s lyrics (written by Keliʻi Tauʻā) as  part of my Hawaiian language studies.  The song’s verses consist of only two lines each.  I remember sitting with Pukui and Elbert’s Hawaiian Dictionary on the table and going through word by word.

Amy’s voice shines brilliantly on this track.  Once a favorite.  Always a favorite.

*Please click HERE to visit Amy’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Willie K’s website.

4. Poetry Man (Nā Leo Pilimehana’s recording on the album Anthology I 1984-1996)

I first heard the amazing Phoebe Snow sing this song when I was young boy.  It was a favorite of mine while I was growing up.  And judging by the song’s success, it was a favorite song for a lot of people!

While on Oʻahu years later, I heard the song on the radio.  But this was a different version–a group with tight vocal harmonies was rocking the airwaves.  And while they paid homage to Snow’s original recording, they also succeeded in making it their own.

I was delighted when I realized it was Nā Leo Pilimehana (a.k.a. Nā Leo).  I love them and love their music.

And this is a winning combination: a great song covered by a great group.

*Please click HERE to visit Nā Leo’s website

5. Room Service (Rap Reiplinger’s recording on the album Poi Dog with Crabs)

This comedy sketch always cracks me up!  I mean it:  EVERY TIME!

I love this whole album, but this one track gets me.  Perhaps because it highlights some of the differences in “haole speech” versus “local speech”?   And the uptight man ordering room service?  Auē!  I hope I don’t come across that way!  Local-style humor, to the max!

While I may not order “pickled pigs’ feet” from the menu, I would order this hotel’s room service any time!

*Please click HEREto see a video of the sketch via Mountain Apple Company’s Youtube channel.

What are YOU listening to?  Drop me a line and let me know!

And, as always, a giant MAHALO to Puna and the gang at for being an awesome Hawaiian music resource. You all make the world a better place!  I’m DEFINITELY thankful for that!

**Wanna be the first to know when Crooner News/Updates are posted?  You can subscribe by clicking HERE!**

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Strummin’ in the City (#47)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Kamaka, Kamaka 'ukulele, Kamaka ukulele, soprano ukulele, accidental hawaiian crooner, strummin' in the city

Kamaka standard (soprano) 'ukulele at the Pittsburgh International Airport: pre-dawn strumming! (Pittsburgh, PA 12.27.11)

A lot of folks find it hard to believe that I carry my ‘ukulele with me all the time.

But you never know when you might feel like strumming!

And as Pops is always quick to advise: E ho’omākaukau. Be prepared.

Ah… the life of an urban strummer!

(Do you like the ʻukulele in the photo? Check out for some of the best ʻukuleles on the planet!)


Still “on holiday”

Monday, December 26, 2011

nene, nēnē

A Christmas Nēnē at my folks' house.

Aloha, gang!

I’m still hanging out with the family today.  Lots of wonderful chaos for the holidays.  Young kids.  New folks added to the family.  Lots of food (ok, too much food!) and, thankfully, lots of laughter.

I’ve been writing with my niece while on this trip.  She’s going to be a great writer when she grows up.  I know it.  And it’s fun to encourage her and cheer her on.  We’ve been talking about  writing songs.  She’s also been a great cheerleader for me.  Who knows… maybe I’ll have something cool to share soon!

And my young nephews have reminded me how important it is to be silly and roll around on the floor and play with action figures.  And most importantly, not to take myself so seriously.

I had the chance to strum and sing with my uncle at Christmas dinner.  He’s an ‘ukukele newbie.  So cool to be able to share some Hawaiian-style strumming with someone in my family!  He played guitar years ago so he’s quick to learn chord shapes.  (True Story: I had one of his guitars for years–even brought it with me to New York City when I moved!  And in all of those years, I never learned to play it.  Maybe I was just waiting for the ‘ukulele to come into my world?)  We rocked out for a little while after dinner.  It was great to have the sound of the ‘ukulele ringing thru the air in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!

We will travel back to the Big Apple tomorrow.  I’ll be coming home with lots of stories and new inspiration–the best gifts in the world. And the gifts that money can’t buy.  Cool, right?

How are YOU all doing during this holiday season? 

P. S. Remember to take strum breaks, as needed!  (I am!  Ha!)



Sunday, December 25, 2011

May you and your families find lots of ways to share Aloha today.

The holidays always remind me how important family is.

And the great thing about family is that it’s something that keeps growing… We expand our families to include all of those folks that we love.

Like Pops is always saying, “E ʻohana mākou.”  We are family.  By blood.  By spirit.  By heart.

Happy Holiday!  Mele Kalikimaka!