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Archive for April, 2012

Going Holoholo

Monday, April 23, 2012

I was on Molokai when I first heard this expression–Going Holoholo.

Pops and some of his grandkids were going fishing.  I called after them:  ”Wait!  I want to go with you guys.  I want to go fishing, too!”  (Ok, not really–I didn’t really want to go fishing, but I wanted to go with them.  I was happy to leave the fishing part up to them!)

Pops turned to me and said “We NEVER say we’re going fishing.  If you say that, the fish will hear you.  They will know that we’re heading out to catch them.  Fish have ears!”  (Note: I must have had the world’s biggest “HUH?”  look on my face at this point.)  ”Instead, we say we’re going holoholo–out cruising around.  That way we surprise them.  It’s better.”

And this week, gang, I’m “going holoholo.”

Ok… I’m not really going fishing for fish.

But I am going “off the grid” while I fish around for ideas for an exciting new project.

The blog will be back on schedule next week.  Stay tuned!

With Aloha,

Jason

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Molokai’s West End

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Molokai, west side, mauna loa, jason poole, accidental hawaiian crooner

Molokai's West End (Mauna Loa, Molokai, Hawai'i (7.3.11)

Today I realized that most of the photos that I’ve shared from my times on Molokai are of the island’s East End.

East End (and Hālawa Valley, specifically) is lush and green and tropical and damp and heavenly.

Molokai’s West End is dryer and hotter and has lots of red soil and reminds me of the western plains here on the mainland.  (It’s absolutely heavenly, too!)

I’m always amazed that you can drive from one climate zone to another in such a short amount of time.  All on one island.  33 miles long, 10 miles wide.

So, I thought I should show the west side of the side of the island some Aloha and post a photo.  (And a giant ALOHA to the ‘ohana up there!)

I love the West End.  Stunningly beautiful.

And those skies at night…

So big that I lose my balance when I look up.

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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. Kona Daze (Dennis Pavao’s recording on the album All Hawaiʻi Stand Together )

I love the voice of  the crooner, Dennis Pavao!

This English language song usually makes me think of the Hawaiian group, Kalapana.    It was written by the legendary Malani Bilyeu.

And I usually think of Uncle Dennis Pavao singing more “traditional” Hawaiian songs.

However, I love this version that Uncle Dennis sang!  Love the soul he infuses it with.

Listening to it brings to mind the sunny dryness one finds on the island of Hawaiʻi in Kailua Kona–that heat and sunshine and blue water.  Ah… takes me there in my mind.

2. Mom (Elodia Kane’s recording on the album Tribute to Lena Machado)

Aunty Elodia Kane’s sweet soprano voice is one of my favorites.  And I love hearing her sing the songs of Aunty Lena Machado!  One sweet Hawaiian songbird honoring another!

This particular recording almost has a “Gershwin-feel” to it with the horns.  Or a theatrical piece from a classic Broadway show.  Love it.

The song, while written in English, really has a Hawaiian feel to it.  And it paints such a loving (and/or sad) portrait of what was happening in the South Pacific (and throughout the world!) when it was written.  According to another album’s liner notes, Aunty Lena Machado copyrighted the song  in June of 1944.  The soldiers and their letters home to their beloved mothers most certainly inspired this touching ballad.

It’s melody stays “up high” in the voice… making it a favorite of sopranos and falsetto (leo kʻiekiʻe) singers.

3. Ain’t No Big Thing (Kui Lee’s recording on the album The Extraordinary Kui Lee)

Triple love the fun sound of this song!  And Kui Lee–wow!

The album was recorded in 1966, I think.  And it has all of the earmarks of the era.  Organ, whistles, fantastic guitar, fun percussion.  It’s all in there.

We lost Uncle Kui too soon… I would love to be able to see what he would have created later in life.  I’m so glad we can rock out to his records!

4. Kaimana Hila (Darlene Ahuna’s recording on the album Classic Hula)

When I’m feeling “down in the dumps”–and yes!  Even Accidental Hawaiian Crooners have those kinds of days–I look to a classic, uptempo hula to help chase away the blues.

And this song, written by the amazing Charles E. King, is guaranteed to make me smile.  Like every time!

It describes some of the things one might see if one were to go holoholo (out cruising) in and around the Diamond Head side of the island of Oʻahu.  Fun!

And I love the controlled break in Darlene’s voice–maikaʻi that haʻi!  Hana hou!  Encore!

*Please click HERE to visit Darleneʻs website.

5. Hoʻokena (Ledward Kaapana’s recording on the album The Legend: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar)

When it’s time to relax, to wind down, to shed the stresses of the day, I turn to Uncle Led Kaapana and the awesomely soothing sounds of his kī hōʻalu, his slack key guitar.

The Hawaiian word I’d use to best describe his sound is nahenahe–soothing, gentle.

We all need a little peace and tranquility.  I turn to Uncle Led’s recordings for that.

*Please click HERE to visit Uncle Led’s website.

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 www.mele.com 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 (#61)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

union square farmer's market, nyc, urban strummer, kamaka, ukulele, strummin' in the city

Kamaka 6-string tenor (Lili'u) 'ukulele & the Farmer's Market at Union Square (NYC, April 2012)

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 www.kamakahawaii.com for some of the best ʻukuleles on the planet!)

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What are your “GO TO” songs?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Here’s a question for YOU:

What are your “Go To” songs?

Know what I mean?  Those songs that you love so much–either to sing ‘em or to play ‘em or both! 

Those songs that when you pick up your instrument, you automatically sing ‘em because they make you feel good.  Or maybe it’s because they sound  really good.  Or maybe they are a real workout for you and you use ‘em like a warm-up to get you loose and limber.

What are your “GO TO” songs?

For example:  When I first tune up the ʻukulele, I often strum/sing the Israel Kamakawiwoʻole arrangement of KA PUA UʻI that he sings on his album, Facing Future.  The song’s chord progression allows me to hear the ʻukulele in all of its glory–and I can quickly tell if I’m in tune!

When someone asks me to sing a Hawaiian song, I usually ask ‘em if they want a fast(er) song or slow(er) song.  

If they choose fast(er), I’ll often strum/sing Aunty Edith Kanakaʻole’s KA ULUWEHI O KE KAI.  It’s fun to listen to.  It tells a story and it’s not toooo vocally demanding so that I can have fun singing it.

If they chose a slow(er) song, I’ll often strum/sing something like the hula classic, ALOHA KAUAʻI.  I think the song allows for a lot of cool crooner-isms and I love exploring it.  Simple and challenging all at the same time.

And when I’m at a party and someone asks me to share a song in a song-circle, I usually call out Rev. Dennis Kamakahi’s WAHINE ʻILIKEA.  It acts as an immediate touchstone for me.  It takes me to the island of Molokai in my mind.  Takes me to Hālawa Valley.  It grounds me.  And it instantly takes away any nervousness that I may be feeling.

What do YOU sing and/or strum when you’re asked to share a song?  What songs do YOU sing in the shower or in the privacy of your car (with/without the windows rolled up!)

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Aloha kākou!

Here’s this week’s question:

One of my favorite Hawaiian words is LOKAHI.  What does it mean?

A.  Unity, agreement, accord

B.  To listen, hear, mind, obey

C.  Learned, intelligent, wise

D.  To be fond of, desire, covet

• 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:

Look at you guys–rockin’ the Hawaiian language question!  Right on!

The correct answer is A. Unity, agreement, accord.  (I love the word!)

And this week’s winner, chosen randomly from all of the correct answers, is… (Drum roll, please…) KAREN GUERRA!  Congrats, Karen!  That makes you this week’s Trivia Super Star!

A giant MAHALO to all for chiming in with your answers this week.  Hope you’ll play along next week, too!

Happy weekend, gang!

A hui hou…

Jason

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