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Archive for April, 2012

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. The Hawaiian Wedding Song (Ke Kali Nei Au) (Alfred Aholo Apaka’ recording on the album Hawaiian Wedding Song)

The golden voice of Hawaiian crooner Alfred Aholo Apaka never disappoints me.

And this song, sung as a beautifully touching duet with Diana Moncado, is–well–it knocks my socks off.  Amazing.  Amazing.  Amazing.  Such control.

Wow.

So beautiful, this song.

Some say it’s not the original Hawaiian Song.  And that leads us to the next selection.

2. Lei Aloha Lei Makamae (Aunty Genoa Keawe’s recording on the album Among My Hawaiian Souvenirs)

Aunty Genoa sings this duet with her son, the amazing baritone crooner, Gary Aiko.  Wow.

I mean it:  W.O.W.

Amazing voices singing an amazing song.

I was told by several folks in Hawaii that THIS is the original Hawaiian Wedding Song and not Ke Kali Nei Au… and who am I to argue, right?  I just keep learning and growing.  That’s my job.  (I think we need to discuss this in more detail, don’t you?  Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post!)

This piece, written by the incomparable Charles E. King, has some of the most beautiful lyrics I’ve ever read.

*Please click HERE to visit Aunty Genoa’s website.

3. Kaimuki Hula (Ata Damasco’s recording on the album Paʻina Hou!)

Are you looking for an amazing hula tune with some of the smoothest vocals (and falsetto!) you’ll ever hear?  Well, this is your song!

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the voice (and ʻukulele stylings) of Mr. Ata Damasco.  So smooth.  So seemingly effortless.  I wanna sing like him someday!

*Please click HERE to read more about Ata Damasco on his page on the Ululoa website.

4. Pua Pakalana (The Hula Honeys’ recording on the album Life Just Got Sweeter)

I love the sweet sounds of The Hula Honeys!  And this song, penned by Robyn Kneubuhl, is so dreamy!  I mean it… Heavenly. Ethereal.

According to the album’s liner notes, she wrote the song about the Pakalana flower as it reminds her of her grandmother.

If you close your eyes, I think you’ll be able to see a hula being danced to it.

Sounds that remind of us of “yesteryear” being sung today by a duo of amazing musicians like Robin Kneubuhl and Ginger Johnson.  Yes, please.

*Please click HERE to visit The Hula Honeys’ website.

5. Heʻeia (Rev. Dennis Kamakahi’s recording on the album ʻOhana)

One of my favorite composers/performers is Uncle Dennis.  And he’s such a great mentor for all things Hawaiian.  A true source!

In this recording, he shares the song based on an chant that honors King David Kalākaua.  The recording is like a jam session–including Uncle Dennis’ amazing slack key guitar skills, David Kamakahi’s sparkling ʻukulele stylings and Uncle Dennis’ golden baritone voice.

Wow… imagine what it would have been like to be a fly on the wall in that recording studio when they recorded it!

*Please click HERE to visit Uncle Dennis’ 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 (#60)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Jason Poole, Accidental Hawaiian Crooner, Kamaka 'ukulele, ukulele, urban strummer, Alexander Technique, Clare Maxwell

My support system: my 'ukulele and my bones! (Kamaka standard/soprano 'ukulele at Clare Maxwell's studio in 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!)

*A note about the photo:  I am taking lessons in the Alexander Technique from a wonderful teacher named Clare Maxwell here in NYC.  She’s showing me how to move more effectively/efficiently and my body is responding.  (Mahalo for that, Clare!)  Please click HERE to visit Clare’s home on the web and to learn more about the Alexander Technique.

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Focus

Monday, April 9, 2012

Lately, I feel like I’m being bombarded:

“Pay attention to ME!”

“No!  Try this! Over here!”

“THIS will really blow your mind!  Study this!

And while it’s all good stuff–and I can see how it all (essentially) relates back to one central theme–I can also see how easily I can be pulled in different directions.

My focus grows thinner, weaker with every “new” thing that comes into the picture.

Through it all, I can hear Pops‘ voice in my mind: “Iakona, you have a responsibility, your kuleana. Focus on that.”

And of course, that’s exactly what I should be doing.  Focusing on the task at hand.

So I take a deep breath.

And I refocus my attention.

And I start all over, again.

Right on.

**How do YOU stay focused?  Drop me a line!  I’d love to hear from you.

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Aloha kākou!

Here’s this week’s question:

Who is credited with writing the classic hula song ROYAL HAWAIAN HOTEL?

A.  Johnny Noble

B.  Mary Kawena Pukui & Maddy Lam

C.  Andy Cummings

D.  Mary Pūlaʻa Robins

• 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!  Everyone who answered had the correct answer this week!  You guys sure do know your hula music!

The answer is D.  Mary Pūlaʻa Robins and she wrote it for the 1927 opening of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikīkī on Oʻahu.

And this week’s winner, randomly chosen from all of the correct answers, is… (Drum roll, please…) KAWAILEHUA!  Congrats, Kawailehua!  You’re this week’s Trivia Super Star!

A giant MAHALO to everyone who played along this week.  I hope you’ll chime in next week, too!

Happy weekend, gang!

A hui hou…

Jason

8 Comments

Recharging the Batteries

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Jason Poole, Accidental Hawaiian Crooner, Halawa Valley, Molokai

The river in Hālawa Valley (Molokai, HI 6.24.11)

Today, I realized that my “personal batteries” are running low.

So I’m taking the night to “plug in” to the source and recharge.  I’m looking back at photos from Molokai–which always helps me to feel grounded and relaxed.

And I’m listening to Hawaiian music–which always soothes my frazzled nerves and overworked body and mind.

I’m guessing that I’m not alone in this…

So I offer you this photo as a way to escape for a moment in your mind.

Relax.  Recharge.  Renew.

Right on.

6 Comments

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. Flowers of Paradise (Alfred Aholo Apaka’ recording on the album My Isle of Golden Dreams)

The golden voice of Hawaiian crooner Alfred Aholo Apaka never disappoints me.

This is a song that I only recently became reacquainted with.  I’d been asked about Hawaiian flowers and I searched thru my stack of CDs to see what songs mentioned different types/kinds.  Imagine how excited I was when I came across this one!

I think it would be perfect to do in a show–sharing Hawaiian botany via song.  That’s pretty cool.

2. ʻĀina o Lānaʻi (Aunty Genoa Keawe’s recording on the album Hulas of Hawaiʻi)

When I think of the hula classics, my mind automatically jumps to the one and only Aunty Genoa Keawe.  She set the standard for so many songs!  Her recordings are an encyclopedia of hula music.

And we don’t hear enough music from/about the island of Lānaʻi.  I was just talking about that the other day with a friend of mine.  So I decided I need to learn this song and sing it often!

*Please click HERE to visit Aunty Genoa’s website.

3. Kū Ka ʻOliʻoli Nā Moku (Mark Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu’s recording on the album Call It What You Like)

Hawaii’s rebel kumu hula and rebel chanter.  I love this recording.  I love the fact that he’s playing with “the classics.” Exploring them.  Showing how vital these chants still are today–and helping to introduce a new audience to the amazing poetry.

Yes.  I know there are people that don’t approve of what he’s doing.

And there are others that celebrate it.

I’m glad to have this recording.

*Please click HERE to read more about Kumu Mark Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu.

4. Still The One (The Kaʻau Crater Boys’ recording on the album Tropical Hawaiian Day)

You guys know how much I love a good ’70′s vibe.

And if you read my Weekly “TOP 5″ lists, you know I’m a huge fan of the group Kaʻau Crater Boys.  They had the ability to cover a super-familiar song and make it sound like it was new–and like Kaʻau Crater Boys original.  Amazing musicians who were able to infuse true island flavor into all of their stuff.

Originally released in the late 1970s by the group Orleans, I love what the Kaʻau Crater Boys did with it.

*Please click HERE to visit Ernie Cruz Jr’s myspace page.

*Please click HERE to visit Troy Fernandez’s website.

5. Molokaiʻi Longing (John Keawe’s recording on the album Beautiful Hula Dancer)

I love John Keawe and his special music.  And this song, in which he sings about the beauty of my beloved Molokai, really touches my heart.  Makes me homesick.

It was on Molokai that I first met John and his beautiful wife, Hope.

Special days in a special place.

*Please click HERE to visit John’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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