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Archive for May, 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. Manowaiopuna (The Royal Hawaiian Serenaders’ recording on the album Legends Of Waikiki)

I love a great vintage recording of a great Hawaiian song, don’t you?

And the Royal Hawaiian Serenaders’ recording of this song, also known as KOʻULA, is one of my favorites.  Their arrangement is simple–nothing flashy or showy (other than the stellar falsetto!) which really allows the beauty of this classic song to shine through.

Triple love it.  True story.

*Please click HERE to read a great bio via the amazing Territorial Airwaves website.

2. Kuʻu Pua Pakalana (Natalie Ai Kamauu’s recording on the album ʻĀ)

For the second week in a row, this song is my obsession.  Still listening to it over and over.  Still singing it when I wake up in the morning.  What do they call that?  An “earworm” right?

(I’m so happy that I still love it and that it’s not driving me crazy by now!)

It’s contemporary and timeless at the same time.

According to the album’s liner notes, she says she wrote it to honor her son, Chaz.

It brings tears to my eyes and warms my heart.

*Please click HERE to visit Natalie’s website.

(** Crooner Note: Congrats to Natalie for her Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award this year: Female Vocalist of the Year!)

3. Nā Vaqueros (Kuana Torres Kahale’s recording on the album Kaunaloa)

I was on the treadmill this week and this song started to play.  I actually stopped the treadmill to look to see who was singing.  I had been zoning out (one of the benefits/hazards of running on a treadmill) and I heard the Spanish lyrics and was confused for a minute… I thought I’d been listening to Kuana Torres Kahele.  Then I recognized the song and had to laugh!

I love it for so many reasons: it’s beautiful, for sure.  It has a strangely familiar feel to it–I hear a lot of Spanish music living in NYC.  So it’s familiar that way.  And yet it also has a traditional hula feel to it, too!  How cool is that?!

*Please click HERE to visit Kuana’s website.

(**Crooner Note: This whole album rocks my world.  And it rocked the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards this year, too!  A giant CONGRATS to Kuana for all of the recognition he received for this outstanding album: Album of the Year, Hawaiian Album of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Song of the Year (Nā Vaqueros) and Liner Notes!  Fantastic!)

4. Over (Keahiwai’s recording on the album Local Girls)

I was feeling homesick for my friends/family on Oʻahu this week.  And this song, recorded by the fantastic duo known as Keahiwai, always takes me back.

It’s totally contemporary–well, it was released in 2001, but that’s contemporary in my world.  A mild “Jawaiian” feel to it.  It makes me want to head out to the North Shore and watch some surfing and catch some time in the sun and sand.  I love how it makes me feel.

It takes me back to happy times, for sure!

5. Waimaka Helelei (Dennis Kamakahi & Stephen Inglis’ recording on the album Waimaka Helelei)

You guys know how much I love Uncle Dennis Kamakahi!  And this song (& album!) that he recorded with Stephen Inglis is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

I think this song will enter into the classic/staple Hawaiian song category very soon.  So simple–yes.  Verses are only 2 lines long.  But so deep!  It pays tribute to the folks that lived at Kalaupapa–the colony for those affected by leprosy (Hansen’s Disease)–located on the island of Molokai.

We’ve needed a song like this for so long.  And finally, it’s here.  A giant MAHALO to Uncle Dennis for writing it.  And to Stephen for sharing his musical gifts.  Individually, they are fantastic musicians.  As a duo, these guys are incredible.

*At the time of this writing, Uncle Dennis shares this song AND the lyrics on his website.  Just click HERE to visit the site and listen to this song!

*Please click HERE to visit Stephen Inglis’ website.

(**Crooner Note:  CONGRATS to Uncle Dennis and Stephen for their Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award for this album: Slack Key Album of the Year!  Right on!)

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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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, POPS!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I wanted to wish my kumu, my teacher, my hānai Pops

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  HAUʻOLI LĀ HĀNAU!!

anakala pilipo, pilipo solatorio, molokai, halawa valley

Happy Birthday, Pops! (5.29.12)

He’s the best.

True story.

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It was March of 1989.  My grandfather was in the hospital, dying of cancer.

I was sixteen years old–and mad at world.

Mad at what?

Mad at everything.  I was mad at my parents for making up what I thought were ridiculous rules.  I was mad at our government for making what I believed were bad choices.  I was mad at fast food restaurants for using factory-farmed animals.  I was mad at my high school girlfriend for talking to another guy in the hallway.  I was mad at my kid sister for being the youngest and knowing how to win my parents over when I couldn’t.

I was mad.

And I showed it by dressing in black clothes.  From head to toe.

And I wore a peace symbol pendant around my neck.

I was anti-establishment.  I was anti-everything.

(Including myself.)

I remember going to visit my grandfather shortly before he passed away.

Standing in the hospital room beside him, I suddenly became very aware of my anti-establishment, anti-govenrnment, anti-everything attitude with attire to match.  My grandfather–a World War II veteran–had fought to defend this country that I was, essentially, turning my nose up and snubbing.  He was a proud patriot and I was known for talking about running away to live in a different country.

I remember shifting uncomfortably.  Maneuvering my feet to hide anti-everything slogans I’d written all over my canvas hi-top shoes.  I remember trying to look more “respectable” and less “rebellious” at that moment.

I don’t remember how the conversation started that afternoon, but we got to talking about our country and the armed forces.

And I remember him saying, “I fought so that you would have the freedom to disagree.  I fought so that you would have the right to question WHY.  Never stop asking WHY.”

And I’m proud to say I never have stopped asking.

See, I may not always agree with everything.

I may want to protest.

I may speak my mind when I’m asked. (Ok, sometimes even when I haven’t been asked.)

But I have so much respect for those men and women who serve our country in the armed forces.

Because of them, I have the right to disagree. To protest.

And most importantly, to question WHY.

A giant MAHALO, thank you, to our soldiers for serving.

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Aloha kākou!

Here’s this week’s question:

Who is featured on the “tails” side of the Hawaiʻi State Quarter?

A. Duke Kahanamoku

B. Mary Kawena Pukui

C. King Kamehameha I

D. Rell Sunn

E. Israel Kamakawiwoʻole

F. Queen Liliʻuokalani

G. King David Kalākaua

H. Lena Machado

• 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:

Wow!  I’m so happy to see that so many played along with this being a holiday weekend.  Mahalo for that!

The correct answer is C. KING KAMEHAMEHA I.  I’m not a coin collector, but I’ve received several Hawai’i State Quarters over the years as gifts.  I love the design, don’t you?  What are YOUR thoughts about it?

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

Hope you all have a great weekend.

A hui hou…

Jason

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Tug ‘O War

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Today I found myself caught in a tug ‘o war.

On one side: I was stuck in the future: So many projects happening all at once. I was thinking that maybe I’ve put too many irons in the fire at one time. How am I going to get ‘em all done? How can I do ‘em all well? Filled with anxiety.

And then, of course, I also found that I’d been dreaming about the potential success that these projects bring. The accolades that could be/might be there.

On the other side: I was trapped in the past. I could see so many missed opportunities. I could see things I should have done differently. I was playing the “If only I’d…” game.

And then, of course, I also found myself basking in the sweet memories of things that have gone well. Things that went according to plan. Or even better than I’d anticipated.

The problem with all of this? I wasn’t moving! I was stuck! 

It’s like BOTH sides of the rope had an equal pull.  Both sides were locked.  And so was I.

After what felt like HOURS of sitting and fretting and daydreaming, I realized what was happening. So I had to stop. And breathe.

And I took a strum break. The sound of those four simple strings always helps to bring me back to the present moment and helps me to focus! (And to be totally honest, sometimes I find myself calming down just by looking at an ‘ukulele. Simply knowing it’s there brings a smile to my face.)

I had to remind myself that the only reality is the present moment.  

Yes… I have a lot of things on my plate. But fretting about them or dreaming about their potential outcomes doesn’t help me to move forward. Instead, I’m stuck.

And likewise, worrying about things I’ve done wrong in the past or basking in the glow of past accomplishments doesn’t move me forward, either.

So I’ve set a timer to remind me to take conscious breath every hour.

And I’m keeping an ‘ukulele within arm’s reach.

And I’m making (tiny!) movements forward. One at a time today. But movement–any movement!– is good.

Movement is not stagnation.  And I’m grateful for that.

Right on.

*What do YOU do when you find yourself in a tug ‘o war between the past and the future?  How do YOU return to the present moment?

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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. Heavenly Hana (John Piʻilani Watkins’ recording on the album Songs To Remember: Hana-Maui)

Ah!  The soothing sounds of this vintage recording has been rocking my world this week.

And such a fantastic falsetto!  Auē!  Someday… Someday…

This English language song is one that will delight listeners of old-school Hawaiian music.  Sung by the composer himself, John Piʻilani Watkins’ recording of Heavenly Hana is a favorite, for sure.

*Please click HERE to read a great bio via HawaiianMusicHistory.com

2. Kuʻu Pua Pakalana (Natalie Ai Kamauu’s recording on the album ʻĀ)

Ok.  This song is my obsession of the week.  I mean it.  Seriously.  I’ve been listening to it non-stop.

It’s contemporary and timeless at the same time.

According to the album’s liner notes, she says she wrote it to honor her son, Chaz.

It brings tears to my eyes and warms my heart.

*Please click HERE to visit Natalie’s website.

(** Crooner Note: A special MAHALO to Kbelle for introducing me to this song.  Wow.)

3. Kalāhuipuaʻa (Nālani Olds with Kaimana’s recording on the album Hawaiian Classics)

This song came on my iPod this week while I had it on shuffle mode.  I was amazed at the beautiful and clear voice I was hearing thru my headphones.  I had to stop and listen.  A melody that I wasn’t familiar with.  Absolutely lovely.

When I got back to my apartment, I went to my CD collection so that I could look up the album and read the liner notes.  That’s when I really started to learn about the artist, Nālani Olds and this haunting song, attributed to Larry Lindsey Kimura.

LOVE THIS!

Her voice is so clear and clean and I want to learn more.  To listen to more.  I guess I’ll have to be a real detective to track down some more of her recordings.

*Please click HERE to read an article (from 2000) about Ms. Olds.  Fascinating!

4. Summer Lady (Cecilio & Kapono’s recording on the album Elua)

Oh!  I was craving some 1970′s goodness this week!  Something with a good groove and maybe some moody chord progressions–as long as it was still sparkling and fun.

And I found it in THIS song!  (And kinda fitting, too, with Memorial Day weekend coming up.  Summer is fast approaching!)

Yup.  A favorite.  I’ve had it on the TOP 5 lists before.  And I’m sure you’ll see it, again, someday.  Why?  Because it’s a favorite.

1970′s goodness.  Right on.

*Please click HERE to visit C & K’s website.

5. Keiki Time (John Keawe’s recording on the album Hawaiʻi Island Is My Home)

Yes… this song was on last week’s “TOP 5″ list.  And I’m including it on this week’s for a good reason:  it’s still playing in heavy rotation for me this week, too!  Mahalo, John, for sharing a song that delivers such a smile.

I love the sound of the acoustic guitar and the warm colors it brings to my mind.

And I especially love the sounds that John Keawe coaxes from his guitar.

I’ve been trying to find the words to describe the sounds in this song.  I keep coming up with “sparkling” and “golden” and “carefree” “the feeling of childhood” and “running” and “laughter.”

He uses really cool chord progression!  At one point, I thought he was taking a “moody” turn in the piece.  And then I was delighted when he turned it all back around in the next few chords.  Just like childhood–full of ups and downs.

The next time I see him, I hope to remember to ask him about the moment that inspired this piece.  I’m sure there’s a great story.  He paints such awesome pictures with the sounds of his guitar.

*Please click HERE to visit John Keawe’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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