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“Hey Crooner! Sing Us a Christmas Song!”

Monday, December 19, 2011

When folks know you as “The Accidental Hawaiian Crooner(and you tell people that you carry your ʻukulele with you everywhere you go), it’s not uncommon to be asked to share a song or two.

I mean sharing a song between friends, kanikapila-style/jam session-style–not breaking any of the copyright laws!  (That would NOT be a good thing.)

And because I’m a believer of Showing Up and Saying “YES!”, I’m happy to honor a request.

When the holidays come around, I know to expect to be asked to share a song at the parties we attend.

Of course, there’s the hapa-haole classic, “Mele Kalikimaka.”  In fact, that’s what most people request.  And I’m happy to strum and sing it for my friends.  Written by Mr. R. Alex Anderson in the late 1940s, the song has become somewhat synonymous with Christmas and the ukulele.

However, I wanted to expand my repertoire a bit.

Jumpin’ Jim Beloff has compiled a great book of Christmas songs called Ukulele Christmas. (He doesn’t use an ʻokina in the spelling.)  It’s got 30 songs and they’ve all been arranged for the ʻukulele–complete with chord charts and everything you need to get you up and strumming quickly.

And to help me out with Hawaiian translations of some “traditional” Christmas carols, I looked to the book NĀ MELE O HAWAIʻI NEI (collected by Samuel H. Elbert and Noelani Mahoe.)  There’s a whole section devoted to Christmas songs at the end of the book.

And then I started combing through my CD collection to pull songs that I love.  Classics like “Christmas Lūʻau” and “Christmas Island” need to be added to my repertoire, don’t you think?

Now, I know that not everyone celebrates Christmas.  But I’m happy to have a few songs in my book, ready to strum at a friend’s holiday gathering.  Just in case…

What songs are YOU strumming and singing these days?

6 Responses to ““Hey Crooner! Sing Us a Christmas Song!””

  1. Nicole Thibadeaux says:

    Jason,
    Your friend Wendy brought in Ellis Delaney to play at her house and at church, and I haven’t been able to get her tunes out of my head! Of course, I’m not strumming anything (yet!), but I’m sure that will come with time…
    http://www.ellisdelaney.com/
    Mele Kalikimaka e hauoli makahiki hou! (and that’s the total extent of my knowledge of Hawaiian – hope I got it right!)
    Aloha,
    Nicole.

  2. Liko Puha says:

    My favorite is the 12 Days of Christmas “Local Style!” Great mele for audience participation–keiki or makua, it does not matter. Really fun when you add small kine hand movements or sounds.

    “Five BIG FAT PIGS!”

  3. carol says:

    Christmas Island, Mele Kalikimaka and Christmas for Cowboys, along with Santa Baby are part of our uke circle’s “set” for the holiday. And in my other music group it’s “In the Bleak Midwinter” and, getting ready for solstice, a capella “Da Day Dawn”… a traditional tune in 3 part harmony from the Shetland Islands. (no uke for security blanket on that one).

  4. Jason Poole says:

    @ Nicole: LOVE that you enjoyed Ellis! She’s FANTASTIC!! Yes!
    Mahalo for the Christmas wishes. And right back atcha! Mele Kalikimaka!

  5. Jason Poole says:

    @ Liko: ‘Da BESTEST Kalikimaka song. Period! Good fun for all holiday gatherings. Mahalo for reminding me. Time to start making the props…

  6. Jason Poole says:

    @ Aunty Carol: Wow! So fancy, you! Gonna have to learn the Christmas for Cowboys song! Sounds awesome!