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The Crooner’s Weekly “TOP 5″ (6.6.12)

Wednesday, June 6, 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. Wahine Uʻi (Linda Dela Cruz’s recording on the album Hawaii’s Canary)

Vintage Hawaiian music rocks my little piece of the world.  Listening to those voices from the past (both distant and not-so distant) is so rewarding!  I learn something every time.  Something from every song and every singer.

One of the recordings that’s captured my ear and my heart this week is WAHINE UʻI as sung by Linda Dela Cruz.  (Note: this is the version attributed to James Kahele.)  I love the control she has in her voice.  Butterscotch-rich low notes.  A flawless haʻi or break in the female voice–like falsetto.  She almost cries some of the notes–reminding me of the Patsy Cline classic, I FALL TO PIECES.

I could listen to her all day.  And learn something new every time.

*Sadly, Aunty Linda passed away in 2007.  But you can click HERE to learn more about her life via her obituary.

2. Wahi Mahalo (Kamakakēhau Fernandez’s recording on the album Wahi Mahalo)

Riding on the subway, I listen to a lot of music.  This song started playing and I wasn’t giving it my full attention. (Note: Riding the subway in NYC is always an interesting experience–filled with all sorts of interesting people, sounds, smells, etc.  It’s not difficult to have one’s attention be pulled in a million directions at once.)  Then I heard the word MAHALO.  And then I heard it, again.  And again.  And again.

So I restarted the song and gave it my full attention.

I love this song because of of its sentiment.  What an awesome way to close an album–offering up MAHALO, thanks, for everyone and everything in his life.  So awesome!  And it’s just like how Pops lives his life in Hālawa Valley on Molokai–always offering up MAHALO for everything.  A state of gratitude.  I hope to be able to do that.  If ALOHA is the word one hears most while in Hawaiʻi, I promise you that MAHALO is a close second.

And, of course, I’d be a fool not to mention how much I LOVE Kamakakēhau’s voice!  Auē!  This man can S.I.N.G!  Holy wow!  And listening to how pronounces Hawaiian–that, alone is sweet music.

Do you have this album in your collection already?  It’s essential.  Trust me.

*Please click HERE to visit Kamakakēhau’s MySpace page.

3. Beyond the Reef (Amy Hānaialiʻi & Willie K’s recording on the album Nostalgia)

What do you get when you translate a well-known hapa haole classic into Hawaiian and then mix it with a hot and sultry jazz arrangement?  You get Amy & Willie K’s smooth and bluesy BEYOND THE REEF.

This one took me by complete surprise the first time I heard it.  I didn’t expect it.  But the whole album took me by surprise!  They reinterpreted some Hawaiian and hapa haole classics in ways I never dreamed of… And I’m so glad they did!

When I hear the title BEYOND THE REEF, the dreamy crooner-classic version recorded by Alfred Aholo Apaka comes to mind.  So I was blown away by this number that could be “at home” in the heart of a blues or jazz club.  With Amy’s killer vocals and Willie’s killer instrumentals–well–it’s a killer track!

I hope you’ll open your mind and your ears and give it a listen.

*Please click HERE to visit Amy’s website.

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

4. Mele ʻOhana (Kealiʻi Reichel’s recording on the album Keʻalaokamaile)

Homesick for my family this week, I fell in love with this song, again.  Written by Damon Williams and a Hawaiian translation by Charles Kaʻupu, the song feels like it was written by my own heart.

And Kealʻii Reichel is THE VOICE to sing it.  So sensitive.  So perfect.

Nothing else to say. Simple. Perfect.  Yup.

*Please click HERE to visit Kealiʻi’s website.

5. Olinda Road (Pure Heart’s recording on the album Pure Heart)

I love this classic instrumental track from Pure Heart’s debut album.

Pure Heart was awesome!  A band made up of Jon Yamasato, Lopaka Colon and Jake Shimabukuro.  These young guys rocked!  I think I played this CD so many times that it overheated in my CD player.  Ha!

This track features each of them in a special way–Jake really shines on the ukulele (as usual!)  Lopaka’s Latin-infused percussion rocks!  (Are those bongos he’s playing?!)  And Jon is jamming on the guitar.  A great mix, for sure!

I remember listening to this track and having images of guys putting surfboards into a van and heading to the beach.  Does the song have anything to do with that?  Who knows… but that’s the image that I got.

And it’s an image that always made me smile.

I love the group Pure Heart.  And I love that it makes me feel younger when I listen to ‘em.  Mahalo for that, guys.

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!

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2 Responses to “The Crooner’s Weekly “TOP 5″ (6.6.12)”

  1. Karen Cooper says:

    Aloha e Jason!
    Just wanted to say I had a great time today listening to the mele from video: “Hawai’i: A Musical Postcard”, by Brothers Cazimero. 15 great songs with breathtaking scenery throughout.

    Mahalo for sharing your aloha and beautiful mele!
    Me ke aloha,
    Karen

  2. Jason Poole says:

    Mahalo for that, Karen! Love that you shared what you’ve been listening to, too! Much Aloha to you.