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Posts Tagged ‘Amy Hanaialii’

Hawaiian Christmas Music? Right on!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Accidental Hawaiian Crooner, Molokai, Halawa Valley, Anakala Pilipo, Hawaii, Jason Poole, Christmas Music, Christmas Music Playlist, Hawaiian Christmas music, kealii reichel, amy hanaialii, john keawe, keahiwai, slack key, eddie kamae, sons of hawaii, hookena, willie k.,

Aloha Kalikimaka!

Hui!  Aloha mai!

Christmas is right around the corner.  And that means that everywhere I go, I hear Christmas music Piped in over the loudspeakers at stores, at holiday parties, on television and the radio, my world is filled with the sounds of the season.

Here in NYC, we hear a lot of the “traditional” recordings.  The standards, recorded by the greats like Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Julie Andrews, Nat King Cole, Burl Ives, Brenda Lee et al. (You know the ones I’m talking about, right?)

And please don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE those songs.

But as a Hawaiian Crooner, I need some holiday tunes with an Aloha-infused, Hawaiian vibe to help ring in the holiday spirit.

And I’m guessing YOU do, too.

So this year, I thought I would share a list of some of my ALL-TIME FAVORITE HAWAIIAN CHRISTMAS ALBUMS.  Culled from my personal Hawaiian Christmas music collection–which is far from complete–these albums are in constant rotation in our home during the holiday season.  Each of ‘em are full of great tracks that will make you smile.

(Note: Click on the title for a link to Mele.com–a fantastic online Hawaiian music source.)

The Crooner’s Hawaiian Christmas Music Picks:

A Hawaiian Christmas (Amy Hānaialiʻi)

Maluhia (Kealiʻi Reichel)

Hilo for the Holidays (Kuana Torres Kahele)

Christmas ʻUkulele Style (Daniel Ho)

Christmas Time (Eddie Kamae & The Sons of Hawaiʻi)

Huliau (Hoʻokena)

Santa’s Gone Hawaiian! (Various Artists)

Christmas Day in Hawaiʻi Nei (Mākaha Sons)

Kī hōʻalu Christmas: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar (Various Artists)

Willie Kalikimaka (Willie K.)

Christmas Is… (John Keawe)

Merry Christmas (Keahiwai)

What are some of YOUR FAVORITE Hawaiian Christmas albums?  Drop me a line and let me know! I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Aloha kākou!

Here’s this week’s question:

Which one of these albums was NOT released by the always wonderful Amy Hānaialiʻi (Gilliom)?

A. PUʻUHONUA

B. MY FATHER’S GRANDDAUGHTER

C. BRIDGE BETWEEN GENERATIONS

D. ʻAUMAKUA

• 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:

You all sure do know your Hawaiian music facts!  Wow!

The correct answer is C. Bridge Between Generations.

I thought this one might be tricky–Amy had recorded an album called HAWAIIAN TRADITION and the “feel” of that album is like she’s “bridging generations” of Hawaiian music–old and new.  I thought that might trip you all up.  But nope!  You are on it!  And yes… the album BRIDGE BETWEEN GENERATIONS was recorded by the one and only Darlene Ahuna. (Another favorite!)

This week’s winner, chosen randomly from all of the correct answers, is… (Drum roll, please…) LOUANNE PETERS!  Congrats, LouAnne!  That makes you this week’s Trivia Superstar!

A giant MAHALO to each of you for playing along this week and sharing your knowledge of Hawaiian music with me.  I hope you’ll play along next week, too!

(And if you have an idea for an ALOHA FRIDAY TRIVIA CHALLENGE question, please send it my way!)

May you all have an awesome weekend!

A hui hou…

Jason

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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. 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!

**Wanna be the first to know when Crooner News/Updates are posted?  You can subscribe by clicking HERE!**

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The Crooner’s Weekly “TOP 5″ (12.14.11)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

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 Hukilau Song (Alfred Aholo Apaka’s recording on the album Hawaiian Favorites)

It’s no secret that I love the golden-voiced crooner, Alfred Aholo Apaka.  His music is like a textbook for me.  I study his recordings and learn something new every time.  Wanna swoon?  Check out any of his recordings.  And this one is no exception!

The Hukilau Song, attributed to Mr. Jack Owens, is often dismissed as a “kitschy classic” or a “hula song for tourists.”  However, I got SCHOOLED (aka “educated AND scolded!”) for making that comment in front of Pops.  I’d been asking him about how Hālawa Valley residents fished in the bay when he was little boy.  He told me the significance of this song.  And it changed me forever!  Now I view the song through “fresh eyes.”  And I’m amazed at how important it is! (I’m writing a blog post about that.  Stay tuned!)

*Please click HERE to visit a tribute page for Uncle Alfred Apaka on Facebook.

2. Aloha ʻOe (Amy Hānaialiʻi and Willie K’s recording on the album Nostalgia)

This classic Hawaiian song has been calling to me, lately.  I mean, sometimes I hear it when I first wake up.  No… not in a “ghostly” way.  But in my mind, I hear it playing.  And the funny thing is that I never really had any kind of feeling toward it.  Yes… it’s a beautiful song.  Yes… it has an incredible story.  Yes… it was written by Queen Liliʻuokalani.  But I never really reacted to it. (And in the spirit of full disclosure, I used to feel guilty about that.)

The strange thing is that NOW it’s like I can’t stop listening to it.  I’m kind of–well–obsessed with it. I love it.  I love the imagery.  I love the melody–simple but tugs at the heart.  And I can’t get enough of the language–the poetry of the lyrics.  It blows my mind.

I’ve heard that the song is copyright free.  Public domain.  That means I can record it, right?  I’m seeing a new mele  page in the works… Stay tuned.

This may be one of my favorite songs of all times.  And Amy’s voice–as always–is fantastic.  There is something almost ethereal about her voice in this recording–like it’s calling from the past.  Wow. And when she collaborated musically with Willie K, it was magic!

*Please click HERE to visit Amy’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Willie K’s website

3. Pua Hone (The Brothers Cazimero’s recording on the album Hoʻala)

The Brothers Camizero have a sound that takes me instantly to Oʻahu.  It’s like being teleported to the islands via the touch of a button.  How cool is that?  (And so much cheaper than airfare these days!  Auē!)

This classic love song, written by Rev. Dennis Kamakahi, is given the royal treatment by The Caz.  So loving.  So gentle.  So nahenahe.  And their signature sound–and the measures of “loo loo loo” that say “Hey!  This is a Brothers Cazimero song!” make me smile from ear to ear.

Triple love it.  And this version is a hula dancer’s dream–no instrumental verses.  Perfect!

*Please click HERE to visit the Brothers Cazimero’s page at Mountain Apple Company.

4. Constellations (Kaukahi’s recording–featuring Jack Johnson–on the album Life In These Islands)

Ok.  This song rocks my world. And Kaukahi’s recording (which features the one and only Jack Johnson!) is fantastic!!  I love the sound of the amazing Hawaiian group accompanying Jack on this now-classic/neo-classic song.

Like many folks, I first heard the song on Jack’s album, In Between Dreams.  I remember thinking there was something different about the song.  The story that it told stood out.  It felt like old-style Hawaiian storytelling.

And then, when I saw it pop up on Kaukahi’s 2006 release, I thought, “RIGHT ON!  This is a good thing.  This is gonna be GOOD!”

I was delighted when I first heard their collaboration. And I remain delighted with every listening.  It tickles the ears.  The guitar.  The harmonies.  Trust me.  This is ono-licious!

*Please click HERE to visit Kaukahi’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Jack Johnson’s website.

5. Kuʻu Ipo Onaona (Ledward Kaapana’s recording on the album Treasures of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar)

You guys know that I love kī hōʻalu (slack key guitar) music.  It soothes this New Yorker’s often-frazzled nerves.

When Uncle Led plays this slack key classic–ah! The tension that holds my shoulders up by ears drains away.  So good!  It moves along with intention and purpose, yet never loses its sense of playfulness and fun.

(*Note:  This album, featuring some of the greatest living slack key players and entertainers, won the Grammy Award in 2008 for Hawaiian Music Album of the Year.)

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

**Christmas Bonus Song:  Kanaka Christmas (Lucky Luck’s recording on the album Santa’s Gone Hawaiian!)

This one makes me laugh.  For real.  Good family fun for the holidays.  And you can’t go wrong with Uncle Lucky Luck and his antics and his awesome Pidgin’-kine holiday story.  This track, while it’s spoken word, is extremely musical.  The music is in the rhythm and the sound of the language itself.

I’m so glad this recording has been preserved and released on CD for new generations to listen to it.

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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The Crooner’s Weekly “TOP 5″ (10.12.11)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

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. Na Ka Pueo (Joe Keawe’s recording on the album Hawaii’s Falsetto Returns)

I love this song. And I love the amazing voice of Uncle Joe Keawe.  And I love this whole album.  Yup.  It’s a triple love.

The song is classic, upbeat Hawaiian tune that is one of the most-requested songs when I have the chance to strum/sing for hula dancers.  (And I LOVE it when they dance it with an ipu, a Hawaiian percussive instrument made from a gourd.)

It’s also a great song for leo kiʻekiʻe, Hawaiian falsetto, singing.  Rock on, Uncle Joe!  What an amazing voice had.

Interesting to note that he sings the lyrics as “Na ka Pueokahi” which means “Love from the Pueokahi” instead of “No ka Pueokahi” which means “Love for the Pueokahi.”  If you listen to a lot of Hawaiian music, you’ll hear both of these versions–it depends on the artist.  Interesting, right?

2. Pua Lilia (Nathan Aweau’s recording on the album E Apo Mai )

Nathan Aweau has one of the smoothest voices I’ve ever heard.

And when he presents the songs on this album (and some of his others, too!) he puts a very contemporary spin on some very traditional Hawaiian songs.  I’ve seen kūpuna, elders, roll their eyes when they hear his recordings.  And I can understand them–he takes a classic in a very new direction.

And most of the time, I might be tempted to agree with them.  Why “fix” something that isn’t broken, right?

But Nathan is a musician of the highest caliber.  He presents these classic songs in a new light.  He totally respects the original composition.  When I listen to him, I don’t hear anything that smacks of “arrogance.”  In fact, it’s like he’s paying homage to the songs’ original composers by bringing them into the contemporary spotlight.

The more I listen to it, the more I love it.  I love the fusion factor–all of the instruments (is that a marimba?!) and percussion he uses in this song.  I’m blown away.

New directions for classic/traditional paths.  Interesting to explore, for sure.

*Please click HERE to visit Nathan Aweau’s website.

3. Anahaki (Amy Hānaialiʻi’s recording on the album Generation Hawaiʻi)

Another upbeat, uptempo song that has been rocking my little corner of the world this week!

This song, written by Amy Hānaialiʻi (with the Hawaiian translation by Kaumakaiwa Kanakaʻole!) makes me smile.

I don’t want to reveal too much–buy the album and read the liner notes!–but the song details a love affair and references the famous ʻiwa bird that resides on Molokai.

It’s a contemporary song that feels like a classic hula written a long time ago.  Amy, as always, delivers.  Love it!

*Please click HERE to visit Amy Hānaialiʻi Gilliom’s website.

4. Waikaloa (Peter Ahia’s recording on the album Peter Sings)

I love this hula classic!  I have so many recordings of it.  And this week, it’s Peter Ahia’s version that has won me over.

I love the sweet quality in his voice.  I love his enthusiasm.  And I love his interpretation of this mele.  (And according to the album’s liner notes, Aunty Genoa Keawe loved his singing, too!)

It makes me smile when I hear it.  (And it makes me think of my good buddy, Ms. Marian, who loves this song.)

5. Pua Sadinia (Ray Kāne’s recording on the album Punahele)

I love kī hōʻalu (slack key guitar) music.

And this song, handled so deftly in Uncle Raymond’s masterful hands, is a true treasure.  Wow…

NYC has a way of beating a person up at times–physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  And when that happens, I turn to recordings like this.  A gentle salve for the wounds.  And it helps to recharge the battery, too.

Uncle Raymond Kāne’s recordings are to be listened to–and enjoyed–over and over, again.

*Please click HERE to read the album’s liner notes.

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!

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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 3 SONGS from my iPod this week:

1. Home In The Islands (Brothers Cazimero’s recording on the album Best of the Brothers Cazimero)

You guys know I’m a fan of the Brothers Cazimero. Their sound has become synonymous with contemporary Hawaiian music.

This particular song is one that my friend, Andy, plays whenever he picks up his guitar. And it makes everyone smile. Every time. The melody is haunting. The strum is instantly recognizable. It’s a great piece–guaranteed to be a hit.

The message is simple: The singers are homesick for their tropical island home. And even though many of us who love this song are not originally FROM Hawaiʻi, we still miss our “home” in the islands… I know I do.

2. Haleʻiwa Hula (Amy Hānaialiʻi’s recording on the album Hawaiian Tradition)

This is one of the very first songs that I heard Amy sing. And it made me an instant fan of her voice! So lovely!

And this song is a special one for her… it was written by her grandmother, Jennie Nāpua Hānaialiʻi Woodd. Amy gives it such a great “old-style ” feel featuring the female “falsetto” known as haʻi.

It’s a wonderfully catchy piece about Haleʻiwa. These “place songs” are so important to students of Hawaiian music and culture because they describe a place as it was when the song was written. A glimpse into the past. A snapshot. An invaluable resource.

AND… today is Amy’s Birthday! HAUʻOLI LĀ HĀNAU E AMY!!

3. Haole Hula (The Kahauanu Lake Trioʻs recording on the album Hapa-Haole Hulas)

I believe it was Uncle K. that stressed the importance of Hapa-Haole tunes. Many of those songs were written by Hawaiian composers. Many of the songs acted as a “bridge” between the Hawaiian audiences and the mainland audiences. I like to think of these English language songs as ambassadors of Hawaiian music. They help to familiarize a person with Hawaiian song structure. And, often times, they include a few Hawaiian words to introduce the listener to the lovely sound of the Hawaiian language.

This song, composed by the incredible R. Alex Anderson, describes the islands and their beauty to someone who, perhaps, has never been there. It’s a song that’s FULL of joy. It’s a staple in any crooner’s repertoire. It’s a pleasure to sing–and to listen to.

What have YOU been listening to this week? Drop me a line and let me know!

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