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Posts Tagged ‘Charles E. King’

Aloha kākou!

Here’s this week’s question:

KE KALI NEI AU, a song often played at Hawaiian weddings, is attributed to which composer?

A. Maddy Lam

B. John Piʻilani Watkins

C. Alice Namakelua

D. Charles E. King

• 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:

Well done, gang!  Well done!  Everyone had the SAME answer this week.  And everyone had the CORRECT answer, too!  (Maybe I need to start making the questions a little more challenging!)

The answer is D. CHARLES E. KING

And this week’s winner, chosen randomly from all of the correct responses (thanks to the technology of is… (Drum roll, please…) RHONDA RICHEY!  Congrats, Rhonda!  You’re this week’s Trivia Superstar!

A giant MAHALO to everyone for playing along in this week’s challenge.

Hope you have a great weekend.

With Aloha,



The Crooner’s Weekly “TOP 5″ (11.16.11)

Wednesday, November 16, 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. Kalalea (Ed Kenney’s recording on the album MY HAWAII)

Another legendary Hawaiian crooner, that I listen to all the time (and study his every vocal move!) is Ed Kenney.  A giant MAHALO to a very kind and generous Hawaiian woman at a picnic in NYC a few years ago.  She said I needed to track down some of his recordings and listen to them.  No need to tell me twice!  I tracked down a few of his albums and quickly understood why she’d recommended him to me.  His voice is smooth and graceful and oh, so elegant.  A treat for the ears!

This song celebrates the island of Kauaʻi–and the cliffs that overlook Anahola.

I first heard this song at a “backyard jam session” kanikapila.  It was delicious and oozed island flavor.  And then I heard Ed Kenney’s version which is totally different.  It has the same melody, but none of the roughness.  It’s smooth.  Polished.  Orchestrated.  It totally celebrates the era it was recorded in–the late 1950s.

Both versions are great.  This week, I swooned as he crooned.  Right on.

2. Lei Lokelani (The Kahauanu Lake Trio’s recording on the album At the Kaimana Beach Hotel)

I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of listening to the amazing recordings of the Kahauanu Lake Trio.  I mean, come on!  Does it really get much better than that?

This song, attributed to Charles E. King, describes a lei made of the lovely lokelani or Maui rose.  It’s not difficult to infer that perhaps the kaona–or “hidden meaning”–might be the comparison of the flower to a beloved.


Even though the song is about the Maui rose, this recording takes me to Waikīkī instantly, sitting oceanside and listening to Hawaiian music while watching the sunset.  Ah!

*Please click HERE to read a great article written about Uncle K. from 2003.

3. Honolulu Blue and Green (Melveen Leed’s recording on the album Melveen’s Hawaiian Country Hits)

Aunty Melveen’s voice rocks!  I love its texture–kind of rough and playful and smoky and sultry–all at the same time.  I’ve tried to describe it to friends and the closest comparison I can come up with is that it’s similar to the sound of Dusty Springfield.  But Aunty Melveen’s voice is totally unique.  Totally beautiful.  Totally hers.

This song, sung entirely in English (except for the Hawaiian place names) is a great tune that Aunty Melveen brings to life so beautifully.  I’ve heard stories about how she went to Nashville–and I imagine her singing this song while she was there and homesick for her beloved islands.  Wondering why she’d ever left and dreaming about her homecoming.

It’s got a great 1960s feel is both country and Hawaiian at the same time.  (I always say that Hawaiian music and country music are close cousins!)

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

4. Keawaiki (Keola & Kapono Beamer’s recording on the album Hawaii’s Keola & Kapono Beamer)

From the opening notes of the guitar, you can tell this is a Beamer family recording–their distinctive style comes through loud and clear.

And what’s most exciting about this recording is that it takes an old classic song like Keawaiki and puts a somewhat contemporary spin on it–with modern (at least for the time!) instrumentation and phrasing.  The album was originally release in 1975,  during a time when Hawaiʻi was undergoing a huge renaissance and re-claiming a sense of cultural identity and pride.  How exciting to see a duo of young brothers recording a classic song and releasing it for broad/wide audience.

When I pulled this CD from my collection and looked at the cover, my heart “squeezed” a little bit.  When I look at the faces of Keola and Kapono, I can see the face of their mother, Aunty Nona Beamer.  I miss her.  But seeing her in her sons’ faces makes me smile, too.  Like she’s not really gone.  Her line continues… not only in her family, but in those that she taught and in those that she touched.

*Please click HERE to visit Keola’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Kapono’s website.

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

I love kī hōʻalu (slack key guitar) music!  It’s no secret.

And I love the music of Uncle Dennis.  (That’s also no secret!  Ha!)

This week, I wanted to close my eyes while I listened to this song.  We used to do that in music classes when I was in elementary school.  It allowed for deep listening.  And sometimes, it allowed us to “see pictures” in our minds–creating scenes that followed the sounds we were hearing.

When I closed my eyes to listen to this song, the image that came to mind was a group of people having a conversation.  A dialogue.  With activity happening in the background.  Pretty interesting that the song is called ʻOhana Slack Key–ʻohana being the Hawaiian word for family.

Pops tells stories about growing up in Hālawa Valley on Molokai.  When the family was done eating, often times there would be a kanikapila, a music session.  I imagine conversations happening, music playing and activity like cleaning up after the meal–all happening at the same time.  Peaceful yet active.  Just like this song.  Different voices and different energies moving together.  Weaving together.


*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 for being an awesome Hawaiian music resource. You all make the world a better place!


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. Lei ʻIlima (Mahi Beamer’s recording on the album Hawaiʻi’s Mahi Beamer)

A stunningly beautiful song written by Charles E. King. Mahi Beamer makes the song his own! His soaring falsetto and delicate touches make my head spin. A crooner of the highest caliber.

This recording sounds like a duet, yet I can’t find other artist mentioned in the liner notes. This leads me to believe that Mahi was singing both parts! Give it a listen and let me know what YOU think!

He is a constant source of inspiration. He delivers Hawaiian songs with the passion and subtlety that they require. Wow…

2. E Kiss Kāua (Sons of Hawaii’s recording on the album The Best of Sons of Hawaiʻi – Vol. 1)

I talked with Pops on the phone this week. The whole time we were speaking, I was picturing the ride from Kaunakakai town to Hālawa Valley and the wonderful winding road that follows the coastline. There’s something magical in the rural-ness of it all. With every mile we travel, I can feel my city-ness falling away.

This song, written by the incredible Rev. Dennis Kamakahi, has fun “country” vibe to it. I love the way it bounces. And I love that The Sons of Hawaii feature a harmonica in this version! Come on! It doesn’t get much better than that!

When I listen to the song, it brings images of that ride from Kaunakakai to the Valley to my mind’s eye. (And I love that!)

3. Rhythm of the Falling Rai n ( The Kaʻau Crater Boys’ recording on the album Tropical Hawaiian Day)

Ok… this song may not be Hawaiian in origin. It’s a pop song from the mainland. But if you didn’t know better, I’ll bet you’d think one of the Kaʻau Crater Boys had written it. They bring their own unique–and very Hawaiian–vibe to it. The way the ʻukulele is featured knocks me out. It’s not just an instrument. It’s a distinct VOICE in the song!

The Kaʻau Crater Boys were one of the first Hawaiian groups I listened to. Their music evoked a feeling in me that I hadn’t felt before. I was hooked. I wanted to know more. That lead me to listen to more traditional Hawaiian music. And the rest is history.

I love what they added to the Hawaiian musical scene when they were still working as a group. And I love what they’ve added to the scene as solo artists. Thanks, guys, for helping to “hook” me into the music!

What are YOU listening to? Drop me a line and let me know!!


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. Island Style (John Cruz’s recording on the album Acoustic Soul)

It seems like EVERYONE knows this song–whether you listen to Hawaiian music or not! And there’s a great reason for that: it’s a GREAT song. An instant classic.

According to what I’ve found in my research, John wrote this song while living in NYC and was feeling homesick. I think he was absolutely successful in creating an true island vibe with this piece. If I listen to it while I’m away from the islands, it’s a bittersweet experience. It makes me think about being there–and that kinda stings a bit when I’m somewhere else! But if I hear it while I’m in the islands, it makes me so very happy to be there–doing things “island style.”

I used to listen to it all the time–long before I’d made my first trip to the islands. It gave me a glimpse into her people and her way of life. That’s a successful song, wouldn’t you say?

2. Kuʻu Ipo Pua Rose (Nā Palapalai’s recording on the album Makani Oluʻolu)

Absolutely one of most beautiful Hawaiian love songs. The lyrics in this, written by John Kameaaloha Almeida, are simple and SO romantic. A song of love for two lovers that have spent the night together and will soon be greeting the dawn.

Please check out this recording–and read along with the lyrics if you can find ‘em! You’ll love it. I know it…

3. Nā Lei O Hawaiʻi (Gary Aiko’s recording on the album Mai Poina ʻOe Iaʻu)

Gary Aiko’s voice is velvety and rich and is a PERFECT example of what a Hawaiian Crooner should be! I love his recordings and listen to them all the time. He utilizes all of the vocal embellishments–like swooping aportamenti–that really define the crooner style. Pure genius! (And as the son of Aunty Genoa Keawe, he’s truly been “steeped” in Hawaiian music.)

This song, written by Charles E. King, tells of the eight major islands that make up the state of Hawaiʻi and mentions some distinguishing landmarks and island chiefs. Hence, it’s also called “The Song of the Islands.” And like the song Nani Waiʻaleʻale, it’s like Wikipedia set to music. How can you wrong?

Gary Aiko is a true treasure and one of my crooner heroes!

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