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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

A NEW Christmas Song

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Mele Kalikimaka!   Merry Christmas to you and your ‘ohana!

I wrote a new Christmas song, a gift for my parents.  It came from a remark I made to a friend when we discussed the holidays with our families:  It’s  just our family, not a Norman Rockwell painting.

I’d grown up loving the art of Norman Rockwell, especially his paintings of families at holiday gatherings.  I loved the details he included.  And I was also a little jealous of the characters.  They always seemed to be so perfect.

This year, I revisited all of those familiar paintings.  And you know what?  My memory of “perfect families” was wrong.  Rockwell’s genuis comes from the life he managed to infuse on the canvas.  The perfection of the imperfection.  And I fell in love with those scenes all over again.  Check out his artwork to see what I’m talking about.  A lip tight with stress.  A tear in an eye.  Awesome.

I sang the song for my family last night, Christmas Eve, when we exchange gifts.  I was excited to share it and wanted everything to be perfect for the performance.  The family all sat near the tree.  James was primed to record the song in a video to share it here on the blog with all of you.

And, of course, nothing is perfect.  Or maybe it’s perfectly imperfect.

Because the “perfect scene” I had imagined went right out the window.  The dog walked in and out of the frame continually.  A glass of wine was spilled right at a crucial (and sentimental) moment in the song.  The lights on the tree refused to behave.  My ‘ukulele refused to stay in tune.  The camera didn’t record it.

And it WAS perfect.

I’ve included the lyrics below.  Maybe you’ll see your own family in them, too.

Sending you all warm Aloha.

Right on.

‘TIS THE SEASON

JASON POOLE (CHRISTMAS 2014)

 

WE ALL KNOW THOSE CLASSIC SCENES

FROM CHRISTMAS CARDS AND MAGAZINES

FALLING SNOW AND A HORSE-DRAWN SLEIGH

ARE SIGNS THAT FAMILY IS ON THEIR WAY

 

BUT MODERN LIFE MEANS A TRAFFIC JAM

AND SLEETING RAIN ON OUR MINIVAN

AFTER ARGUING AND STICKING OUT TONGUES

THE KIDS SING CAROLS AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS

 

TIS THE SEASON, ‘TIS REALITY

IT’S NOT A NORMAN ROCKWELL PAINTING

IT’S BETTER

 

GREEN WREATHS HANG FROM WINDOW PANES

CHOCOLATE FUDGE AND CANDY CANES

IT JUST LIKE ENTERING SANTA’S WORKSHOP

WHEN THE KIDS VISIT GRAMMY AND POP-POP

 

BUT OUR FAMILY IS A NOISY CROWD

MAKING CHRISTMAS TOWN PRETTY LOUD

CHAOS FROM FLOOR TO CEILING

WELL, AIN’T THAT THE CHRISTMAS FEELING

 

TIS THE SEASON, ‘TIS REALITY

IT’S NOT A NORMAN ROCKWELL PAINTING

IT’S BETTER

 

PRESENTS PILED BENEATH THE TREE

THE KIDS ARE WAITING EXPECTANTLY

FOR THE START OF ALL THE FUN

AS THEY OPEN THEM ONE BY ONE

 

BUT THE TOY CASTLE IS MISSING A PART

MUST’VE FALLEN FROM THE SHOPPING CART

THE TALKING DOLL WON’T SAY “PRETTY PLEASE”

SO WE’RE SCRAMBLING FOR BATTERIES

 

TIS THE SEASON, ‘TIS REALITY

IT’S NOT A NORMAN ROCKWELL PAINTING

IT’S BETTER

 

AFTER SAYING A CHRISTMAS PRAYER

THE KIDS LINE UP FOR HUGS AT POP-POP’S CHAIR

AND GRAMMY KISSES THEM EACH ON THEIR HEADS

AND WE SEND THEM OFF TO BED

 

NOW COMES OUR GROWN UP TIME

SOME CHEESE AND CRACKERS, A GLASS OF WINE

AFTER WEEKS OF RUNNING ‘ROUND LIKE MANIACS

WE PUT OUR FEET UP AND RELAX

 

AND WE SIGH ‘CAUSE IT ALL GOES SO FAST

EACH SEEMS QUICKER THAN THE LAST

WE DRINK A TOAST TO THOSE NO LONGER HERE

AND START PLANNING AGAIN FOR NEXT YEAR

 

TIS THE SEASON, ‘TIS REALITY

IT’S NOT A NORMAN ROCKWELL PAINTING

IT’S BETTER

© Jason Poole 2014.  All rights reserved.

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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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MELE KALIKIMAKA! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

MELE KALIKIMAKA!  MERRY CHRISTMAS!

This year, we are spending Christmas with the family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  It’s always a treat to be back where I spent a good part of my “growing up” days.

And it’s always a blessing to be with family.

Over the years, “family” has come to mean so much more than just related-by-blood.  I am so thankful for the family that I was born into, as well as the family that we’ve adopted–or been adopted into!  Ha!

Wishing you all a day of peace.

And may we all pause to think of what we’re grateful for.  To count our blessings.

Right on.

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Aloha, gang!  Reposting a favorite (and very timely!) blog entry today.

Happy Aloha Monday!

Jason

- – - – -

Auē!  How has time passed so quickly these last few days?

Wasn’t it only yesterday that we were beginning the 12 Days of Christmas??

It seems like everything is due at once.  Like the pot on the stove has come to a full boil.

And with that–my blood pressure (and my anxiety level!) soars!

Know what that means?

It’s time for a strum break.

Ok… maybe SEVERAL strum breaks.

Ok… maybe several strum breaks EVERY HOUR!

And I need to remember to take deep breaths.

I don’t know about you, but when I get all stressed-to-’da-max, my breath becomes shallow.  And that’s just plain dumb.  I mean, what good is that doing?  It adds to the anxiety!

Oh!  And I need to remember to say, “Aloha” a lot.

(Seriously!)

I had to run to the grocery store this morning. Standing in line at the checkout counter–a few people away from it being “my turn” to check out–it seemed like everything was moving in SLOW MOTION.  And I’m sure I don’t need to tell you: I NEEDED IT TO MOVE AT LIGHTING SPEED.

Instead of freaking out (which very easily could have happened!) I looked at the people around me and silently said to each of  ’em, “Aloha.” 

Something happens to me–physiologically–when I say it.  It almost always brings a smile to my lips.

Did it help?

Well, I can tell that it sure helped me through a panic-situation.

And maybe that helped everyone around me, too… Even if it was only because I wasn’t freaking out.

Strumming, remembering to take deep breaths and saying, “Aloha.”–that’s how I’m gonna get through these next few days.

How are YOU surviving the holidays??

2 Comments

Aloha, gang!

Still hard at work on Project Natalie.  But I had to take a break and share a little holiday cheer with you.

As you may remember, we have a tradition in our little home: I purchase a new Hawaiian holiday music CD at the start of every Christmas season.

Not necessarily a new CD, but one that’s new to my ever-expanding collection of awesome Hawaiian music. This year, I didn’t labor over the decision of which CD to buy.

One of my favorite Hawaiian musicians, Kuana Torres Kahele (part of the group Nā Palapalai) had released his first Christmas album, HILO FOR THE HOLIDAYS.  

kuana torres kahele, hilo for the holidays, jason poole, accidental hawaiian crooner, hawaiian music, molokai, halawa valley,

Here’s a photo I took of the album’s cover. Note: My camera doesn’t really do it justice.

One word to describe it: AWESOME

One facial gesture to describe it: BEAMING SMILE 

Yup!  I can recommend it without any hesitation.

I’m… well… I’m kind of addicted to it.  In fact, it’s playing right now while I type this post.

It’s too hard to say which track is my favorite. Why?  Well, it changes.  Each listening brings something I hadn’t heard before… And a new favorite emerges.

Today, the favorite is his recording of the Christmas classic, Silver Bells.  Growing up along the East Coast of the continental United States, we had really “traditional” Christmases (at least, “traditional” in the Hollywood movie/Norman Rockwell sense)–most of ‘em complete with snow on the ground!  And this song makes a lot of sense if this imagery is familiar to you.  Knowing what the holiday season looks like/smells like/feels like living in NYC, it’s really familiar.  (I recently read the story about how this song came to be written by it’s composers Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.  Wanna read it, too?  Check out the  book SONGWRITERS ON SONGWRITING.  Fascinating!)  It’s been a favorite song of mine for as long as I can remember.

Hearing Kuana sing it–even though there’s nothing “tropical” or Hawaiian, per se, about his delivery–the song still imparts a Hawaiian vibe.  I can’t explain it.  It no longer feels like a New York Christmas carol.  It’s more universal.

(And yes… I’ll admit it: I got a little choked up when I listened to it earlier this morning.)

Another favorite: ʻEKOLU MEA NUI/HALELŪ.   The first song in this medley is near and dear to my heart.  It’s one of Pops’ favorites.  We sing it all the time in Hālawa Valley.  He says the message is really important to living a balanced life.  And the addition of HALELŪ (penned by Kahele, himself, I think!) is awesome.  A perfect compliment to a Hawaiian favorite.

And another favorite: HALELUIA.  It’s the Leonard Cohen classic melody (Hallelujah) that you know and love–with new lyrics composed by Kuana.  I know… I know… I get goosebumps, too.  Wow!!!

(See?  I told you that I can’t pick a favorite track!  Each one is special in its own way.)

By the way, I heard thru the grapevine that the song HERE COMES SANTA IN A RED CANOE will be heard in an upcoming episode of Hawaii Five-0!

*Super Bonus: The CD comes with fantastic liner notes–including the songs’ lyrics.  I don’t know about you, but I love good liner notes.  And I really appreciate having the lyrics–especially when it’s a recording that I’m not familiar with.  So helpful!

So that’s the newest Hawaiian holiday music CD in the collection. (Although I can pretty much guarantee there will be others added this year, too… There are so many good albums to choose from!)

What are YOU listening to this holiday season?  Is there a musical tradition that YOU have with your family?  Drop me a line!  I’d love to hear from you!

4 Comments

Still “on holiday”

Monday, December 26, 2011

nene, nēnē

A Christmas Nēnē at my folks' house.

Aloha, gang!

I’m still hanging out with the family today.  Lots of wonderful chaos for the holidays.  Young kids.  New folks added to the family.  Lots of food (ok, too much food!) and, thankfully, lots of laughter.

I’ve been writing with my niece while on this trip.  She’s going to be a great writer when she grows up.  I know it.  And it’s fun to encourage her and cheer her on.  We’ve been talking about  writing songs.  She’s also been a great cheerleader for me.  Who knows… maybe I’ll have something cool to share soon!

And my young nephews have reminded me how important it is to be silly and roll around on the floor and play with action figures.  And most importantly, not to take myself so seriously.

I had the chance to strum and sing with my uncle at Christmas dinner.  He’s an ‘ukukele newbie.  So cool to be able to share some Hawaiian-style strumming with someone in my family!  He played guitar years ago so he’s quick to learn chord shapes.  (True Story: I had one of his guitars for years–even brought it with me to New York City when I moved!  And in all of those years, I never learned to play it.  Maybe I was just waiting for the ‘ukulele to come into my world?)  We rocked out for a little while after dinner.  It was great to have the sound of the ‘ukulele ringing thru the air in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!

We will travel back to the Big Apple tomorrow.  I’ll be coming home with lots of stories and new inspiration–the best gifts in the world. And the gifts that money can’t buy.  Cool, right?

How are YOU all doing during this holiday season? 

P. S. Remember to take strum breaks, as needed!  (I am!  Ha!)

4 Comments