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Posts Tagged ‘Country Comfort’

The Crooner’s Weekly TOP 5 (10.3.12)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

ukulele Croonerʻs Weekly TOP 3 iPod Jason Poole Accidental Hawaiian Crooner

I LOVE HAWAIIAN MUSIC!  True story.

And I listen to it all the time!  Especially when I’m on the move–either walking along NYC’s crowded sidewalks or riding the rails on the subway through the tunnels under the concrete.  (I’m convinced that it helps to keep me sane in this crazy city!)

I love a really wide variety of it: vintage, traditional, contemporary, instrumental…

And I love sharing some of my favorites with you.

Here are the TOP 5 SONGS from my iPod this week:

1. ʻUla Nōweo (The Brothers Kanilau’s recording on the album Mele Oli)

Sometimes I feel like I need to look to Hawaiʻi’s older songs. I mean really old. Sometimes I need to listen to a chant.  An oli.

I really enjoy this recording of a well-known (and often danced!) chant that was written to honor the Kauaʻi chief, Kamohaʻi.  I love the percussive instruments that they use–it sounds like an ipu heke (double headed gourd) and at least one ʻuli ʻuli (gourd rattle).  And on the repeat of the verse, the Brothers Kanilau join voices and chant/sing in harmony.

I love it.  It satisfies that need.

2. Kimo Hula (Raiatea Helm’s recording on the album Far Away Heaven)

I remember the first time I heard this recording.  I thought, “This is the voice of an angel.”  And even now when I listen to it, that’s the thought that springs to my mind.

The song is a favorite.  Written by Helen Desha Beamer to honor Kimo and Leimakani Henderson, the song is essentially a musical “thank you” note–written to honor the couple and to thank them for their hospitality.

This recording appears on Raiatea’s debut album.  Her voice embodies innocence and purity.

One word to describe it? Lovely.

*Please click HERE to visit the Raiatea’s website.

3. Ginger Blossom (Natalie ʻAi Kamauu’s recording on the album ʻI)

I love hula music, don’t you?

And who better to sing a song than the composer, right?  Especially when the composer is the songbird, Natalie ʻAi Kamauu.

Trust me when I tell you that if you listen to this with your eyes closed, you’ll see visions of hula dancers and you’ll smell the sweet ginger blossoms on the breeze.

*Please click HERE to visit Natalie’s website.

4. Rainy Day Song (Country Comfort’s recording on the album We Are The Children)

Maybe it’s because of the weather lately.  The nip of autumn in the air.  Maybe it’s because we’ve had some rain here in NYC.

This song has really resonated with me this week.  Not only because of its AWESOME 1970′s vibe, but also because of it’s lyrics–we have blue skies sometimes, and other times the rain’s gotta fall.

The mellow vibe, the vocal harmonies–when I close my eyes, it takes me Molokai, driving along the road from the airport in Hoʻolehua to Kaunakakai.  Mountains on one side. The ocean on the other.  And Molokai’s huge sky overhead.

Right on.

(A MAHALO to Dennen for encouraging me to listen to some Country Comfort tunes this week!)

5. Inward Journey (Anthony Natividad’s recording on the album Ahupuaʻa)

I love the sound of the ʻohe hano ihu, the Hawaiian bamboo nose flute.  It does something wonderful to my head.  It makes my scalp tingle.  I imagine both hemispheres of my muddled brain begin to resonate in harmony.

And Anthony Natividad’s masterful playing is STELLAR!  I mean… WOW! (And on this recording, you get to hear 2 flutes at once!)

I was listening to this song with my eyes closed to see what images came to mind.  Immediately, I thought of walking along the trails up the mountainside in Hālawa.  The sacredness of the land.  The trees. The rocks. The ancient footpaths.

Do you have this album?  It’s a MUST HAVE.  For real.  You’ll love it, too.

*Please click HERE to visit Anthony’s 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 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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The Crooner’s Weekly “TOP 5″ (11.2.11)

Wednesday, November 2, 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. ʻAlika (Genoa Keawe’ recording on the album Party Hulas)

Aunty Genoa Keawe is one of my all-time favorite Hawaiian performers.  But she’s so much more than that to me.  She inspires me every day–making me want to learn more and to help to keep Hawaiian music alive.  I keep a photo of the two of us at my desk.  I see her smile while I work.

This week, on Monday, she would have turned 93 years old!  So to honor her birthday–and her amazing legacy–I thought we should open the Weekly “TOP 5″ with a song that’s become one of her signature songs, ʻAlika!

By the time I started going to Waikīkī to see Aunty Genoa and her amazing band of musicians sing at their weekly show, she was already in her 80s.  But you never would have guessed it–especially when she sang this song.  It was like she could hold the notes FOREVER!

I miss you, Tūtū.  But I’m so happy to have your recordings to listen to!  So ʻono!

(**Crooner Note:  I think the album PARTY HULAS  is one that every Hawaiian musician and hula dancer should own.  It’s fantastic!)

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

2. Kalamaʻula (Vickie IʻI Rodrigues and Her Family’s recording on the album Nā Mele ‘Ohana)

I love this Molokai song–about the area on the island known as Kalamaʻula.  It’s a well-known favorite, covered by many, many artists.  A song you’ll recognize immediately if you listen to Hawaiian music.

I love the way it’s sung in this recording.  Simply.  Beautifully.  The voice floats like the wind above the land in Kalamaʻula.

This recording is very similar to how my own teacher, my hānai father, Pops, sings it in Hālawa Valley.  I got all teary-eyed the other day when I listened to it.

*Please click HERE to read about an event earlier this year that honored Aunty Vickie and her ‘ohana.  The page has a great bio about her and her contribution to Hawaiian music.

3. Pua ʻAla Aumoe , EŌ Mai (Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett’s recording on the album E Hoʻomau Ka Hā O Ka Hawaiʻi)

This song has haunted me (in a good way!) all week.  The hui, chorus, with it’s “Eō mai!” echoes over and over in my head.  Which illustrates Kawaikapuokalani Hewett’s amazing composition skills. “Eō mai!” (sometimes written as E ō mai!”) means “Answer me.”  That should be a stand-out lyric.  And he’s crafted the melody to do just that.  It echoes.

The song is about a flower that blooms in the night.  At least that’s what it’s about in a literal sense.

I can see a lovely hula being danced to it in my mind’s eye.

*Please click HERE to visit Kawaikapuokalani K. Hewett’s website.

4. To Be Lonely (Country Comfort’s recording on the album We Are The Children)

A blast from the past!

You guys know how much I love a great 1970′s vibe in song.  And this song totally has it!

The legendary group from Waimanalo, Country Comfort, recorded some of my favorite tunes.  And this week, this song has captured my heart.  In my mind, it could be a sister song/brother song to another tune, Delta Dawn.

The lyrics are poignant.  But it’s the vocals, the jammin’ arrangement, the cool harmonies.  It could be remade today and fit in to any radio’s playlist.

I dig it.  True story.

5. Kauaʻi Beauty (Gabby Pahinui’s recording on the album Rabbit Island Music Festival)

Every once in a great while I’ll hear a song and have to stop and  say, “Wow… now that’s something special!”

The legendary Gabby Pahinui sings this mele–one of my favorite songs–in a way that really feels like it’s a voice reaching out from the past.  The sound of old Hawaiʻi.  His falsetto–wow…

It’s like it reaches way down inside me and pulls at my heart.

*Please click HERE to visit Gabby Pahinui an the Waimanalo Kanikapila’s 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 www.mele.com for being an awesome Hawaiian music resource. You all make the world a better place!

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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. My Hawaii (Ed Kenney’s recording on the album My Hawaii)

I love the voice of Ed Kenney.  I need to listen to his recordings more often.  A recent “discovery” for me.  He’s a beautiful crooner–what a voice.

This song, according to the album’s liner notes, has quite an interesting history.  Because I don’t want to provoke the “copyright police,” I’ll encourage you to find a copy of the album to read the notes… Fascinating.  And you can really hear the sounds of Hollywood in its lush orchestration.

This is a song that I’d love to add to my repertoire!

**Crooner Note:  It may be difficult to find a copy of this album on CD.  I was given a copy of it a few years ago, but it was a Japanese re-issue of the original vinyl.  It’s totally worth looking for, though!

2.  Kuʻu Lei Onaona (Kawai Cockett’s recording on the album Hula!  Hula!  Hula!)

I love Uncle Kawai’s voice–that’s no secret!  I love his distinctive–and almost instantly recognizable!–strum of the ukulele.  And I love how he really takes the time to embrace/caress the Hawaiian language.  A joy to listen to him.  Every time.

This song opens the album, Hula!  Hula!  Hula!  and there’s a great reason for that–it’s a delightful tune that begs for a hula!  I’m guessing the song’s legendary composer, Aunty Malia Craver, saw a hula for it in her mind as she wrote it.

This song is a favorite.  I love the reference to the “lei onaona.”  Is it a fragrant wreath of flowers?  Or a reference to a beloved person?  According to the album’s liner notes, it refers to a beloved daughter of David and Blanche Hanohano.

3. Sweet Leilani (Amy Hānaialiʻi Gilliom & Willie K’s recording on the album Nostalgia)

Sweet Leilani is one of my favorite tunes composed by the amazing Mr. Harry Owens.  It’s one of those songs that is a classic and has been recorded by many Hawaiian artists over the years.

This particular recording is a stand-out to me because Amy sings it in Hawaiian instead of English! What a cool idea!  In fact, this whole album plays with well-known Hawaiian and Hapa haole tunes and reinvents them in new and exciting ways.  I’m sure the Hawaiian music community was divided when it was first released in 1999.  I am of the “I love when folks try new things with old favorites” camp.

This recording is soft and sultry and really shows off Amy’s jazz capabilities.  Delicious!

4.  Rainy Day Song (Country Comfort’s recording on the album We Are the Children)

I was listening to my iPod on random/shuffle mode last week while I was en route to the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon and this song came on.  I had to stop what I was working on and just listen.  Yup.  It caught my attention.  Big time.

I love Country Comfort’s tight vocal harmonies and distinct 1970′s vibe.  A supergroup that came and went too quickly.

This song takes me to a “chill place” in my mind… It reminds me to take a deep breath.  I love the grooviness of it!  (And you guys know how much I love the sound of a jazz flute!  Right on!)

5.  Kuʻu Ipo I Ka Heʻe Puʻe One (Herb Ohta, Jr.’s recording on the album ʻUkulele Dream)

I’m a simple strummer when it comes to playing the ʻukulele.  I know basic chords.  I can accompany myself when I sing.  I can sit in and jam with a group.  But I’m not an ʻukulele virtuoso.  I can’t make it “sing” on its own–at least not yet!

And when I hear someone play with such skill–and with such a tender touch–like Herb Ohta, Jr. I’m blown away.

This song, written by Princess Likelike, is one of my all-time favorites.  It speaks of unrequited love. While Herb Ohta Jr.’s version is an instrumental one, the text comes through with his amazing ʻukulele stylings.

On this track, he’s accompanied by Ocean Kaowili and Dwight Kanae.  Amazing!

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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Hawaiian Music at the Gym? (Part 2)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Last month I posted about searching for the ULTIMATE PLAYLIST to listen to while I run on the treadmill at the gym.

I can’t stand the “cardio-pumping” mixes that have been produced specifically for the treadmill. They just weren’t what I was looking for.

Well…

I’ve been listening to tons of Hawaiian music while running and I’ve been LOVING it!

At first, I tried making my own mixes of tunes. And they were ok–but they weren’t great. It was like I was still stuck on trying to hit the ULTIMATE mix that would keep me going. What was the problem?

Finally, I asked myself “What are you looking for?”

I want to listen to a mix that might play on a Hawaiian radio station.

The songs don’t all have to be my favorites. They don’t even have to all be familiar! (Sometimes it’s even BETTER if I don’t know the song–it helps me learn it!)

So I built a playlist on iTunes using the “Genius” feature. I don’t know ANYTHING about computers or technology. But this was cool. I picked Gabby Pahinui’s song MOONLIGHT LADY and the computer picked 99 other songs from my collection that went with it.

The Verdict?

I listened to the mix today while I ran. I set the timer on the treadmill for the maximum amount of time (6o minutes at this gym) and pressed PLAY on the iPod.

One hour later, I was finished with a killer workout. And I was smiling from ear to ear. The mix was fantastic! It was like being able to stream Hawaiian 105 KINE on my iPod! (Maybe someday we’ll be able to do that. Until then, this is a good substitute!)

So I’m publishing it here for you with links to the albums!!

Here are the 16 songs that played over the course of the hour and the cool-down:

1. Moonlight Lady (Gabby Pahinui’s recording on the album, The Panini Collection)

2 Hanakeoki (Eddie Kamae & the Sons of Hawaiʻi’s recording on the album, Eddie Kamae: Sons of Hawaiʻi)

3. Sun Lite, Moon Lite (Country Comfort’s recording on the album, We Are The Children)

4. Kuʻu Home O Kahaluʻu (Olomana’s recording on the album, Like A Seabird in the Wind)

5. Kāwika (The Sunday Manoa’s recording on the album, Guava Jam)

6. Waika (The Brothers Cazimero’s recording on the album, The Best of the Brothers Cazimero)

7. Wai Paheʻe (Eddie Kamae & the Sons of Hawaiʻi’s recording on the album, Eddie Kamae: Sons of Hawaiʻi)

8. All Hawaiʻi Stand Together (Dennis Pavao’s recording on the album, All Hawaiʻi Stand Together)

9. Pua Maeʻole (Raiatea Helm’s recording ont he album, Sweet and Lovely)

10. Kona Daze (Kalapana’s recording on the album, Best of Kalapana Vol. 2 )

11. Lei Nani (Gabby Pahinui’s recording ont he album, The Panini Collection)

12. Seabreeze (Keola and Kapono Beamer’s recording on the album, Honolulu City Lights)

13. Hale Aliʻi O Waimaka (Amy Hanaialiʻi Gilliom & Willie K.’s recording on the album, Hawaiian Tradition)

14. Good Morning (Willie K.’s recording on the album, The Uncle In Me)

15. Kananaka (ʻAleʻa’s recording on the album, Take Me Home)

16. Jealous Guy (The Pahinui Brothers’ recording on the album, The Panini Collection)

So I think I’ll have some fun with this “Genius” playlist for a while. I’ve got 83 more songs to go before it repeats! Cool!

What do YOU listen to when you exercise?

**Crooner Note: PLEASE SUPPORT HAWAIIAN ARTISTS AND BUY HAWAIIAN MUSIC!! (Mahalo!)

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