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Posts Tagged ‘Crooner’s Weekly TOP 5’

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. To You, Sweetheart, Aloha (Maile Serenders’ recording on the album Let’s Hula)

Ah!  Voices from the past singing out. I love a great vintage recording.

This song, written by Harry Owens, has all of the wonderful marks of the song from the 50s–a beautiful (and somewhat complex) melody with touching lyrics that tug on the heart strings.  This “song of departure” wishes one’s beloved ,”Aloha” as they are leaving.  Come on–that’s pretty awesome!

The lead is sung by a beautiful female voice–the ever-elegant and lovely Nina Kealiiwahamana.  If you are a fan of Hawaiian music from this era, you’ll recognize her voice immediately.  And when she’s joined by the harmonies of the male chorus, well, it’s perfection to my ear…

(**Crooner Note:  The album was meant to introduce non-Hawaiians to Hawaiian music.  I love this collection.  It even has photos of “how to dance the hula” for each of the songs.  A fun walk down memory lane.)

2. Puanani (The Pandanus Club’s recording on the album Hoʻike)

A fantastic song recorded by a fantastic group.  It utilizes the olapa strum–one, two, three–echoing the beats of the ipu heke, the gourd drum used in traditional hula.

The song is sung with such gentleness–and such awesome falsetto!  Right on!  Makes me want to take out the ukulele and start strumming and singing along. And it modulates, going higher and higher as the song draws to a close.

This is one of those “take your breath away” kinds of hulas.  You’ll love it.

My only complaint is that the CD doesn’t come with lyrics or much in the way of liner notes.  I love that.  And finding out information online has been slow…  Maybe someday this album will be reissued with those added bonuses.

3. Nā Puʻu ʻEhā (Kaumakaiwa Kanakaʻole’s recording on the album Kaumakaiwa)

When the song first started, before I even recognized the album (or even the singer!) I knew I was listening to someone from the famed Kanakaʻole family.  That style.  That presence. That strength.

And then, of course, it hit me–this is Kaumakaiwa!  I love, love, love his voice.

Generations of his family come thru when he sings.  It’s pretty, well, mindblowing when you think about it.

And I love how he chooses to kāhea, to call out the next verse before it starts.  It’s something you might see if you go to a hula performance.  Either the dancers or the musicians call out the first line/first few lyrics of the next verse to make sure that everyone is “on the same page” and in sync.

Kaumakaiwa is a master singer/chanter.  Floating from high to low and back, again, and taking us all with him on this wild ride.

*Please click HERE to visit Kaumakaiwas website.

4. Gotta Get Away (Ernie Cruz, Jr’s recording on the album Portraits)

It’s been “one of those weeks” here in NYC.  I’ve been kind of overwhelmed as I prepare for an upcoming trip back to Molokai next week.  I turned to Hawaiian music to help me out–it’s my favorite cure-all!

This song, written by Henry Kapono, was exactly what I needed.

It was like someone had listened to what my heart was saying and then put it to music.  All about the need to get away–to get back to the country and get a grip.

The song’s cool island vibe and Ernie Cruz, Jr’s awesome voice make a perfect combination for this weary New Yorker’s soul.  Right on!

5. Silhouette Hula (Owana Salazar’s recording on the album Hula Jazz)

I spent my teen years working in my father’s jazz club in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Sometimes on stage.  Sometimes behind the scenes.  Jazz (and that old-school nightclub-style sound) is something that runs through my veins.

This song opens with a smooth clarinet solo over a simple guitar accompaniment.  So awesome.  So reminiscent of New Orleans.

And then Owana’s voice–those smooth and sultry sounds–breaks over the instruments.

Wow.  A great combination, indeed!

The song, attributed to Danny Kalauawa Stewer and Steve Graham, speaks of a love in the shadows…

*Please click HERE to visit Owana’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!

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

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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. Coconut Island (Andy Cummings & His Hawaiian Serenders’ recording on the album The Wandering Troubadours)

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.

I was talking with a fellow musician recently about this song–and songs like it. She said she hated this kind of music. She felt it made Hawaiʻi (and the other Pacific Island nations) sound like a cliche. Something you’d see in a postcard. Not realistic. An oversimplified picture of “tropical paradise.” And I understand what she’s saying–to a certain extent.

But to HATE a song like this is such a shame. I mean, it was written by Andy Cummings!  (Note: Please check out the album’s liner notes for the story behind this song.  It’s great!)

While I’m all for painting a realistic portrait of Hawaiʻi, I think it’s important to honor this tradition.  There were moments where this particular place mentioned in the song truly WAS a tropical paradise. And when I’m hanging out and singing with the kūpuna/elders on Molokai, it’s not unusual to hear a song like this… It is full of references found in songs of that time. It’s sweet. It’s nostalgic. It’s an important part of Hawaiian musical history. To ignore it or even dismiss it is a shame.  I love it!  (Ok… I’ll get off of my soapbox now.  Ha!)

And the song has all of the fantastic earmarks of the era!  Andy Cummings is one of my favorite Hawaiian crooners.  He can make you swoon when he croons.

2. La ʻElima (Diana Aki’s recording on the album Troubled Paradise)

A famous song that’s been recorded by many folks. But this week, it was Aunty Diana Aki’s version that stole my heart.

The song talks about a tidal wave that struck the fishing village of Miloliʻi on February 5th, 1898 (La ʻelima o Pepeluali.)

There’s something magical in the way she sings the song. A simple accompaniment helps to bring it to life–and doesn’t diminish the song or the story.  And Aunty Diana’s voice…WOW!  Folk-style and refinement married beautifully (seamlessly!) in one voice!

For another great telling of the story, please check out the book CLOUDS OF MEMORIES by Aunty Mona Kahele.  It’s an outstanding book full of great stories and information by an elder from the island of Hawaiʻi.

3. Niʻihau (Nā Palapalai’s recording on the album Nanea)

From the spoken introduction by a beloved kupuna/elder to the last note, this song R.O.C.K.S!

In their signature harmonies, Nā Palapalai soar into the stratosphere in modulation after modulation with amazing falsetto!  The song feels like a traditional hula–and yet it’s “amped up” by a piano–something my ear isn’t used to hearing in many Hawaiian recordings.  What a wonderful addition!

Triple love it.  Start to finish-they take you on a journey, for sure.  Amazing!

*Please click HERE to visit Nā Palapalai’s website.

(Their new album comes out at the end of the month!  Uihā!  I can’t wait!)

4. Hele on to Kauaʻi (Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s recording on the album E Ala Ē)

When I listen to the voice of Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, I’m instantly transported back to a different time.  His voice helped introduce me to Hawaiian music.  His voice acted as a touchstone for me when my world was dark and cloudy.  An anchor keeping me grounded and steady.  And HAPPY!

This song always makes me smile.  Love it.  Love the bouncy ʻukulele that accompanies his gentle voice.  Love the echo/reverb that’s used–it almost makes his voice sound like it’s coming from so far away.  Love the song’s lyrics–how it describes the magical “Garden Isle” of Kauaʻi.

A great song + an amazing singer = a winning combination.

*Please click HERE to visit the official IZ website.

5. Beautiful Hula Dancer (John Keawe’s recording on the album Beautiful Hula Dancer)

Today is the birthday of my friend, Hope Keawe.  (Hauʻoli Lā Hānau e Hope!)  So it only seems fitting to close out this week’s TOP 5 list with a song written about her!  (She really IS a beautiful hula dancer!)

Her husband, the amazing John Keawe, wrote this song about his wife–she’s his beloved companion and his muse!

And the song is awesome.  Listen to it.  You’ll see what I mean….  (And have a tissue handy to dry your eyes!)

*Please click HERE to visit John’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Hope’s page on John’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!

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

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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. Manowaiopuna (The Royal Hawaiian Serenaders’ recording on the album Legends Of Waikiki)

I love a great vintage recording of a great Hawaiian song, don’t you?

And the Royal Hawaiian Serenaders’ recording of this song, also known as KOʻULA, is one of my favorites.  Their arrangement is simple–nothing flashy or showy (other than the stellar falsetto!) which really allows the beauty of this classic song to shine through.

Triple love it.  True story.

*Please click HERE to read a great bio via the amazing Territorial Airwaves website.

2. Kuʻu Pua Pakalana (Natalie Ai Kamauu’s recording on the album ʻĀ)

For the second week in a row, this song is my obsession.  Still listening to it over and over.  Still singing it when I wake up in the morning.  What do they call that?  An “earworm” right?

(I’m so happy that I still love it and that it’s not driving me crazy by now!)

It’s contemporary and timeless at the same time.

According to the album’s liner notes, she says she wrote it to honor her son, Chaz.

It brings tears to my eyes and warms my heart.

*Please click HERE to visit Natalie’s website.

(** Crooner Note: Congrats to Natalie for her Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award this year: Female Vocalist of the Year!)

3. Nā Vaqueros (Kuana Torres Kahale’s recording on the album Kaunaloa)

I was on the treadmill this week and this song started to play.  I actually stopped the treadmill to look to see who was singing.  I had been zoning out (one of the benefits/hazards of running on a treadmill) and I heard the Spanish lyrics and was confused for a minute… I thought I’d been listening to Kuana Torres Kahele.  Then I recognized the song and had to laugh!

I love it for so many reasons: it’s beautiful, for sure.  It has a strangely familiar feel to it–I hear a lot of Spanish music living in NYC.  So it’s familiar that way.  And yet it also has a traditional hula feel to it, too!  How cool is that?!

*Please click HERE to visit Kuana’s website.

(**Crooner Note: This whole album rocks my world.  And it rocked the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards this year, too!  A giant CONGRATS to Kuana for all of the recognition he received for this outstanding album: Album of the Year, Hawaiian Album of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Song of the Year (Nā Vaqueros) and Liner Notes!  Fantastic!)

4. Over (Keahiwai’s recording on the album Local Girls)

I was feeling homesick for my friends/family on Oʻahu this week.  And this song, recorded by the fantastic duo known as Keahiwai, always takes me back.

It’s totally contemporary–well, it was released in 2001, but that’s contemporary in my world.  A mild “Jawaiian” feel to it.  It makes me want to head out to the North Shore and watch some surfing and catch some time in the sun and sand.  I love how it makes me feel.

It takes me back to happy times, for sure!

5. Waimaka Helelei (Dennis Kamakahi & Stephen Inglis’ recording on the album Waimaka Helelei)

You guys know how much I love Uncle Dennis Kamakahi!  And this song (& album!) that he recorded with Stephen Inglis is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

I think this song will enter into the classic/staple Hawaiian song category very soon.  So simple–yes.  Verses are only 2 lines long.  But so deep!  It pays tribute to the folks that lived at Kalaupapa–the colony for those affected by leprosy (Hansen’s Disease)–located on the island of Molokai.

We’ve needed a song like this for so long.  And finally, it’s here.  A giant MAHALO to Uncle Dennis for writing it.  And to Stephen for sharing his musical gifts.  Individually, they are fantastic musicians.  As a duo, these guys are incredible.

*At the time of this writing, Uncle Dennis shares this song AND the lyrics on his website.  Just click HERE to visit the site and listen to this song!

*Please click HERE to visit Stephen Inglis’ website.

(**Crooner Note:  CONGRATS to Uncle Dennis and Stephen for their Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award for this album: Slack Key Album of the Year!  Right on!)

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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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. Flowers of Paradise (Alfred Aholo Apaka’ recording on the album My Isle of Golden Dreams)

The golden voice of Hawaiian crooner Alfred Aholo Apaka never disappoints me.

This is a song that I only recently became reacquainted with.  I’d been asked about Hawaiian flowers and I searched thru my stack of CDs to see what songs mentioned different types/kinds.  Imagine how excited I was when I came across this one!

I think it would be perfect to do in a show–sharing Hawaiian botany via song.  That’s pretty cool.

2. ʻĀina o Lānaʻi (Aunty Genoa Keawe’s recording on the album Hulas of Hawaiʻi)

When I think of the hula classics, my mind automatically jumps to the one and only Aunty Genoa Keawe.  She set the standard for so many songs!  Her recordings are an encyclopedia of hula music.

And we don’t hear enough music from/about the island of Lānaʻi.  I was just talking about that the other day with a friend of mine.  So I decided I need to learn this song and sing it often!

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

3. Kū Ka ʻOliʻoli Nā Moku (Mark Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu’s recording on the album Call It What You Like)

Hawaii’s rebel kumu hula and rebel chanter.  I love this recording.  I love the fact that he’s playing with “the classics.” Exploring them.  Showing how vital these chants still are today–and helping to introduce a new audience to the amazing poetry.

Yes.  I know there are people that don’t approve of what he’s doing.

And there are others that celebrate it.

I’m glad to have this recording.

*Please click HERE to read more about Kumu Mark Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu.

4. Still The One (The Kaʻau Crater Boys’ recording on the album Tropical Hawaiian Day)

You guys know how much I love a good ’70′s vibe.

And if you read my Weekly “TOP 5″ lists, you know I’m a huge fan of the group Kaʻau Crater Boys.  They had the ability to cover a super-familiar song and make it sound like it was new–and like Kaʻau Crater Boys original.  Amazing musicians who were able to infuse true island flavor into all of their stuff.

Originally released in the late 1970s by the group Orleans, I love what the Kaʻau Crater Boys did with it.

*Please click HERE to visit Ernie Cruz Jr’s myspace page.

*Please click HERE to visit Troy Fernandez’s website.

5. Molokaiʻi Longing (John Keawe’s recording on the album Beautiful Hula Dancer)

I love John Keawe and his special music.  And this song, in which he sings about the beauty of my beloved Molokai, really touches my heart.  Makes me homesick.

It was on Molokai that I first met John and his beautiful wife, Hope.

Special days in a special place.

*Please click HERE to visit John’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!

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

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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. Hiʻilawe ( The Aloha Pumehana Serenaders’ recording on the album Hula Gems)

From the opening strumming of the ukulele, I was hooked.  100%  (The strum reminds me of a strum one might hear on an Aunty Genoa Keawe recording.)

The classic song about the waterfall known as Hiʻilawe on Hawaiʻi Island gets such royal treatment by the Aloha Pumehana Serenaders.  Smooth. Crooner-ific.  And yet totally danceable!  Right on!

2. Mālama Mau Hawaiʻi (Amy ‘s recording on the album Hānaialiʻi)

Another song with a super-catchy, infectious strum!  And this one also has moments of Flamenco guitar!  Give it a listen and you’ll see what I mean.

This song really features the stellar voice of Amy Hānaialii Gilliom so beautifully–highlighting her middle-to-low range.  Showcasing the emotion she brings to a piece.  Like a friend of mine says, “Her voice is like butter!”

And it bears the unmistakeable stamp of Willie K. and his fantastic musicianship.  Those cleanly executed/articulated fast strums.  Such power and control!

*Please click HERE to visit Amy’s website.

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

3. Blue Lei (Bill Akamuhou’s recording on the album Hukilau Hulas)

This is a classic hapa-haole tune!  Crooner-ific to ‘da max!

The first time I really remember hearing it–I mean really listening to the song and its lyrics–was when my friend, Liko, sang it at a party at Aloha Music Camp when it was still being held on the island of Molokai.  He jammed this sweet vintage tune and strummed the ʻukulele and melted everyone’s hearts.

It’s a tough one to strum, though!  Not a beginner’s tune on the ʻukulele–it’s got some complex chords.  (But totally worth the effort to learn it!)

*Please click HERE to read more about Bill Akamuhou on squareone.org.

4. Nightbird (Kalapana’s recording on the album Kalapana)

You guys know how much I love a good ’70′s vibe.

And this song OPENS with jazz flute!  Are you kidding me?  Awesome!

I mean this song just begs to be listened to while cruising along in a car with the windows down and warm trade winds blowing your  (feathered?) hair around.

Ah… Kalapana… Mahalo for the gift of this song.

*Please click HERE to check out Kalapana’s page at last.fm

5. E Kuʻu Morning Dew (Instrumental) (Steven Espaniola’s recording on the album Hoʻomaka)

I was listening to this song today and my heart said “YES!”–it’s so good!

This classic song, written by Eddie Kamae, is given the royal treatment by Steven Espaniola with beautiful (and complex!) ʻukulele playing.  Right on.

After the song had finished playing, I played it, again.  And again.  Yup.  Three times.  It’s that good.  Trust me.

*Please click HERE to visit Steven’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!

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

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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!

**Crooner Note:  This week’s TOP 5 is dedicated with love to the memory of a good friend, Braddah Allan.  Mahalo for encouraging me…  and for celebrating Hawaiian music and culture.  We miss you.

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

1. Niʻihau ( Kai Davis’ recording on the album Legends of Falsetto)

I was feeling like I needed a good, solid dose of AMAZING Hawaiian falsetto singing today.  And I turned to Uncle Kai Davis–one of the best.  Hands down.

And this song is so outrageously wonderful–simple with verses that are only two lines long.  A simple chord structure.  And yet it evokes the essence of the islands INSTANTLY.

I am fascinated by the island of Niʻihau and hope to be able to visit there someday.  Until then, I’m happy to listen to Uncle Kai’s voice sing its praises.

2. Paniolo Country (Melveen Leed’s recording on the album Melveen’s Hawaiian Country Hits)

My mom’s family lives in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.  Country music is a driving force in that terrain.  I remember listening to awesome story songs when I’d go there to visit as a kid.

When I first heard Hawaiian music, I instantly recognized the similarities.  A story presented in language of the people, for the people.

And Aunty Melveen Leed, with her signature voice and amazing Hawaiian-country style, marries the two beautifully!  This song talks about “Paniolo country” or Hawaiian cowboy country.  A nod to her Molokai roots, maybe?

Love the song.  Love her.

*Please click HERE to visit Aunty Melveen’s page at Tidal Wave Entertainment, Inc.

3. Hualālai (Nā Palapalai’s recording on the album Ka Pua Hae Hawaiʻi)

Wanna hear voices that soar into the stratosphere?  Check out this recording!

It’s no secret: I LOVE NĀ PALAPALAI!  They keep that “old-style” Hawaiian music alive and in the public eye–and ear!

This track, written by Uncle Dennis Kamakahi, is a favorite for sure.  Their arrangement of it rocks.  True story!

*Please click HERE to visit Nā Palapalai’s website.

4. Hawaiian Eyes (Jon Osorio & Randy Borden’s recording on the album Hawaiian Eyes)

You guys know how much I love a good ’70′s vibe.  And this song–complete with some killer jazz flute!–rocks me to my core!

And yes… this song was on the list from last week, but IT’S STILL ROCKING MY CORE THIS WEEK.

This is an instant “feel good” song for me.  I can’t help it–I start swaying and my neck starts swinging.  Awesome!

And the “hand claps” section that comes in on the chorus = over the top awesomeness!

5. Old Man Pueo (Keola Beamer’s recording on the album Island Born)

I needed some Keola Beamer music in my world this week.

And I love this song–the story of how he encountered Old Man Pueo–a Hawaiian owl.

This song talks about yearning to be free.  And sometimes NYC can feel kind of–well–restricting.  So many people.  So many obligations.  I understand that craving.  I get it.

Mahalo, Keola,for sharing this song–both its story and your wonderful musicianship.

*Please click HERE to visit Keola’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!

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

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