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Posts Tagged ‘Darlene Ahuna’

The Crooner’s Weekly TOP 5 (9.5.12)

Wednesday, September 5, 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 city.  (I’m convinced that it helps to keep me sane in this crazy city!)

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

And I love sharing some of my favorites with you.

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

1.  Beautiful ʻIlima (Aunty Agnes Malabey Weisbarth and the Makaha Serenaders’ recording on the album Sunset at Makaha)

Aunty Agnes opens the song with the chorus–which is in English–and then launches into the verse–which is in Hawaiian.  A wonderful combination of the two.  And a great way to introduce this beautiful mele written by Princess Emma Alexandria Kanoʻa De Fries.

Her voice is one of those voices that carries.  I mean, it would be the voice you’d hear coming down from the mountains or over the waves.  Vintage?  Maybe. Timeless.  Absolutely.

The simple structure of the song reminds me of a church hymn.  Lovely and uncomplicated.

2. Laupahoehoe Hula (Kimo Alama Keaulana & Lei Hulu’s recording on the album Hula Lives!)

A classic hula!  And one of my favorites.

I love that track opens with the paʻi/rhythmic beating of the ipu.  And then ʻukulele, steel guitar and voices join in.  Love it!!

The recording has a great “homegrown-feel” to it.  Nothing overproduced.  There are no bells and whistles.  Why?  Because you don’t need ‘em.

This is one of Pops’ favorite hulas, too.  (You should see him dance!)

3. Hanohano ʻO Maui (Uluwehi Guerrero’s recording on the album Nā Kumu Hula: Songs from the Source Vol. 2)

A beautiful hula that celebrates the island of Maui.

And this recording features the soothing, honeyed voice of kumu hula, Uluwehi Guerrero.  Right on!

This is one of those recordings that pretty much begs for a hula dancer to illustrate the song and its lyrics with movement.  Why?  It’s simple.  Unaffected.  Edited down to its bare bones.  And absolutely stunning.

Yes, please.  More like this!

*Please click HERE to visit Uluwehi’s website.

4. Pūpū ʻO Niʻihau (Darlene Ahuna’s recording on the album Bridge Between Generations)

I don’t know many songs about the island of Niʻihau.  Perhaps it’s because Niʻihau is a private island.  Maybe it holds its music tightly like a precious jewel?  Maybe because of the island’s seclusion–things just don’t travel away from its shores?

But this is a well-known classic.

And Darlene Ahuna does a lovely job with it.  I love that the album is called Bridge Between Generations.  It is!  Her voice and her amazing haʻi (female falsetto) is a throwback to another era.  A treat for the ears, for sure.

5. Safe Passage (John Keawe’s recording on the album Hawai’i Island Is My Home)

New Yorkers aren’t the only ones who feel stress.  You get stressed out, too, right?

One of things I love to do when I’m stressed out is put on some amazing kī hōʻalu, slack key guitar, music.  It soothes me.  Reaches down inside me and acts a pressure release.  Seriously.  I can feel my shoulders drop away from my ears…

And when it’s played by an amazingly gifted and skilled musician like John Keawe… wow!

This is one of those instrumental tracks where you are completely transported–the voice of the guitar tells the story.

Ah.

*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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Aloha kākou!

Here’s this week’s question:

Which Hawaiian recording artist released the album KAUNALOA?

A. Kuana Torres Kahele

B. Darlene Ahuna

C. Alfred Aholo Apaka

D. Emma Veary

• 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!  Right on!

The correct answer is A. KUANA TORRES KAHELE.

This is one of my favorite albums–it plays on “repeat” so often that I’m afraid I’m burning a hole in the CD!  (To check out this awesome collection of music, please click HERE.)

And this week’s winner, chosen randomly from all of the correct answers, is… (Drum roll, please…) SARO VANASUP!  Congrats, Saro!  You’re this week’s Trivia Superstar!

Mahalo to all of you for taking part in this week’s Aloha Friday Trivia Challenge.  I hope you’ll play again next week, too!

Happy Weekend, gang!

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. Kona Daze (Dennis Pavao’s recording on the album All Hawaiʻi Stand Together )

I love the voice of  the crooner, Dennis Pavao!

This English language song usually makes me think of the Hawaiian group, Kalapana.    It was written by the legendary Malani Bilyeu.

And I usually think of Uncle Dennis Pavao singing more “traditional” Hawaiian songs.

However, I love this version that Uncle Dennis sang!  Love the soul he infuses it with.

Listening to it brings to mind the sunny dryness one finds on the island of Hawaiʻi in Kailua Kona–that heat and sunshine and blue water.  Ah… takes me there in my mind.

2. Mom (Elodia Kane’s recording on the album Tribute to Lena Machado)

Aunty Elodia Kane’s sweet soprano voice is one of my favorites.  And I love hearing her sing the songs of Aunty Lena Machado!  One sweet Hawaiian songbird honoring another!

This particular recording almost has a “Gershwin-feel” to it with the horns.  Or a theatrical piece from a classic Broadway show.  Love it.

The song, while written in English, really has a Hawaiian feel to it.  And it paints such a loving (and/or sad) portrait of what was happening in the South Pacific (and throughout the world!) when it was written.  According to another album’s liner notes, Aunty Lena Machado copyrighted the song  in June of 1944.  The soldiers and their letters home to their beloved mothers most certainly inspired this touching ballad.

It’s melody stays “up high” in the voice… making it a favorite of sopranos and falsetto (leo kʻiekiʻe) singers.

3. Ain’t No Big Thing (Kui Lee’s recording on the album The Extraordinary Kui Lee)

Triple love the fun sound of this song!  And Kui Lee–wow!

The album was recorded in 1966, I think.  And it has all of the earmarks of the era.  Organ, whistles, fantastic guitar, fun percussion.  It’s all in there.

We lost Uncle Kui too soon… I would love to be able to see what he would have created later in life.  I’m so glad we can rock out to his records!

4. Kaimana Hila (Darlene Ahuna’s recording on the album Classic Hula)

When I’m feeling “down in the dumps”–and yes!  Even Accidental Hawaiian Crooners have those kinds of days–I look to a classic, uptempo hula to help chase away the blues.

And this song, written by the amazing Charles E. King, is guaranteed to make me smile.  Like every time!

It describes some of the things one might see if one were to go holoholo (out cruising) in and around the Diamond Head side of the island of Oʻahu.  Fun!

And I love the controlled break in Darlene’s voice–maikaʻi that haʻi!  Hana hou!  Encore!

*Please click HERE to visit Darleneʻs website.

5. Hoʻokena (Ledward Kaapana’s recording on the album The Legend: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar)

When it’s time to relax, to wind down, to shed the stresses of the day, I turn to Uncle Led Kaapana and the awesomely soothing sounds of his kī hōʻalu, his slack key guitar.

The Hawaiian word I’d use to best describe his sound is nahenahe–soothing, gentle.

We all need a little peace and tranquility.  I turn to Uncle Led’s recordings for that.

*Please click HERE to visit Uncle Led’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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The Crooner’s Weekly “TOP 5″ (12.28.11)

Wednesday, December 28, 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. Alekoki (Darlene Ahuna’s recording on the album All The Best Of Darlene Ahuna-Vol. 1)

This song, whose lyrics are attributed to Lunalilo and music to Lizzie Alohikea, is a classic.  And a favorite.

The stories I’ve heard say that Lunalilo wrote the song because he was disappointed he could not marry the woman he’d hoped, Victoria Kamamalu.  The song’s lyrics are beautifully poetic, rich with imagery.  And it begs for a hula.

I love Darlene Ahuna’s recording–I love her haʻi (female “falsetto” or break) and I love how she lets the lines drop off in a sigh… like that of an exasperated would-be lover.  Right on!

For a great written history of the song, check out one of my favorite books: Nā Mele O Hawaiʻi Nei (Samuel Elbert and Noelani Mahoe.)

•Please click HERE to see Hawaii411′s interview with Darlene Ahuna.

2. Kalua (Love Song of Kalua) (Hui ʻOhana’s recording on the album The Best of Hui ʻOhana)

A vintage song given the royal treatment by the incomparable super-group of Hawaiian music, Hui ʻOhana!

The song, written by Ken Darby, was used in the 1952 movie, Bird of Paradise.  Its haunting melody appealed to many–making it a classic.

And when it’s performed by Hui ʻOhana (and this is a LIVE recording!)–well–it’s awesome.  Like amazingly awesome.  Stellar.

The name Kalua always makes me secretly chuckle a bit.  Did they call her “The Pit?”  Ha!

3. Nā Manu O Kalani Nui (Amy Hānaiali’i Gilliom & Wilie K’s recording on the album Hawaiian Tradition)

Ah!  This recording brings back such memories!  I listened to this album non-stop when I first started learning some of the hula basics.

And this song was a favorite because it was bright and bouncy, but still gentle.  Still nahenahe.

Years later, I studied the song’s lyrics (written by Keliʻi Tauʻā) as  part of my Hawaiian language studies.  The song’s verses consist of only two lines each.  I remember sitting with Pukui and Elbert’s Hawaiian Dictionary on the table and going through word by word.

Amy’s voice shines brilliantly on this track.  Once a favorite.  Always a favorite.

*Please click HERE to visit Amy’s website.

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

4. Poetry Man (Nā Leo Pilimehana’s recording on the album Anthology I 1984-1996)

I first heard the amazing Phoebe Snow sing this song when I was young boy.  It was a favorite of mine while I was growing up.  And judging by the song’s success, it was a favorite song for a lot of people!

While on Oʻahu years later, I heard the song on the radio.  But this was a different version–a group with tight vocal harmonies was rocking the airwaves.  And while they paid homage to Snow’s original recording, they also succeeded in making it their own.

I was delighted when I realized it was Nā Leo Pilimehana (a.k.a. Nā Leo).  I love them and love their music.

And this is a winning combination: a great song covered by a great group.

*Please click HERE to visit Nā Leo’s website

5. Room Service (Rap Reiplinger’s recording on the album Poi Dog with Crabs)

This comedy sketch always cracks me up!  I mean it:  EVERY TIME!

I love this whole album, but this one track gets me.  Perhaps because it highlights some of the differences in “haole speech” versus “local speech”?   And the uptight man ordering room service?  Auē!  I hope I don’t come across that way!  Local-style humor, to the max!

While I may not order “pickled pigs’ feet” from the menu, I would order this hotel’s room service any time!

*Please click HEREto see a video of the sketch via Mountain Apple Company’s Youtube channel.

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. My Rose of Waikiki (Andy Iona’s recording on the album Hawaiians in Hollywood)

I love this hapa haole tune!  It’s not one that I’ve heard a million times before.  In fact, the first time I heard it was fairly recently–right after I bought this compilation album.  The song is attributed to Andy Iona and Louis Herscher–and it was recorded somewhere between 1934-1936.

The interesting thing to note is that it can be called “hapa haole” (at least in my humble opinion) because of the inclusion of the Hawaiian-named place, Waikīkī.  However, all of the other lyrics are in English.  It’s also interesting to note the possible use of kaona, or “hidden meaning.”  Is Andy Iona singing about a flower of Waikiki?  A woman named “Rose?”  Or is rose just a poetic reference to a lover that he misses?

Typical of the era, the song has all of the wonderful flourishes that make a crooner swoon.  I need to learn this one!

2.  Kamakahala (Bill Ka’iwa’s recording on the album This Is Bill Kaiwa)

I was riding on the subway the other day and this song began to play on my iPod.  I’d heard it before because–well– Bill Kaiwa is a favorite musician and I listen to his music a lot.  I was familiar with the song’s melody.  And this week, I decided it should be part of the Crooner’s Weekly “TOP 5.”  Whenever I hear it, with it’s bouncy tempo, I can’t help but smile.

I wish I could tell you what this song was about.  But to be honest, I can only make guesses.  This is one of those songs that’s full of allusions to things.  For example, I’m sure the choice of the ʻāhihi flower was deliberate–it symbolized something.  The lyrics were probably easy for folks to understand–on many level–when it was composed.  However, even as a language student, I can only make educated guesses.  The song’s lyrics can be found on the Huapala website by clicking HERE.

(I’ll be asking my teacher about this one when I’m back on Molokai later this month!)

3.  Kaimana Hila (Darlene Ahuna’s recording on the album Classic Hula)

I love this song!  It’s about a group of folks that go out “cruising” on the island of O’ahu and some of the places they visit.  One of the reasons I love Darlene’s recording is because she includes so many verses!  Most of the time I’ve sung it (and seen it danced) it only includes 3 places.  But her version includes 6!  Double the fun!

It’s got a great uptempo beat and it begs for a hula.

And if you learn the lyrics to the song, you’ll know some of the most famous places/sights on the island of Oʻahu.  What a great way to learn geography, right?

4.  Ain’t No Big Thing (Kui Lee’s recording on the album The Extraordinary Kui Lee)

Wanna listen to something groovy?  This is it!

I first heard a much-beloved version of this song as recorded by the Brothers Cazimero.  (And you guys know how much I love the CAZ!) But then I picked up the CD–and heard the song as recorded by the composer himself.  It’s got all of the cool 60s sounds including a swingin’ organ and a tambourine!  Right on!  And it delivers the awesome “No worries” vibe that Kui Lee was trying to share with the listener.

It’s a lot of fun crammed into 2 minutes and 22 seconds!

5.  ʻOpihi Moemoe (Chris Yeaton’s recording on the album Kīkaha Mālie)

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

And I love it when it’s played by my “brother from another mother,” Chris Yeaton!  This song is playful and fun and full of joy.  He really makes the guitar sing!

He’s  a great musician–and a great guy.  It’s a treat to celebrate the music of someone you admire and respect.  Check out his awesome album.  Love it!

(And a big “ALOHA!” to the gang on Hawai’i Island right now.  NYC is in ‘da house!)

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!

 

2 Comments

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. Kīkaha Mālie (Chris Yeaton’s recording on the album Kīkaha Mālie)

This is one of my favorite pieces that my good friend and gifted guitarist, Chris Yeaton, has recorded. A stunning guitar solo.

He is such a talented musician! A student of John Keawe and Keola Beamer, his music prowess never ceases to amaze me. This song, the title track from his 2003 album, is a killer! It sets the tone of the album and succeeds in painting pictures with sounds… like a seabird gliding along peacefully.

Today is Chris’ birthday. Please join me in wishing this excellent musician HAUʻOLI LĀ HĀNAU!

And please check out his page at Woodsong Acoustics Group.

**Crooner Update: Chris’ album IS available on Woodsong Acoustics Group website!

2. Wahine Uʻi (Andy Cummings & His Hawaiian Serenaders’ recording on the album, The Wandering Troubadours)

I love this song! And I can’t get enough of Andy Cummings’ version. Pure delight. I think his falsetto and lyrical voice are both fantastic. And the way that this song bounces along, well, it makes me grin. I can picture a dancer helping to illustrate the song’s lyrics about a woman’s beauty with her hands, body and face. Makes me want to be in Waikīkī right now.

In the research I did, I found discrepancies, of course! It’s credited to two different people: John Kameaaloha Almeida and Johnny Noble. Let’s face it–studying Hawaiian music is a lesson in learning to say “Okay…” as you hear different versions of each story. To this listener, it’s not as important WHO wrote it. I’m just glad SOMEONE did!

3. In A Little Hula Heaven (Darlene Ahuna’s recording on the album Bridge Between Generations)

This crooner classic, written for the 1937 film Waikiki Wedding, is such a gem! And Darlene Ahuna’s version of it is perfect–simple and bright and lively and light. You can’t ask for better than that.

I’m kind of “hooked” on this song. I’ve been singing it all over the place as I make my way around NYC. I wonder what the people on the street think as I’m walking around singing it. Ah… who cares?! It makes me smile!

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

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