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Posts Tagged ‘Dennis Kamakahi’

Planting Seeds of a Song.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Jason Poole, accidental hawaiian crooner, pilipo solatorio, anakala pilipo, halawa valley, molokai, songwriting, hula, kamaka ukulele,

One of the best parts of writing a new song is at the very beginning.

The song could go in so many directions. At this stage, it’s all about potential.

I went for a walk yesterday to clear my head and get some movement in this body. And I was pleasantly surprised when a new song (a hula?) started to take shape in my mind. Walking seems to be a great “spark” when it comes to songwriting, at least for me. As I walk, my brain “dances” and I often get little snippets of lyrics, a few words, maybe some preliminary thoughts about the song’s rhythm.

As I walked across the Harlem River on the Broadway Bridge, I used the voice recorder on my phone to capture the things that were happening so that I don’t lose them. (Uncle Dennis Kamakahi told me that he used to carry a tape recorder with him for the same reason. And hey, if it worked for him…)  I was able to gather some great ideas, some moments that might turn into something bigger. (I was also able to record lots of NYC noise.)

When I got back to the apartment, I scratched a few notes about the new song in my trusty notebook. I sketched out a structure–something that may or may not work. I’ll only be able to tell when I really start working, moving the parts around to see how it all comes together.

The early stages of a new song are a lot like planting seeds.

And now it’s time to water them and let them grow.

I know I can’t rush the process. (Even though I’m incredibly impatient.)  I need to let them sit for a little while, let them rest.

But I also need to mālama these precious seeds. I need to take care them and not let them dry up and die. I need to water them, give them attention.  And I need to make sure they get lots of sunlight and not remain in the dark of my notebook and phone.

It will be exciting to see what happens.  Just like when you plant seeds in a garden, you wait to see what grows.

Of course, there are times when gardens are planted and nothing grows, too.  No matter how much you want flowers to grow, no matter how well you try to take care of these seeds, sometimes nothing happens.  And thatʻs what makes the beginnings of a new song kinda scary, too.

Hopefully, something will appear.  Hopefully, the song will flower.

We’ll see.

Right on.

off

The Crooner’s Weekly TOP 5 (8.15.12)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

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. Lei Poinaʻole (Genoa Keawe’s recording on the album By Request)

One of my all-time favorite voices?  Aunty Genoa Keawe.  One of my all-time favorite ladies?  Aunty Genoa Keawe.

Her voice and distinctive strum have “set the standard” for so many songs–and this is no exception.  Every time I’ve ever thought of this song, it’s the voice of the beloved Aunty Genoa that rings in my ears.

And how could you not love a song that opens with “You are my beloved, unforgettable lei…”

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

2. For You A Lei (Andy Iona and the Islanders’ recording on the album Hawaiians In Hollywood)

My “time warp favorite” this week is this song as recorded by Andy Iona and the Islanders.  I mean, it’s really like opening a window and stepping back into 1934.  That classic ʻukulele strum, the slide guitar, the vocal harmonies…

Heavenly.

I am so thankful we have recordings from this era.  I could listen to ‘em all day!

*Please click HERE to read more about Andy Iona.

3. Honouliwai (Eddie Akio Waimakanui Tanaka, Jr’s recording on the album Mystical Molokaʻi)

You guys know how much I love the island of Molokai.  And how the island’s East End holds a special place in my heart…

Well, Eddie Waimakanui Tanaka’s song about Honouliwai, the bay that’s also celebrated in Uncle Dennis Kamakahi’s Wahine ʻIlikea, is a special song in my heart.

And he should know the bay well–his home is right there!  He captures the magic of that special place so beautifully.

A hauntingly beautiful new song about the island of Molokai and the bay known as Honouliwai.  Fantastic!

*Please click HERE to visit Eddie’s website 

4. Kauaʻi Nani Lā (Robi Kahakalau’s recording on the album Sistah Robi)

This week, I’ve been feeling a need to listen to the voice of the one and only Sistah Robi.  Soulful to the max!

This song describes the beauty of the island of Kauaʻi.  Her voice reminds me of Stevie Nicks on this track–and when the harmonies join her, it reminds me of Fleetwood Mac.

And yet, at the same time, it’s a distinct and very unique sound.  Distinctly island.  Distinctly Hawaiian.

And oh, so beautiful.

It tugs at my heart. (And brings a tear to my eye.)

*Please click HERE to visit Robi’s website.

5. Keiki Slack Key  (Sonny Chillingworth’s recording on the album Endlessly)

I love kī hōʻalu, Hawaiian slack key guitar music..  And I especially love it when it’s played by a master like Uncle Sonny.

This song bounces.  That’s the word that comes to my mind when I listen to it.  And it’s peppered with familiar melodic passages from children’s nursery rhymes.  It’s fun.  It’ll make you smile.

And it reminds me to take a much needed deep breath.  Right on.

Please click HERE to read more about Uncle Sonny.

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. The Hawaiian Wedding Song (Ke Kali Nei Au) (Alfred Aholo Apaka’ recording on the album Hawaiian Wedding Song)

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

And this song, sung as a beautifully touching duet with Diana Moncado, is–well–it knocks my socks off.  Amazing.  Amazing.  Amazing.  Such control.

Wow.

So beautiful, this song.

Some say it’s not the original Hawaiian Song.  And that leads us to the next selection.

2. Lei Aloha Lei Makamae (Aunty Genoa Keawe’s recording on the album Among My Hawaiian Souvenirs)

Aunty Genoa sings this duet with her son, the amazing baritone crooner, Gary Aiko.  Wow.

I mean it:  W.O.W.

Amazing voices singing an amazing song.

I was told by several folks in Hawaii that THIS is the original Hawaiian Wedding Song and not Ke Kali Nei Au… and who am I to argue, right?  I just keep learning and growing.  That’s my job.  (I think we need to discuss this in more detail, don’t you?  Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post!)

This piece, written by the incomparable Charles E. King, has some of the most beautiful lyrics I’ve ever read.

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

3. Kaimuki Hula (Ata Damasco’s recording on the album Paʻina Hou!)

Are you looking for an amazing hula tune with some of the smoothest vocals (and falsetto!) you’ll ever hear?  Well, this is your song!

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the voice (and ʻukulele stylings) of Mr. Ata Damasco.  So smooth.  So seemingly effortless.  I wanna sing like him someday!

*Please click HERE to read more about Ata Damasco on his page on the Ululoa website.

4. Pua Pakalana (The Hula Honeys’ recording on the album Life Just Got Sweeter)

I love the sweet sounds of The Hula Honeys!  And this song, penned by Robyn Kneubuhl, is so dreamy!  I mean it… Heavenly. Ethereal.

According to the album’s liner notes, she wrote the song about the Pakalana flower as it reminds her of her grandmother.

If you close your eyes, I think you’ll be able to see a hula being danced to it.

Sounds that remind of us of “yesteryear” being sung today by a duo of amazing musicians like Robin Kneubuhl and Ginger Johnson.  Yes, please.

*Please click HERE to visit The Hula Honeys’ website.

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

One of my favorite composers/performers is Uncle Dennis.  And he’s such a great mentor for all things Hawaiian.  A true source!

In this recording, he shares the song based on an chant that honors King David Kalākaua.  The recording is like a jam session–including Uncle Dennis’ amazing slack key guitar skills, David Kamakahi’s sparkling ʻukulele stylings and Uncle Dennis’ golden baritone voice.

Wow… imagine what it would have been like to be a fly on the wall in that recording studio when they recorded it!

*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 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:

Dennis Kamakahi recently collaborated with another artist on a stunningly beautiful album called WAIMAKA HELELEI.  What is the name of the other artist?

A.  Stephen Inglis

B.  Raiatea Helm

C.  John Keawe

D. Robin Kneubuhl

• 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:  Y’all are amazing!

Yes!  Everyone had the correct answer this week!

The answer is A.  Stephen Inglis.

Does that mean that mean that some of you might even have the album?  Have you heard the beautiful music that these two masterful musicians recorded?  So nahenahe!

And this week’s winner, chosen randomly from all of the correct answers by the technology at www.random.org is… (Drum roll, please…) BARBARA WAY!  Congrats, Ms Barbara!  You are this week’s Trivia Super Star!

I’m happy that so many of you played along in the challenge this week!  And I hope you’ll take the ALOHA FRIDAY TRIVIA CHALLENGE next week, too!

Happy Weekend, gang!

A hui hou…

Jason

9 Comments

The Crooner’s Weekly “TOP 5″ (1.4.12)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

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. Hawaiian Love Call (Alfred Aholo Apaka’s recording on the album My Isle of Golden Dreams)

It’s no secret:  I love the voice the golden voice of the legendary crooner, Alfred Aholo Apaka.  He has a way of delivering a song that can make me stop in my tracks and just listen.  How amazing is that?!

This song, attributed to Aunty Irmgard Farden Aluli, is a classic. And this recording, which opens with the sound of a harp(!) is a classic, too.  Beautiful orchestration.  Beautiful background vocals that take part in a kind of call and response, both in English and Hawaiian.  And of, course, the voice of Alfred Apaka.

A perfect combination!

2. Nani Koʻolau (Robi Kahakalau’s recording on the album Keiki O Ka Āina)

I dare you listen to this song without a breaking a smile!

The incredible Troy Fernandez and his ʻukulele stylings open the track with a bouncy beat, guaranteed to make you tap your feet.

I love Sistah Robi’s voice–its smoky huskiness that tickles the ear.  (I have a friend here in NYC that sounds like Robi when she speaks.  Sometimes I ask her to repeat herself when she speaks–not because I didn’t hear her, but because I want to hear her again!  Ha!)

And this song, written by Abbey Kong, is a smile-inducing three minute ride of fun.

*Please click HERE to visit Sistah Robi’s website.

3. Kīhei (Mark Yamanaka’s recording on the album Lei Pua Kenikeni)

I have been LOVING this song this week.

It’s a classic song written by the legendary Kai Davis.  The song celebrates the beauty of the district of Kīhei on the island of Maui.  When you listen to it, I’ll bet you can imagine a great hula being danced to illustrate the lyrics.

And when Mark Yamanaka brings his smooth and effortless falsetto to the song, it ROCKS! (At least he makes it sound effortless!)  His sound excites me–it makes me want to listen more.  Im sure Im just one of his legion of fans–this guy can SING!!  Uihā!

*Please click HERE to visit Mark’s page at Reverbnation.

4. ʻO ʻOe Nō (Kūpaoa’s recording on the album English Rose)

When I heard this song, I got choked up.  I’ll be the first to admit that my Hawaiian language skills are rudimentary.  But you don’t need to be able to speak Hawaiian in order to understand the sentiment.

A song written for her beloved, Kalikolihau professes her love so beautifully.  When I sat down with the lyrics in front of me, it brought tears to my eyes.  And the way they trade parts–one singing harmony for while and then switching to carry the melody.  You can tell they love each other so much–their voices blend seamlessly. (There were moments where I was reminded of another favorite contemporary Hawaiian duet with close vocal harmonies, Kaʻena–recorded by Amy Hānanialiʻi Gilliom and Fiji on Amy’s album, Puʻuhonua.)

LOVE THIS!

*Please click HERE to visit Kūpaoa’s website.

5. Ka ʻŌpae (The Sons of Hawaiʻi’s recording on the album Yesterday and Today)

When you want the sound of old Hawaiʻi–you know… the kind of music that could be played at a backyard paʻina (party)or a kanikapila (Hawaiian-style jam session)–where do you go?  The Sons of Hawaiʻi!

This song, written (and sung, too!) by Dennis Kamakahi is like a fest for my hungry ears.  Maybe it’s because I’m getting ready to head back to the islands and I’m getting excited.  But I was really looking for something to give me what I was looking for.  And this song did it.  Right on!

*Please click HERE to visit the Sons of Hawaiʻi’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!**

2 Comments