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Posts Tagged ‘Hawaiian Tradition’

Happy New Year, gang!  HAUʻOLI MAKAHIKI HOU!

I went down to the Hudson River to sound the pū (conch shell trumpet) this afternoon–ringing in the New Year Hawaiian-style!

(Who says you need to be in the islands to sound the conch shell, right?)

May 2013 be a year filled with Aloha for you.  And may we all recognize lots of opportunities to share Aloha with each other.

How did YOU ring in the New Year? Drop me a line.  I’d love to hear from you!

(Note: Sounding the pū on New Year’s Day has become a tradition for me.  Please click HERE and HERE to see previous posts/pictures/videos!)

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The Crooner’s Weekly TOP 5 (8.29.12)

Wednesday, August 29, 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.  Beyond The Reef (The Waikiki Hula Boys’ recording on the album Hula)

I scored a copy of this classic album from 1954 when it was released on CD–complete with Japanese liner notes!–a few years ago.  It’s awesome!

Voices are just “part of the band” in this group with simple “Ooohs.”  The lineup of musicians include: Harry Baty, Pua Almeida, Sam Kaapuni, Danny Stewart, Sam Koki, Bud Smith and Andy Iona!  How cool is that?

Super “period perfect” in sound–like stepping through a sound portal directly into 1954.  I love it.  Dreamy!

And this crooner classic song is given the royal treatment by these amazing musicians.

2. Pupule (Crazy) (Melveen Leed’s recording on the album Melveen’s County Hits)

I love Willie Nelsons’s country classic, CRAZY.  And I love the voice of Aunty Melveen.  Put ‘em together and you get an awesome combination!

But wait! It get’s even better!  Then she sings part of the song in Hawaiian!  Come on–how cool is that?  (Queen of Hawaiian Country, Aunty Melveen never disappoints.)

I always say that Hawaiian music and country music are close cousins.  And with this song, you can listen and see for yourself.

3. Lei ʻOhu (Ata Damasco’s recording on the album Paʻina Hou!)

Ah!  An uptempo, bouncy hula sung by one of my favorite voices, Ata Damasco!

Similar to some other songs, this song names a famous chief and the beloved flower lei attributed to nā moku ʻehā, the four islands of Oʻahu, Maui, Hawaiʻi Island and Kauaʻi.  But this song has a fantastic swing–it’s a standout AND it stands alone.  Right on!

*Please click HERE to visit Ata’s page at Ululoa Records.

4. Lehuaʻula (Amy Hānaialiʻi Gilliom & Willie K’s recording on the album Hawaiian Tradition)

When I took my first tentative steps in hula, I listened to this album all the time.  And, truth be told, I practiced basic hula hands and hula footwork to this song, too!

It always will hold a special place in my heart.

Amy’s wonderful and soothing voice–and the steady hula rhythm!–makes this an ideal song to play when practicing your steps.

*Please click HERE to visit Amy’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Willie Ks website.

5. Kamalani (Herb Ohta Jr’s recording on the album ʻUkulele Dream)

This song has been inspiring me to pick up my ʻukulele this week.  To pick it up and PICK individual notes on the ʻukulele instead of strumming it.

I’m a simple strummer–but this song and Herb’s musical genius, makes me want to be able to pick.  To be more versatile on the ukulele.  To become a better instrumental player.

Gotta love being inspired!

(And this song always makes me think of my buddies Tommy and Kbelle.  Cheers, guys!)

*Please click HERE to visit Herb Ohta Jr’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″ (2.1.12)

Wednesday, February 1, 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. Ka Pua E (The Mākaha Sons of Niʻihau’s recording on the album Nā Mele Hoʻoheno Vol.1)

This hapa-haole song, attributed on the album’s liner notes to Edward Marino, is lovely!  It brought an instant smile to my face.  And in my mind, I choreographed a hula to it!  Ha!

I love listening to the young voices that made up the Mākaha Sons of Niʻihau.  Their tight, Hawaiian-style harmonies make my head tingle.

While it would definitely change if sung by a solo artist (i.e. no harmonies), this song could become a crooner staple.  I think I need to learn it and add it to my repertoire.

*Please click HERE to read Tropical Music’s brief (but informative!) bio of the Mākaha Sons of Niʻihau.

2. Kupa Landing (The Hoʻopiʻi Brother’s recording on the album Hawaiian Classics)

A favorite!  Many folks know this song by its distinctive hui (chorus) where the Hoʻopiʻi Brothers rock out with their amazing leo kiʻekiʻe (falsetto) stylings and paniolo (cowboy)-style yodeling!

The song describes Kupa Landing (Cooper Landing) at Hoʻokena on Hawaiʻi Island. It must have been an amazing place in its heydey–the way it makes the singer break out into song with such jubilation.  (Especially the way the Hoʻopiʻi Brothers sing it!  Wow!)

They are so quick and amazing in this recording that it never fails to make me laugh.  The sound is pure and wild and FUN.

*Please click HERE to read their bio on Mele.com.

*Sadly, Uncle Sol passed away in 2006.  Please click HERE to read about his amazing life in his obituary.

3. Miliʻōpua (Cody Pueo Pata’s recording on the album He Aloha…)

Cody Pueo Pata’s leo kiʻekiʻe (falsetto) always amazes me.  I remember being in a car on Oʻahu and hearing his voice on the radio.  I asked everyone in the car to stop talking so that we could just listen.  He makes it sound effortless, gliding from low to high.

This song, written by Pata, describes a hill on Oʻahu–but he refers to the song as a mele hoʻoipoʻipo.  Often times in Hawaiian music, there is an “implied meaning” that lies just beneath the surface/literal meaning of a song.  It’s called kaona.  Sometimes a composer will tell you what they meant or implied, like Pata does with this song.  Other times, you are left on your own to sit and imagine what the composer might have been saying with the song.

This is a favorite.

*Please click HERE Ululoa Productions’ webpage for this album.

4. Kihawahine (Amy Hānaialiʻi Gilliom and Willie K’s recording on the album Hawaiian Tradition)

The first time I heard this song, I was sure I was listening to a lullaby.  It’s so soothing!  Gentle ʻukulele and voice open the song.  And then a lovely piano joins in the mix.

I remember when I went to the album’s liner notes to read more about it.  The song, written by Keliʻi Tauʻā, is about the lizard goddess, Kihawahine.  I was shocked!  I guess I’d figured that a song about a lizard goddess would be fierce instead of gentle.  It just goest to show you how we are influenced by our environments–I was certainly limited by my own preconceptions.

A favorite song, indeed.  And Amy’s voice, as always, is incredible.

*Please click HERE to visit Amy’s website.

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

5.  Rainbow Ridge (Jeff Peterson’s recording on the album Maui On My Mind)

This morning I was sitting at my computer with a cup of coffee listening to music on “shuffle mode” and I was blown away by this song from Jeff’s album, Maui on My Mind.

I love the rich tradition of kī hōʻalu, slack key guitar. And I love the sound of contemporary guitar artists.  And Jeff marries both the traditional and the new so brilliantly in this recording.

I’m always intrigued by a song’s title for an instrumental track.  Always curious about why the composer called it by that name.  But this song really invokes a sense of place.  In the story I’ve written in my mind, it’s a place Jeff goes to–a place both ancient and new.  Full of life.  A place that invigorates him.

This track rocked my morning.  I hope it rocks your world, too!

*Please click HERE to visit Jeff’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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molokai, peace, jason poole

A moment of peace on Molokai. (6.26.11)

HAPPY WORLD PEACE DAY!

You all know how I believe in the healing powers of Hawaiian music.  There’s something special in the music… something that reaches deep inside me–past all of the chaos–and soothes my soul.

Taking a deep, conscious breath is an opportunity to practice peace.

To honor World Peace Day, I’ve compiled a list of my TOP 5 Hawaiian songs that inspire me to take a deep breath when I hear ‘em:

1. Wahine ʻIlikea (Rev. Dennis Kamakahi’s recording on the album Puaʻena)

When I need to connect to my source, I listen to this song.  It never fails.  It takes me to Molokai. It takes me to that quiet place in my heart.

I can’t help but get choked up when he starts to sing–especially the second verse that talks about Hālawa.

Recorded by many, but no one does it like the man who wrote it.  Rock on, Uncle Dennis.  Rock on.

*Please click HERE to visit Uncle Dennis’ website.

2. Lei Mānoa (Hapa’s recording on the album Māui)

I love a good Hapa song.  There’s a certain familiar feeling.  A certain familiar sound.

And then there’s THIS song.  I can’t really explain it.  It feels different.  Almost surreal.  In my mind’s eye, I see water trickling down the face of a rock…

*Please click HERE to visit Hapa’s website.

3. Kaulana Waialua Aʻo Molokaʻi (Amy Hānaialiʻi Gilliom and Willie K’s recording on the album Hawaiian Tradition)

This song reminds me of my very first tentative steps in hula.  We listened to the album, Hawaiian Tradition, a lot  in that class.  Hours and hours spent learning basic hula steps with Amy’s sweet voice in the background.

I remember being rocked to my core when I heard this song.  And I remember the day I listened closely and realized she was singing about Molokai–a place that I’d only heard of.  A place that I so desperately wanted to go to.  Funny how that is.

(P.S. I still haven’t been to Waialua on Molokai.  Maybe the next trip.)

*Please click HERE to visit Amy’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Wille’s website.

4. So Free (Olomana’s recording on the album Like a Seabird in the Wind)

You all know how much I love the music of the group Olomana.

And this song, written by Cindy Combs, is–well–perfect.  I mean it’s got that “chillax” 1970′s vibe that takes me out of the concrete jungles of NYC and transports me to a beach.  (And for some reason, I always picture myself in a VW van when I hear it.  Ha!)

I love how the melody twists and turns.  I love that it features a cello. (How cool is that?!)  And I love its message:  So Free.  Right on.

*Please click HERE to visit Olomana’s website.

5. Pili Kāpekepeke (Nā Palapalai’s recording on the album Makani ʻOluʻolu)

This song transports me–instantly–to my first trip to Hawaiʻi.  We stayed in a hotel in Waikiki on Oʻahu that piped Hawaiian music through its sound system.

One day, this song played over and over and over.  (The CD player must have gotten stuck!  I still smile just thinking about it.)  I made my way over to the front desk to tell them.  Not because I didn’t love the song.  But because I was afraid they’d end up burning a hole in the disc!  You can’t let that happen to good music!

When I hear them sing the opening phrase, I feel like I’m right back in that hotel–getting ready to set out on an adventure.  Exploring Oʻahu for the very first time.

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

What songs inspire YOU to take a deep breath?  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. Home In The Islands (Brothers Cazimero’s recording on the album Best of the Brothers Cazimero)

You guys know I’m a fan of the Brothers Cazimero. Their sound has become synonymous with contemporary Hawaiian music.

This particular song is one that my friend, Andy, plays whenever he picks up his guitar. And it makes everyone smile. Every time. The melody is haunting. The strum is instantly recognizable. It’s a great piece–guaranteed to be a hit.

The message is simple: The singers are homesick for their tropical island home. And even though many of us who love this song are not originally FROM Hawaiʻi, we still miss our “home” in the islands… I know I do.

2. Haleʻiwa Hula (Amy Hānaialiʻi’s recording on the album Hawaiian Tradition)

This is one of the very first songs that I heard Amy sing. And it made me an instant fan of her voice! So lovely!

And this song is a special one for her… it was written by her grandmother, Jennie Nāpua Hānaialiʻi Woodd. Amy gives it such a great “old-style ” feel featuring the female “falsetto” known as haʻi.

It’s a wonderfully catchy piece about Haleʻiwa. These “place songs” are so important to students of Hawaiian music and culture because they describe a place as it was when the song was written. A glimpse into the past. A snapshot. An invaluable resource.

AND… today is Amy’s Birthday! HAUʻOLI LĀ HĀNAU E AMY!!

3. Haole Hula (The Kahauanu Lake Trioʻs recording on the album Hapa-Haole Hulas)

I believe it was Uncle K. that stressed the importance of Hapa-Haole tunes. Many of those songs were written by Hawaiian composers. Many of the songs acted as a “bridge” between the Hawaiian audiences and the mainland audiences. I like to think of these English language songs as ambassadors of Hawaiian music. They help to familiarize a person with Hawaiian song structure. And, often times, they include a few Hawaiian words to introduce the listener to the lovely sound of the Hawaiian language.

This song, composed by the incredible R. Alex Anderson, describes the islands and their beauty to someone who, perhaps, has never been there. It’s a song that’s FULL of joy. It’s a staple in any crooner’s repertoire. It’s a pleasure to sing–and to listen to.

What have YOU been listening to this week? Drop me a line and let me know!

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