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Posts Tagged ‘Herb Ohta Jr.’

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″ (9.7.11)

Wednesday, September 7, 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.  Nohea (Kealoha Kalama’s recording on the album Hawaiian Classics)

A hula classic!  And sung by a woman who is not only a kumu hula (master hula teacher) but also a recipient of the Hawaiian Academy of Recording Arts Lifetime Achievement Award!

I love the song.  And I love the “old-school” sound that Aunty Kealoha brings.  A strong sense of legato line allows for the hula dancer to dance smoothly and evenly–even if the tempo is quick.

According to this album’s liner notes, this recording was part of a 1979 release, Pohai Kealoha.  Sadly, I think that album is now out of print.  But I’m grateful to have a recording of this fantastic track!

2.  The Water Is Wide (Moe Keale’s recording on the album Imagine)

Uncle Moe Keale’s voice knocks my socks off.

While this song doesn’t have Hawaiian origins (different sources list it as an English or Scottish song) Uncle Moe makes it sound like a Hawaiian song.

I’ve heard so many other wonderful recordings of this classic, but Uncle Moe’s is the version that made me stop and listen.  And I’m not ashamed to admit it: it brought a tear to my eye…

A simple arrangement, featuring the sound of an ʻukulele, allows for the voice to really convey the meaning of the lyrics.  Stunning.

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

Ah!  What a voice!  And what a song!

I can’t get enough of Mark Yamanka’s sweet falsetto.  It’s AWESOME!  It makes me smile from ear to ear.  (And small-kine jealous, too!  Nah… not really…)

This song, attributed to John Kameaaloha Almeida, celebrates the beauty of the magnificent pua kenikeni, a favorite flower of many of my friends.

If you want to listen to sweet falsetto, look no further.  This is it!

4.  White Sandy Beach (Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s recording on the album Facing Future)

I was in a store the day and this song started playing over the sound system.  Yes… I’ve heard it a million times.  Yes, it’s a contemporary classic.  And yes… it still made me cry.

I love the song.  I love its gentle and simple lyrics.  I love how the ʻukulele picks a delicate a solo line.

And, OF COURSE, I love the voice of the one and only Bruddah IZ.

This song–no matter where or when I hear it–makes me stop to listen.  Mahalo e IZ for sharing this recording with all of us.  (We miss you!)

5.  Sophisticated Hula (Herb Ohta, Jr.’s recording on the album ʻUkulele Dream)

You all know how much I love the ʻukulele, right?  It’s no secret.  I’m just a simple strummer.

But when I listen to someone like Herb Ohta, Jr. play the ʻukulele as a lead instrument, it makes my heart smile.  I love this hapa haole tune and I love the arrangement he plays–with the ʻukulele “singing” the lead voice.

Listening to him makes me want to learn how to pick instead of just strum.  He’s fantastic!!

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

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!

2 Comments