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Posts Tagged ‘Hula Lives’

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!

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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.  Ke ʻAla Kaʻu i Honi (Linda Dela Cruz’s recording on the album Hawaiʻi’s Canary)

I have fallen in love–again!–with the voice of Linda Dela Cruz this week.  Do you ever do that?  Develop a crush on a singer or band and then play their music non-stop for days?

I love her simple and delicate presentation of this simple and delicate song written by Keʻala Carter and Tom Carter, Jr.  It’s written in a traditional Hawaiian way–4 verses without a chorus or a bridge.  To the western mind, this may sound like the song would be monotonous.  But I challenge the western listener to find the song monotonous.  It’s lovely–pure and simple.

In the album’s liner notes, it tells the story of how Dela Cruz only heard the song right before she recorded it.  That’s amazing–it sounds as though it had been a part of her repertoire for years!

Listening to her sweet voice makes this crooner swoon.

(**Crooner Note: If you’d like to learn more about this wonderful singer, please click HERE to read her obituary from 2007.  She was quite an amazing woman!)

2.  Pua ʻIliahi (Kimo Alama Keaulana and Lei Hulu’s recording on the album Hula Lives!)

This song surprised me this week while I was listening to my iPod in “shuffle mode.”  Surprised me and made me laugh out loud!  I love the fact that this song has so many lyrics compressed into each line!  It’s a challenge for any singer to get ‘em all in!

The song is attributed to Hawaii’s falsetto poet, Bill Aliʻiloa Lincoln, but the liner notes tell a slightly different story.  Apparently, Uncle Bill revised an older song (from the 1800s) to make this version that we know today.  And he gave them an ADDITIONAL verse that’s not often included!  A rare treasure, indeed!

(Note:  It absolutely pays to have MULTIPLE recordings of songs–and even better if you can get albums with liner notes.  You never know what you’ll discover!)

The way they play this uptempo song has classic “happy hula” feel to it–and that alone might make you smile.  However, when you hear all of the words compressed into a single line, I’m pretty sure you’ll be smiling and/or laughing.  It’s great! To sing it, you would need to have a real command of the language!

I need to learn this version–a fun way to study!

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

This is one of my favorite songs that Robi sings… It’s haunting.

The song, written by Wade “Aukai” Oshio and Kahikāhealani, describe the island of Kauaʻi’s natural beauty.  Is there a deeper meaning?  A hidden meaning?  Perhaps.  Only the composers would know that.  However, the beauty of the lyrics–with verses written in Hawaiian and an English chorus–will stay with you long after the song has ended.

Sistah Robi’s voice, with its gentle “raspy” quality in places, is one of my favorites.  I can’t get enough…

(**Crooner Note: I want to send a special “Aloha!” to my friends on Kauaʻi.  Big Aloha to you from your pal in the Big Apple!)

4.  Lei Nani (Cody Pueo Pata’s recording on the album He Aloha…”)

I love Cody Pueo Pata’s voice, don’t you?  His flawless falsetto!  Wow!  I could listen all day.

And this classic song is one of those wonderful mystery songs:  Who wrote it?  I’ve seen it attributed to Charles Namahoe and Charles E. King.  I’ve seen that the copyright belongs to Johnny Noble.  So what’s the REAL story?  I’m not sure!  Does it really matter?  Yes… but… As a listener, I know I love it.  So I’m thankful to ALL parties who might have contributed to its composition.  As a student of Hawaiian music, I love the mystery of it all.  (I’ve also heard that folks sometimes refer to it as Lei Lani, too.  The mystery deepens…)

It’s a classic love song for a reason–it speaks to the soul.  (And it’s also one of my favorite songs to watch when danced as a hula.)

5.  Wai Ulu (Keola Beamer’s recording on the album Soliloquy: Ka Leo O Loko)

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

And I love the gentle–and instantly recognizable!–stylings of the contemporary master, Keola Beamer.  The way he makes the notes dance.  The harmonies… The textures… Ah!

This is a classic song, recorded by many.  But Keola’s version is the favorite this week.  When I hear it, I feel like I have to close my eyes.  (Note to Self:  Do NOT listen to this song while driving a car!)

In NYC, we are surrounded by loud noises and throngs of people.  This is one of my favorite albums to listen to when I need an escape.  Like a gentle salve for my frazzled nerves.

(**Crooner Note:  It’s also one of my favorite albums to give to new parents.  I’ve been told that rocking a newborn to sleep in the middle of the night is a tough thing to do.  Especially if you’re forced to listen to albums of nursery rhymes set to music.  This album soothes babies AND parents!  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!

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