Listen to Jason:

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Posts Tagged ‘Jason Poole’

Crooner Break: Elizabeth Gilbert and Big Magic

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Aloha gang!

It’s time for another Crooner Break!  This time I’m checking in from the street after watching the always lovely and eloquent Elizabeth Gilbert at a taping of the Dr. Oz Show. Liz was there to talk about her book Big Magic as well as share some of her tools for living a creative life.

After receiving an advance copy of the book a few months ago, I’ve read it several times and highlighted the heck outta my copy. I keep it within arm’s reach while working at my desk. I’ve even downloaded the Kindle version so that I can take it with me everywhere I go.

It’s probably one of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read.

My favorite part about the book? It’s a mix of magic and pragmatism, both of which you need (in abundance!) while pursuing a creative life.  She writes about ideas and how she believes them to be something that seeks out the individual who will help bring them into being. But then she writes about “working like a farmer” at whatever creative task/project is consuming you at the moment and sticking with the work until it’s done. (As Pops says, “We work until it’s pau. That’s how.”)

AND… she writes about how she went from being a “scaredy cat” kid to the person she is today, one who has a healthy respect for and relationship with fear–without letting it rule her life.

(I know, right?  Each time I’ve read it, I’ve asked myself, “Do you know me, Liz Gilbert? Did you write this book for me?”)

Because I’m always working on Project Natalie and new songs, I know I’ll keep this book close to me for a long, long time.

Please check out the video above.  And please check out her amazing book by clicking HERE! (You won’t regret it!)

Right on.

With warm Aloha


**Please be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel:


Strummin’ in the City (#33)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

david letterman, late show, kamaka, ukulele, jason poole

Kamaka 6-string tenor (Lili'u) 'ukulele in front of the Late Show with David Letterman marquis (NYC September 2011)

A lot of folks find it hard to believe that I carry my ‘ukulele with me all the time.

But you never know when you might feel like strumming!

And as Pops is always quick to advise: E ho’omākaukau. Be prepared.

Ah… the life of an urban strummer!

(Do you like the ʻukulele in the photo? Check out for some of the best ʻukuleles on the planet!)


Strummin’ in the City (#32)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

autumn, farmer's market, kamaka, ukulele, jason poole

Kamaka standard (soprano) 'ukulele at a farmer's market. (Lancaster, PA 9.6.11)

A lot of folks find it hard to believe that I carry my ‘ukulele with me all the time.

But you never know when you might feel like strumming!

And as Pops is always quick to advise: E ho’omākaukau. Be prepared.

Ah… the life of an urban strummer!

(Do you like the ʻukulele in the photo? Check out for some of the best ʻukuleles on the planet!)


Jason Poole Halawa Valley Molokai

Walking in the ʻauwai (Hālawa Valley, Molokai November 2010)

Hui!  Aloha mai!  I have some exciting news to share: This weekend I booked a trip to head back to Molokai in June!

I’m so excited–it makes my stomach jump around just thinking about it!

One of the best things about studying in Hawaii is–well–exactly that:  you study IN HAWAIʻI!

But my time in the islands is a little different than what most folks probably picture as time spent in Hawaiʻi.

For example: Recently I was approached by a woman who said to me, “It must be nice to study in Hawaii.”  But the way she said the word study had an almost “snarky” feel to it.  Sarcastic.  As though it was difficult to imagine anyone actually–gasp!–STUDYING in Hawaʻii.

I know she has been to the islands–but her time in Hawaiʻi was limited to the grounds of deluxe resort where she was staying.  I can understand that she might have a difficult time seeing beyond the filter of her experience.

That’s simply not MY experience.

I’m heading back to study.  To work.  To try to learn as much as I can while I’m there–and not just to learn it for memorization or presentations.  But to learn as much as I can in my body–in my gut. To assimilate those things into my life.  To help ensure that the stories, the songs and the traditions continue.

And I have the great honor of being a part of my hānai (adopted) family there.  Treated as a member of the ʻohana.

Being there allows me to plug in–DIRECTLY!–to the source.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

The preparation to head back to Molokai begins NOW.  (More on that in upcoming posts.)

Let the fun begin!


Hawaii Five-0 & My Grandmother

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sounds like a wild combination, right?

But Hawaii Five-0 and my grandmother go together beautifully. At least in my mind.

You see…

The very first time I remember seeing the show, it was at my grandparents’ house when I was a kid.

I can remember hearing the awesome theme song and being hooked instantly–watching reruns on their television. The only color I remember is BLUE. (Was it because of the colors or Hawaiʻi or the color mix on their television set?)

I don’t remember understanding the plot. In truth, I don’t really remember much about it.


When the classic show was released on DVD, I started at the very beginning.

Starting with Season 1 I was hooked immediately–although THIS time I was hooked on the show and not just the theme song and the color blue. (Come to think of it, the show really DOES feature the color blue a lot. Especially Season 1. Check it out!)Yes, the acting is dated. Yes, the plots are kind of silly. But it’s kitschy and fun (and a fantastic visual time capsule of Oʻahu during those years!) and it makes for a great evening of classic television viewing! Throw in a pizza and some friends and you’ve got the makings of party.


In my mind, the television show and my grandmother are inextricably linked.

The other day, I was talking with my grandmother on the phone. And she wanted to know what I thought of this new version of the show.

SHOCKING UPDATE: I haven’t seen it yet!

I know… I’m embarrassed. It’s terrible for a Hawaiʻi-phile like me to not have seen a new network show about it. Especially because I loved the original series–at least when I watched it again on DVD.

I think my grandmother was both shocked and horrified that I hadn’t seen it. She thought I would have not only VIEWED it, but also ANALYZED it.

But it gave us an opportunity to do some talking.

And you know, my grandmother is one smart lady.

Her thoughts: even if the show is not a commercial success, it will be a good thing. It will bring Hawaiʻi to the forefront of pop culture, again. Just like the original television series did. It will make people AWARE of it–and that has the potential of being a great thing. Because when people are aware of something, it’s harder to ignore it.

I mentioned that I had my doubts the show could really convey what Hawaiʻi is all about–that it was still a cop show that was FILMED in Hawaiʻi, but not really about Hawaiʻi or her people.

My grandmother thinks that it’s still GOOD for the islands. It will raise awareness.

So smart, right? Go, Grandma! (I love having a hip tūtū!)


I’ve got a few episodes recorded on my DVR and ready to go. I heard they even mentioned Molokai in a recent episode! How cool is that?!

I’m curious to hear what YOU all think about this new show. Do you like it? Do you hate it? What kind of effect do you think it will have on the islands–positive or negative?

**Fun Crooner Factoid: I have had the Hawaii Five-0 theme song as my ringtone on my phone for years. I totally LOVE it. Iconic.


The Crooner’s Weekly “TOP 3″ (10.13.10)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

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. Kīpū Kai (Bill Kaiwa’s recording on the album NāMele Paniolo: Songs of Hawaiian Cowboys)

I love this song. And I think I only have 2 recordings of it in my collection. This is one of my all-time favorites because it’s done by a man very familiar with the Kīpū Kai ranch, Mr. Bill Kaiwa.

There’s something that’s so very genuine in his delivery… simple with just an ʻukulele to accompany him. I can’t stop listening to it.

The lyrics, written by Mary Kawena Pukui, describe the beauty of the ranch, the proud peacocks that strut around the property (a veiled reference to the cowboys themselves, perhaps?) and the warm hospitality of Mr. John (Jack) Waterhouse, the owner of the ranch. And the melody, composed by Maddy Lam, is one of those that will stick with you long after the song has ended.

The Hawaiian mele (song) class has been learning it here in NYC. I’ve had lots of opportunities to strum it and sing it lately. And every time we sing it, I fall in love with the song more and more.

2. Niʻihau (Nā Palapalai’s recording on the album Nanea)

This song, as with all of Nā Palapalai’s songs, makes me feel like I’ve been instantly transported to the islands. (And by islands, I mean the Hawaiian islands, of course!) Done in their signature style with soaring falsetto and lush harmonies, the song surrounds me and makes me feel warm–even in the autumnal chill that we’re having here in NYC. I love ‘em. Plain and simple.

This piece, written by Peter Kai Davis and John Kameaaloha Almeida, describes the beauty of the island of Niʻihau. Because Niʻihau is essentially a private island, getting to visit it is a rare treat, indeed. Something I hope to be able to do someday. (sigh)

I love this song. I know you will, too.

3. (For You) I’d Chase A Rainbow (Kalapana’s recording on the album Kalapana II)

Ok… those of you who have been reading this blog know I have a soft spot in my heart for the sounds of the ’70s. I can’t get enough of ‘em! And THIS SONG (which opens with the sounds of saxophone!) is so awesome! It’s moody with great chord changes and brilliant moments of both bright and dark. Hard to understand what I’m talking about? Listen to the song! It’ll make sense! I promise!

I love the group Kalapana. Their music will always be in constant rotation in my world… Their sounds make me want to ride around in a van. What?! Ha!

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

**Crooner Update: I just re-checked my iTunes and I have 3 different recordings of Kīpū Kai. And all 3 of ‘em spell the title a little differently: Kīpū Kai, Kipu Kai and Kipukai. Gotta love it!

1 Comment