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Posts Tagged ‘Kahauanu Lake Trio’

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. Kaʻu Nui ( The Kahauanu Lake Trio’s recording on the album At the Halekulani Hotel)

Oh!  That’s the  song!

This song is familiar to many people.  I’d certainly heard it before, but I wasn’t aware of the title.  (Too often, that’s the case:  I listened to so much Hawaiian music before I started to understand the language.  Unfortunately, that meant I was familiar with a song’s melody, but had no way to look it up!  Ah–another benefit to knowing even a little bit of Hawaiian!)

The song, written by Mary Kawena Pukui and Maddy Lam, celebrates the district of Kau on the island of Hawaii.  It describes the amazing land and it’s beauty.  I love songs that teach me about an area!  The best way to learn!

And the Kahauanu Lake Trio’s rendition has got a “swing” to it that will get into your bones!

(A special “shout out” to the students at Molokai High School who sang this Nā Mele O Maui song competition earlier this year, which honored the music of Uncle Kahauanu Lake.  Right on, gang!  You all sounded FANTASTIC!)

*Please click HERE to read Uncle K’s page on the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame’s website.

2. Rain Liʻiliʻi (Mark Yamanaka’s recording on the album Lei Pua Kenikeni)

Listening to my iPod on “shuffle mode” this week, this song caught me off guard. When it first started,  I thought it was Eddie Kamae and the Sons of Hawaiʻi.  (That ʻono steel guitar!  Sweet!)  And then I heard Mark Yamanaka’s distinctive voice.  What a treat to be surprised!

Wanna know why it might have that “old-school” kanikapila-style sound?  Well, it was written by one of my favorite composers, the one and only Rev. Dennis Kamakahi!  And Uncle Dennis wrote and recorded many of his compositions while he was a part of the Sons of Hawaiʻi.  Turns out, it’s no coincidence, at all!

I love the song.  And I love Mark’s wonderful rendition.  Right on!

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

3. Aleamai (Kuʻuipo Kumukahi’s recording on the album Nā Hiwa Kupuna O Kuʻu One Hānau)

I can’t get enough of  Kuʻuipo Kumukahi’s voice.  Gentle yet powerful.  When she hits those low notes, wow… it resonates deep in my body.  My naʻau–my gut.  I can feel it!

A song to celebrate where her family home is, not too far from Hilo on Hawaiʻi Island.  It’s got that distinctive hula-feel.  I wonder if it’s been danced as a hula!  If I close my eyes, I can see one, for sure.

Her music inspires me to try to write my own song.  And her voice inspires me to sing.  Mahalo for that!

*Please click HERE to visit Kuʻuipos’s website.

4. Hawaiian Eyes (Jon Osorio & Randy Borden’s recording on the album Hawaiian Eyes)

You guys know how much I love a good ’70′s vibe.  And this song–complete with some killer jazz flute!–rocks me to my core!

This is an instant “feel good” song for me.  I can’t help it–I start swaying and my neck starts swinging.  Awesome!

And the “hand claps” section that comes in on the chorus = over the top awesomeness!

5. Kāʻanapali Sunset (solo ʻukulele version) (Herb Ohta Jr’s recording on the album ʻUkulele Dream)

Herb Ohta, Jr. playing a solo ʻukulele with his amazingly skilled hands.

Perfection.

For realz.  Check it out.

(For a simple strummer like me, I can’t even imagine ever being able to play like this… Wow!)

*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″ (2.8.12)

Wednesday, February 8, 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. Wahine Uʻi (Andy Cummings & His Hawaiian Serenader’s recording on the album The Wandering Troubadours)

I needed a good dose of vintage Hawaiian music this week and I looked to one of my favorites, Mr. Andy Cummings.  His style is so classy!  That falsetto of his–wow!  And the sultry sound of the lap steel guitar… so good!

The song, attributed to John K. Almeida, is a favorite, too.  The title says it all, Beautiful Woman.  (Or perhaps the song praises several beautiful women?!)

A classic and a favorite.

*Please click HERE to read Square One’s bio page of Andy Cummings.

2. Hanohano Hawaiʻi (The Sons of Hawaiʻi’s recording on the album The Folk Music of Hawaiʻi)

A classic, traditional Hawaiian song done in a classic and traditional Hawaiian way!  And who better to do that than Eddie Kamae and the Sons of Hawaiʻi?

The song sings of four of the main/major Hawaiian islands (Hawaiʻi, Maui, Oʻahu and Kauaʻi) and tells of the flower associated with that island.

I needed this song this week.  Something simple that I could strum and sing along with.

Right on.

*Please click HERE to read a tribute page about the Sons of Hawaiʻi.

3. Ā ʻOia (The Kahauanu Lake Trio’s recording on the album He Aloha Nō ʻO Honolulu)

I love this song, don’t you?

Attributed to John K. Almeida, this song’s title proclaims, “That’s it!”  The uptempo classic bounces along and compels the listener to smile.  The singer tells his/her intended that they will win them over.  (Or that they already have won them over!)

And when it’s done by Uncle K. and the Trio, you know it’s being done by the best.  Triple love their recording of it!

I love to see this hula, too!  I’ve seen many hula groups use pūʻili, split bamboo, when they dance this song.  Fantastic!

*Please click HERE to read a classic article about Uncle K. from the Starbulletin archives.

4. Haleʻiwa Hula (Aunty Genoa Keawe’s recording on the album Hulas of Hawaiʻi)

If I’m ever feeling down or depressed (or suffering from “winter blues”) I know that Aunty Genoa’s voice will pick me right up and help me find my smile.

Her unmistakable haʻi (female version of Hawaiian falsetto sings) is the best there is.  And I’m convinced you can hear the smile in her voice when she sings!

This song, written by Amy Hānaialiʻi Gilliom’s grandmother, Jennie Wood, is a hula classic.  And it’s a song every Hawaiian musician should know!

LOVE IT!

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

5.  ’Neath One Big Tin Roof (Aunty Nona Beamer & Keola Beamer’s recording on the album The Golden Lehua Tree)

This story and song brings tears to my eyes when I hear it.  I love it, for sure.  And it brings such wonderful memories to mind.

I first heard this song at Aloha Music Camp when I attended it in 2007 when it was on the island of Molokai.  Aunty Nona, Keola, Moanalani and Kaliko all presented it one evening after the classes and workshops had finished for the day.  Seeing them all together, singing and laughing and telling this charming story of a giant family–comprised of all sorts of creatures!–is an image I’ll hold in my heart forever.

Aunty Nona has left an amazing legacy.  And it’s inspiring to watch her family carry on her work.  And to see all of the seeds that she planted in folks over the years taking root and flourishing.

I’m so thankful for this recording.

**A giant “ALOHA!” to everyone at Aloha Music Camp this week.  I’m there strumming and singing with you in spirit.**

*Please click HERE to visit Aloha Music Camp’s official website.

*Please click HERE to visit Keola’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Kaliko Beamer-Trapp’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit the Mohala Hou Foundation’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″ (11.16.11)

Wednesday, November 16, 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. Kalalea (Ed Kenney’s recording on the album MY HAWAII)

Another legendary Hawaiian crooner, that I listen to all the time (and study his every vocal move!) is Ed Kenney.  A giant MAHALO to a very kind and generous Hawaiian woman at a picnic in NYC a few years ago.  She said I needed to track down some of his recordings and listen to them.  No need to tell me twice!  I tracked down a few of his albums and quickly understood why she’d recommended him to me.  His voice is smooth and graceful and oh, so elegant.  A treat for the ears!

This song celebrates the island of Kauaʻi–and the cliffs that overlook Anahola.

I first heard this song at a “backyard jam session” kanikapila.  It was delicious and oozed island flavor.  And then I heard Ed Kenney’s version which is totally different.  It has the same melody, but none of the roughness.  It’s smooth.  Polished.  Orchestrated.  It totally celebrates the era it was recorded in–the late 1950s.

Both versions are great.  This week, I swooned as he crooned.  Right on.

2. Lei Lokelani (The Kahauanu Lake Trio’s recording on the album At the Kaimana Beach Hotel)

I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of listening to the amazing recordings of the Kahauanu Lake Trio.  I mean, come on!  Does it really get much better than that?

This song, attributed to Charles E. King, describes a lei made of the lovely lokelani or Maui rose.  It’s not difficult to infer that perhaps the kaona–or “hidden meaning”–might be the comparison of the flower to a beloved.

 

Even though the song is about the Maui rose, this recording takes me to Waikīkī instantly, sitting oceanside and listening to Hawaiian music while watching the sunset.  Ah!

*Please click HERE to read a great article written about Uncle K. from 2003.

3. Honolulu Blue and Green (Melveen Leed’s recording on the album Melveen’s Hawaiian Country Hits)

Aunty Melveen’s voice rocks!  I love its texture–kind of rough and playful and smoky and sultry–all at the same time.  I’ve tried to describe it to friends and the closest comparison I can come up with is that it’s similar to the sound of Dusty Springfield.  But Aunty Melveen’s voice is totally unique.  Totally beautiful.  Totally hers.

This song, sung entirely in English (except for the Hawaiian place names) is a great tune that Aunty Melveen brings to life so beautifully.  I’ve heard stories about how she went to Nashville–and I imagine her singing this song while she was there and homesick for her beloved islands.  Wondering why she’d ever left and dreaming about her homecoming.

It’s got a great 1960s feel is both country and Hawaiian at the same time.  (I always say that Hawaiian music and country music are close cousins!)

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

4. Keawaiki (Keola & Kapono Beamer’s recording on the album Hawaii’s Keola & Kapono Beamer)

From the opening notes of the guitar, you can tell this is a Beamer family recording–their distinctive style comes through loud and clear.

And what’s most exciting about this recording is that it takes an old classic song like Keawaiki and puts a somewhat contemporary spin on it–with modern (at least for the time!) instrumentation and phrasing.  The album was originally release in 1975,  during a time when Hawaiʻi was undergoing a huge renaissance and re-claiming a sense of cultural identity and pride.  How exciting to see a duo of young brothers recording a classic song and releasing it for broad/wide audience.

When I pulled this CD from my collection and looked at the cover, my heart “squeezed” a little bit.  When I look at the faces of Keola and Kapono, I can see the face of their mother, Aunty Nona Beamer.  I miss her.  But seeing her in her sons’ faces makes me smile, too.  Like she’s not really gone.  Her line continues… not only in her family, but in those that she taught and in those that she touched.

*Please click HERE to visit Keola’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Kapono’s website.

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

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

And I love the music of Uncle Dennis.  (That’s also no secret!  Ha!)

This week, I wanted to close my eyes while I listened to this song.  We used to do that in music classes when I was in elementary school.  It allowed for deep listening.  And sometimes, it allowed us to “see pictures” in our minds–creating scenes that followed the sounds we were hearing.

When I closed my eyes to listen to this song, the image that came to mind was a group of people having a conversation.  A dialogue.  With activity happening in the background.  Pretty interesting that the song is called ʻOhana Slack Key–ʻohana being the Hawaiian word for family.

Pops tells stories about growing up in Hālawa Valley on Molokai.  When the family was done eating, often times there would be a kanikapila, a music session.  I imagine conversations happening, music playing and activity like cleaning up after the meal–all happening at the same time.  Peaceful yet active.  Just like this song.  Different voices and different energies moving together.  Weaving together.

Awesome.

*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!

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The Crooner’s Weekly “TOP 5″ (9.28.11)

Wednesday, September 28, 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. Home Kapaka (Kahauanu Lake Trio’s recording on the album At The Halekulani Hotel)

I love this song.  And that’s a good thing, too.  I’ve played it about 100 times this week!

Some of our NYC-based hula dancers asked if I’d learn it so they could have live music while they rehearsed.  (And you know how much I LOVE to play for the dancers!)  Unfortunately, I wasn’t as familiar with the song–or at least the lyrics of the song–as I’d hoped.  And that was a great excuse to really immerse myself in studying the song.

I looked through my CD collection and found several different versions.  Each one of ‘em distinct.  Each one of ‘em perfect in their own right.

But this week, while I’ve been strumming and singing, I’ve been hearing Kahauanu Lake Trio’s version in my head.  It’s very polished.  Very refined.  Very representative of their sound–and the sound of the Halekulani Hotel in Waikīkī.  Dreamy…

2. Home in the Islands (The Brothers Cazimero’s recording on the album The Best of the Brothers Cazimero )

Wanna feel like you’re back in the islands?  Looking for a song to create a mood?  Look no further.  This is it.

From the opening sounds of the guitar and the first taste of the Brothers Cazimero’s tight harmonies, I’m back on Oʻahu–tooling around in a car with the windows down.  It takes me there instantly.

Robert Cazimero sang the song at the piano–as a solo– when he was here in NYC this past weekend. When he sang it, I got a little choked up.  That familiar aching in my chest because I want to be in the islands.  Auē… (Please click HERE to read more about that performance.)

Thankfully, this recording takes me there–and that means I can go to Hawaiʻi in my mind just by pushing PLAY.

*Please click HERE to visit the Brothers Cazimero website.

3. Waiomina (The Hoʻopiʻi Brothers’ recording on the album Nā Mele Hoʻoheno)

I love leo kiʻekiʻe, Hawaiian falsetto singing.  And who does it better than the legendary Hoʻopiʻi Brothers?!

I was riding the subway downtown this week and my music was playing in “shuffle” mode. This song came on and it brought an instant smile to my face–which is really saying something since it was a packed subway car during rush hour!

The song has that powerful paniolo (cowboy) feeling built into it.  A wonderful and wild strum on the guitar and ʻukulele.  And fantastic harmonies in their distinctive soaring vocals.

Come on.  It’s so ʻono!

4. Hana Calls (Ernie Cruz Jr.’s recording on the album Portraits)

This song has been a favorite for a long time.

I first heard it on a Kaʻau Crater Boys album, Tropical Hawaiian Day.  The song was fast and fun.  And it featured their distinctive brand of harmonies and ʻukulele flair.

I was thrilled to hear it again on Ernie Cruz Jr.s solo album.  A blast from the past.  A little slower than the earlier version, but still a song that moves along like a sailboat that’s caught a good gust of wind.

(Interesting to note that the Kaʻau Crater Boys recording is in the key of G while Ernie Cruz Jr.’s solo recording is a fourth higher–in the key of C.  When I’ve had the pleasure of singing it with slack key guitar players, I like to sing it in G–it’s an easy/friendly key for them.  But when I’m jamming the song by myself, I like to do it in C.)

*Please click HERE to visit Ernie Cruz, Jr.’s myspace page

5. Liloa’s Mele (Sonny Chillingwoth’s recording on the album Endlessly)

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

And Uncle Sonnyʻs masterful touch makes everyone of his recordings a delight to listen to.

I needed to listen to something soothing the other night. (Insomnia and I have become friends, again.)  I started looking through my collection of slack key albums and put together a playlist of songs that would soothe my stressed nerves.  It was heavenly.

And this song was a favorite, for sure.

But I have to admit that I had a hard time just closing my eyes and listening to it–or I should say I had a hard time listening to it mindlessly.  As I listened, I had to sit up.  I had to imagine what his fingers must have looked like while he played this song on the guitar.  A real master.

The album’s liner notes tell a nice story about how the song was written for one of Uncle Sonny’s grandchildren.  What a legacy he’s left for them!

*Please click HERE to visit Dancing Cat Records’ Sonny Chillingworth page.

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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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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