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Posts Tagged ‘Kapono Beamer’

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.


*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 for being an awesome Hawaiian music resource. You all make the world a better place!


Hawaiian Music at the Gym? (Part 2)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Last month I posted about searching for the ULTIMATE PLAYLIST to listen to while I run on the treadmill at the gym.

I can’t stand the “cardio-pumping” mixes that have been produced specifically for the treadmill. They just weren’t what I was looking for.


I’ve been listening to tons of Hawaiian music while running and I’ve been LOVING it!

At first, I tried making my own mixes of tunes. And they were ok–but they weren’t great. It was like I was still stuck on trying to hit the ULTIMATE mix that would keep me going. What was the problem?

Finally, I asked myself “What are you looking for?”

I want to listen to a mix that might play on a Hawaiian radio station.

The songs don’t all have to be my favorites. They don’t even have to all be familiar! (Sometimes it’s even BETTER if I don’t know the song–it helps me learn it!)

So I built a playlist on iTunes using the “Genius” feature. I don’t know ANYTHING about computers or technology. But this was cool. I picked Gabby Pahinui’s song MOONLIGHT LADY and the computer picked 99 other songs from my collection that went with it.

The Verdict?

I listened to the mix today while I ran. I set the timer on the treadmill for the maximum amount of time (6o minutes at this gym) and pressed PLAY on the iPod.

One hour later, I was finished with a killer workout. And I was smiling from ear to ear. The mix was fantastic! It was like being able to stream Hawaiian 105 KINE on my iPod! (Maybe someday we’ll be able to do that. Until then, this is a good substitute!)

So I’m publishing it here for you with links to the albums!!

Here are the 16 songs that played over the course of the hour and the cool-down:

1. Moonlight Lady (Gabby Pahinui’s recording on the album, The Panini Collection)

2 Hanakeoki (Eddie Kamae & the Sons of Hawaiʻi’s recording on the album, Eddie Kamae: Sons of Hawaiʻi)

3. Sun Lite, Moon Lite (Country Comfort’s recording on the album, We Are The Children)

4. Kuʻu Home O Kahaluʻu (Olomana’s recording on the album, Like A Seabird in the Wind)

5. Kāwika (The Sunday Manoa’s recording on the album, Guava Jam)

6. Waika (The Brothers Cazimero’s recording on the album, The Best of the Brothers Cazimero)

7. Wai Paheʻe (Eddie Kamae & the Sons of Hawaiʻi’s recording on the album, Eddie Kamae: Sons of Hawaiʻi)

8. All Hawaiʻi Stand Together (Dennis Pavao’s recording on the album, All Hawaiʻi Stand Together)

9. Pua Maeʻole (Raiatea Helm’s recording ont he album, Sweet and Lovely)

10. Kona Daze (Kalapana’s recording on the album, Best of Kalapana Vol. 2 )

11. Lei Nani (Gabby Pahinui’s recording ont he album, The Panini Collection)

12. Seabreeze (Keola and Kapono Beamer’s recording on the album, Honolulu City Lights)

13. Hale Aliʻi O Waimaka (Amy Hanaialiʻi Gilliom & Willie K.’s recording on the album, Hawaiian Tradition)

14. Good Morning (Willie K.’s recording on the album, The Uncle In Me)

15. Kananaka (ʻAleʻa’s recording on the album, Take Me Home)

16. Jealous Guy (The Pahinui Brothers’ recording on the album, The Panini Collection)

So I think I’ll have some fun with this “Genius” playlist for a while. I’ve got 83 more songs to go before it repeats! Cool!

What do YOU listen to when you exercise?