Listen to Jason:

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

Get Adobe Flash player

Posts Tagged ‘Kuana Torres Kahele’

Aloha, gang!

Need some help when it comes to getting motivated?  Me, too.

Here is a playlist (courtesy of my computer) to help keep you musically inspired while you work out, make your way around town, commute to work or just surround yourself in mele Aloha.

Nanina – Kuana Torres Kahele
Analani E – Na Palapalai
Lovely Sunrise Haleakala – Napua Greig
He Mele No Kauai Kaupapa – Weldon Kekauoha
Haleuia – Kuana Torres
Ohai Alii Kaluhea – Holunape
Hilo Hula – Uluwehi Guerrero
Halamua Kihi Loa – Kuana Torres Kahele
Ka Ua Kilihune – Hoku Zuttermeister
He Aloha Moku O Keawe – Na Palapalai
Papalina Lahilahi – Genoa Keawe
Hanalei Moon – Dennis Pavao
E Pili Mai – Kealii Reichel
Nani Kauai – Amy Hanaialii Gilliom
My Sweet Pikake Lei – Brothers Cazimero
Lehua Beauty – Kuana Torres Kahele
Kuu Home Alo Kele – Napua Greig
Kuu Hoaaloha – Weldon Kekauoha
He Aloha No O Honolulu – Na Palapalai
Nani Na Pali Hauliuli O Na Koolau – Hoku Zuttermeister

(Notes: The list was chosen by the “Genius” feature in iTunes.  I’ve transcribed the song titles/artists as they appear in iTunes so that they are easier to look up and reference when purchasing the tunes on the web.  I’ve purposely not used diacritical marks.  This is what I’ll be listening to while I’m on the treadmill.  Bring it on!)

Happy Aloha Monday.

Right on.


Hawaiian Christmas Music? Right on!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Accidental Hawaiian Crooner, Molokai, Halawa Valley, Anakala Pilipo, Hawaii, Jason Poole, Christmas Music, Christmas Music Playlist, Hawaiian Christmas music, kealii reichel, amy hanaialii, john keawe, keahiwai, slack key, eddie kamae, sons of hawaii, hookena, willie k.,

Aloha Kalikimaka!

Hui!  Aloha mai!

Christmas is right around the corner.  And that means that everywhere I go, I hear Christmas music Piped in over the loudspeakers at stores, at holiday parties, on television and the radio, my world is filled with the sounds of the season.

Here in NYC, we hear a lot of the “traditional” recordings.  The standards, recorded by the greats like Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Julie Andrews, Nat King Cole, Burl Ives, Brenda Lee et al. (You know the ones I’m talking about, right?)

And please don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE those songs.

But as a Hawaiian Crooner, I need some holiday tunes with an Aloha-infused, Hawaiian vibe to help ring in the holiday spirit.

And I’m guessing YOU do, too.

So this year, I thought I would share a list of some of my ALL-TIME FAVORITE HAWAIIAN CHRISTMAS ALBUMS.  Culled from my personal Hawaiian Christmas music collection–which is far from complete–these albums are in constant rotation in our home during the holiday season.  Each of ‘em are full of great tracks that will make you smile.

(Note: Click on the title for a link to–a fantastic online Hawaiian music source.)

The Crooner’s Hawaiian Christmas Music Picks:

A Hawaiian Christmas (Amy Hānaialiʻi)

Maluhia (Kealiʻi Reichel)

Hilo for the Holidays (Kuana Torres Kahele)

Christmas ʻUkulele Style (Daniel Ho)

Christmas Time (Eddie Kamae & The Sons of Hawaiʻi)

Huliau (Hoʻokena)

Santa’s Gone Hawaiian! (Various Artists)

Christmas Day in Hawaiʻi Nei (Mākaha Sons)

Kī hōʻalu Christmas: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar (Various Artists)

Willie Kalikimaka (Willie K.)

Christmas Is… (John Keawe)

Merry Christmas (Keahiwai)

What are some of YOUR FAVORITE Hawaiian Christmas albums?  Drop me a line and let me know! I’d love to hear from you!



Aloha, gang!

Still hard at work on Project Natalie.  But I had to take a break and share a little holiday cheer with you.

As you may remember, we have a tradition in our little home: I purchase a new Hawaiian holiday music CD at the start of every Christmas season.

Not necessarily a new CD, but one that’s new to my ever-expanding collection of awesome Hawaiian music. This year, I didn’t labor over the decision of which CD to buy.

One of my favorite Hawaiian musicians, Kuana Torres Kahele (part of the group Nā Palapalai) had released his first Christmas album, HILO FOR THE HOLIDAYS.  

kuana torres kahele, hilo for the holidays, jason poole, accidental hawaiian crooner, hawaiian music, molokai, halawa valley,

Here’s a photo I took of the album’s cover. Note: My camera doesn’t really do it justice.

One word to describe it: AWESOME

One facial gesture to describe it: BEAMING SMILE 

Yup!  I can recommend it without any hesitation.

I’m… well… I’m kind of addicted to it.  In fact, it’s playing right now while I type this post.

It’s too hard to say which track is my favorite. Why?  Well, it changes.  Each listening brings something I hadn’t heard before… And a new favorite emerges.

Today, the favorite is his recording of the Christmas classic, Silver Bells.  Growing up along the East Coast of the continental United States, we had really “traditional” Christmases (at least, “traditional” in the Hollywood movie/Norman Rockwell sense)–most of ‘em complete with snow on the ground!  And this song makes a lot of sense if this imagery is familiar to you.  Knowing what the holiday season looks like/smells like/feels like living in NYC, it’s really familiar.  (I recently read the story about how this song came to be written by it’s composers Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.  Wanna read it, too?  Check out the  book SONGWRITERS ON SONGWRITING.  Fascinating!)  It’s been a favorite song of mine for as long as I can remember.

Hearing Kuana sing it–even though there’s nothing “tropical” or Hawaiian, per se, about his delivery–the song still imparts a Hawaiian vibe.  I can’t explain it.  It no longer feels like a New York Christmas carol.  It’s more universal.

(And yes… I’ll admit it: I got a little choked up when I listened to it earlier this morning.)

Another favorite: ʻEKOLU MEA NUI/HALELŪ.   The first song in this medley is near and dear to my heart.  It’s one of Pops’ favorites.  We sing it all the time in Hālawa Valley.  He says the message is really important to living a balanced life.  And the addition of HALELŪ (penned by Kahele, himself, I think!) is awesome.  A perfect compliment to a Hawaiian favorite.

And another favorite: HALELUIA.  It’s the Leonard Cohen classic melody (Hallelujah) that you know and love–with new lyrics composed by Kuana.  I know… I know… I get goosebumps, too.  Wow!!!

(See?  I told you that I can’t pick a favorite track!  Each one is special in its own way.)

By the way, I heard thru the grapevine that the song HERE COMES SANTA IN A RED CANOE will be heard in an upcoming episode of Hawaii Five-0!

*Super Bonus: The CD comes with fantastic liner notes–including the songs’ lyrics.  I don’t know about you, but I love good liner notes.  And I really appreciate having the lyrics–especially when it’s a recording that I’m not familiar with.  So helpful!

So that’s the newest Hawaiian holiday music CD in the collection. (Although I can pretty much guarantee there will be others added this year, too… There are so many good albums to choose from!)

What are YOU listening to this holiday season?  Is there a musical tradition that YOU have with your family?  Drop me a line!  I’d love to hear from you!


Aloha kākou!

Here’s this week’s question:

Which Hawaiian recording artist released the album KAUNALOA?

A. Kuana Torres Kahele

B. Darlene Ahuna

C. Alfred Aholo Apaka

D. Emma Veary

• Please submit your answer by posting a reply to this entry on the blog.
• All correct answers will be eligible to win a special email message from me.
• One winner will be randomly chosen at 11:59pm HST.

Will YOU be this week’s lucky winner?

Good Luck!

Aloha Poʻalima! Happy Aloha Friday!

**Crooner Update:

Well done, gang!  Right on!

The correct answer is A. KUANA TORRES KAHELE.

This is one of my favorite albums–it plays on “repeat” so often that I’m afraid I’m burning a hole in the CD!  (To check out this awesome collection of music, please click HERE.)

And this week’s winner, chosen randomly from all of the correct answers, is… (Drum roll, please…) SARO VANASUP!  Congrats, Saro!  You’re this week’s Trivia Superstar!

Mahalo to all of you for taking part in this week’s Aloha Friday Trivia Challenge.  I hope you’ll play again next week, too!

Happy Weekend, gang!

A hui hou…



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. Manowaiopuna (The Royal Hawaiian Serenaders’ recording on the album Legends Of Waikiki)

I love a great vintage recording of a great Hawaiian song, don’t you?

And the Royal Hawaiian Serenaders’ recording of this song, also known as KOʻULA, is one of my favorites.  Their arrangement is simple–nothing flashy or showy (other than the stellar falsetto!) which really allows the beauty of this classic song to shine through.

Triple love it.  True story.

*Please click HERE to read a great bio via the amazing Territorial Airwaves website.

2. Kuʻu Pua Pakalana (Natalie Ai Kamauu’s recording on the album ʻĀ)

For the second week in a row, this song is my obsession.  Still listening to it over and over.  Still singing it when I wake up in the morning.  What do they call that?  An “earworm” right?

(I’m so happy that I still love it and that it’s not driving me crazy by now!)

It’s contemporary and timeless at the same time.

According to the album’s liner notes, she says she wrote it to honor her son, Chaz.

It brings tears to my eyes and warms my heart.

*Please click HERE to visit Natalie’s website.

(** Crooner Note: Congrats to Natalie for her Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award this year: Female Vocalist of the Year!)

3. Nā Vaqueros (Kuana Torres Kahale’s recording on the album Kaunaloa)

I was on the treadmill this week and this song started to play.  I actually stopped the treadmill to look to see who was singing.  I had been zoning out (one of the benefits/hazards of running on a treadmill) and I heard the Spanish lyrics and was confused for a minute… I thought I’d been listening to Kuana Torres Kahele.  Then I recognized the song and had to laugh!

I love it for so many reasons: it’s beautiful, for sure.  It has a strangely familiar feel to it–I hear a lot of Spanish music living in NYC.  So it’s familiar that way.  And yet it also has a traditional hula feel to it, too!  How cool is that?!

*Please click HERE to visit Kuana’s website.

(**Crooner Note: This whole album rocks my world.  And it rocked the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards this year, too!  A giant CONGRATS to Kuana for all of the recognition he received for this outstanding album: Album of the Year, Hawaiian Album of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Song of the Year (Nā Vaqueros) and Liner Notes!  Fantastic!)

4. Over (Keahiwai’s recording on the album Local Girls)

I was feeling homesick for my friends/family on Oʻahu this week.  And this song, recorded by the fantastic duo known as Keahiwai, always takes me back.

It’s totally contemporary–well, it was released in 2001, but that’s contemporary in my world.  A mild “Jawaiian” feel to it.  It makes me want to head out to the North Shore and watch some surfing and catch some time in the sun and sand.  I love how it makes me feel.

It takes me back to happy times, for sure!

5. Waimaka Helelei (Dennis Kamakahi & Stephen Inglis’ recording on the album Waimaka Helelei)

You guys know how much I love Uncle Dennis Kamakahi!  And this song (& album!) that he recorded with Stephen Inglis is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

I think this song will enter into the classic/staple Hawaiian song category very soon.  So simple–yes.  Verses are only 2 lines long.  But so deep!  It pays tribute to the folks that lived at Kalaupapa–the colony for those affected by leprosy (Hansen’s Disease)–located on the island of Molokai.

We’ve needed a song like this for so long.  And finally, it’s here.  A giant MAHALO to Uncle Dennis for writing it.  And to Stephen for sharing his musical gifts.  Individually, they are fantastic musicians.  As a duo, these guys are incredible.

*At the time of this writing, Uncle Dennis shares this song AND the lyrics on his website.  Just click HERE to visit the site and listen to this song!

*Please click HERE to visit Stephen Inglis’ website.

(**Crooner Note:  CONGRATS to Uncle Dennis and Stephen for their Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award for this album: Slack Key Album of the Year!  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 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!**


The Crooner’s Weekly “TOP 5″ (11.30.11)

Wednesday, November 30, 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. Hanohano ʻO Maui (Kealiʻi Reichel’s recording on the album Melelana)

Written by Kahikina DeSilva and Moe Keale, this wonderful song celebrates the natural beauty of the island of Maui.  And being that Maui is Kealiʻi’s home, it’s a perfect song for him to sing.  He’s familiar with the island and her beauty.  He sings with confidence and pride!

A simple song structure–with verses consisting of only two lines each–allows for the poetry to stand out, to really sing.  Yes, the lyrics are written in Hawaiian.  But even if you’re not familiar with the language (at all!) you’ll still be able to feel what the composers intended.  A true taste of the island.

Kealiʻi is an incredible performer.  And it’s also wonderful to hear the background “chorus” sing verses. (The liner notes list only 3 names as background vocals–but it sounds like so much more!)  One of my favorite parts of the song is listening to Kealiʻi kāhea, or call out the first word/words to the next verse.  It’s something we see/hear a lot of in hula.  And as Kealiʻi is a kumu hula (master hula teacher), it makes me think that he must have choreographed something awesome for this song.

I dare you to listen to this song and NOT smile.  I think that would be impossible!

*Please click HERE to visit Kealiʻi’s website.

2. Lānaʻikaula (Kuana Torres Kahele’s recording on the album Kaunaloa)

As a musician, my ear is always listening for music that makes me say to myself, “Now that’s a song that I need to learn.”

This week, I was listening to random mix of tunes while I worked and this song came on.  The first verse played and I knew I needed to stop working and see what the song’s title was.  (I recognized the voice of Kauana Torres Kahale instantly!  I’m a ridiculously huge fan of the group Nā Palapalai.  His voice is one that stands out in a crowd.)  I was excited to see that it was on his solo album, released earlier this year–and I went to find the liner notes immediately.

According to the notes, the mele was written after a fantastic (and educational!) trip to Lānaʻi in 2009.

I know so few songs about Lānaʻi and hearing this made my heart happy.  The tempo is a traditional hula tempo–and the lyrics (penned by Kellen Paik) would lend themselves beautifully to a hula.  So descriptive!

A new favorite song from an incredible album.  Do you have it yet?  It’s one that you’ll listen to over and over. (And find a new favorite every time!  Ha!)

*Please click HERE to visit Kuana’s page at Mountain Apple Company.

3. Here In This Enchanted Place (Emma Veary’s recording on the album The Best of Emma)

In my mind, Emma Veary is a true LADY.  I mean, when I listen to hear sing, I picture her standing with a straight back, shoulders down, arms bent with hands held at her solar plexus and a look of pure contentment on her lovely face.  Of course, this is only the image I’ve created in my mind, but I love it.  (And until I’m told otherwise, I’m going to keep it!  Ha!)

This song, sung in English, is a favorite.  I first heard it on a recording by legendary Hawaiian crooner, Alfred Aholo Apaka recording.  But I was so delighted to hear Ms. Emma’s soaring soprano voice on this recording!  Aue!  Brings tears to the eyes.

Her voice represents “another time” in Hawaiian music… And yet, her voice is also eternal.

Triple love her.  True story.

*Please click HERE to visit PBS Hawai’i's Long Story Short with Emma Veary.  An excellent interview!!

4. None Hula (Nāpua’s recording on the album Pihana)

I was listening to Nāpua’s debut album this week (for the umpteenth time) and was enjoying this very traditional sounding hula.  However, I didn’t understand one of the main words: NONE.  (I’m still an “infant” when it comes to the Hawaiian language.  Slow and steady… Slow and steady…)  So I looked in the liner notes–The Nagging Hula!  I loved it!  It just goes to show you can write a song–or choreograph a hula–to pretty much anything!  (Nāpua is also a kumu hula–I’d love to see her choreography to this song!)

I love Nāpua’s voice!  And the “old-style” feel she brings to this song is delicious!

*Please click HERE to read a great “Intro to Napua Greig”-style article that came out in 2007.

5. Puamana (The Jack de Mello Orchestra’s recording on the album Hawaiʻi: Land of Enchantment)

I am feeling really nostalgic this week.  And this album, recorded in 1961, will take you back to that time instantly.  For real.

A staple song in any Hawaiian musician or hula dancer’s repertoire is Aunty Irmgard Farden’s classic PUAMANA.   I must have at least 10 recordings of it in my collection.  But this version is a one-of-a kind!

Jack de Mello truly embraced the lounge/exotica/classical/ambient sound.  Have I totally confused you?  Remember the opening theme song to the television show, Star Trek?  Well… while not entirely the same, it’s got a similar vibe.  (I tried to describe it to a friend who said, “Oh, so you mean it’s cheesy?”  And that’s absolutely NOT what I mean.  If someone was trying to reproduce those sounds today, that might be cheesy… But DeMello was really experimenting.  Playing with classics in, what was then, a new way.)

I love it.  It’s lush and over the top and wonderful.

(And does the soaring soprano voice we hear belong to the lovely Ms. Emma Veary?  Hmm…)

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!  I’m DEFINITELY thankful for that!

**Want the latest Crooner News/Updates sent directly to your inbox?  You can subscribe by clicking HERE!**

1 Comment