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Posts Tagged ‘Ledward Kaapana’

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. May Day Is Lei Day in Hawaiʻi (Gary Aiko’s recording on the album Hula Hou)

Aunty Genoa Keawe’s son, GARY AIKO, sings this fantastic song on her album, Hula Hou.

Gary’s voice is a favorite of mine. A true Hawaiian crooner–he knows how to use the voice to be smooth and elegant and classy.  To ‘da max!  I love his albums!

We celebrate May 1st as May Day and Lei Day–not only in Hawaiʻi, but everywhere that has Hawaiians or Hawaiians-at-heart.

It only seems right to include this classic this week.  And Gary Aiko sings it so beautifully!  Mahalo for that, Uncle Gary!

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

*Please click HERE to learn more about May Day/Lei Day.

2. ʻAhulili (Raiatea Helm’s recording on the album Hawaiian Blossom)

When I first heard this recording, I wasn’t sure who was singing it.  It had that “old school” Hawaiian sound to it, but it sounded like a more recent recording.  Newer.  Brighter.

I was delighted when I learned that it was Raiatea Helm singing it–and honoring the singers that came before her who presented the song in a certain way.  She delivers it so beautifully!  It quickly became a favorite.

The song is attributed to Scott Haʻi.  And if you click HERE you can see what the original, handwritten manuscript looked like!  Cool!  (Mahalo, Huapala.org!)

*Please click HERE to visit Raiatea’s website.

3. Koali (Kamakakēhau Fernandez’s recording on the album Wahi Mahalo)

I love this song!  And I love how Kamakakēhau Fernandez sings it!

This song is on his long-awaited, much-anticipated album.  And wow… it delivers!  I’m hooked!

This traditional and classic song really allows him to showcase the fluidity of his smooth falsetto.  I’m blown away!

4. Young and Free (Olomana’s recording on the album Come to Me Gently)

You guys know how much I love a song that rocks that late 1970′s vibe (this album was released in 1980).  And you know how much I love the sound of the Hawaiian group, Olomana.  So it’s no surprise that this song rocks my world.

It’s got that feel-good vibe that my soul craves.  And their sweet vocal harmonies…

It calms this urban strummer down and reminds me to take a deep breath.

*Please click HERE to visit Olomana’s website.

5. Punahoa Slack (Ledward Kaapana’s recording on the album The Legend: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar)

When it’s time to relax, to wind down, to shed the stresses of the day, I turn to Uncle Led Kaapana and the awesomely soothing sounds of his kī hōʻalu, his slack key guitar.  So I guess it’s not a shock to see him (and his latest album) on the Weekly TOP 5–again!

The Hawaiian word I’d use to best describe his sound is nahenahe–soothing, gentle.

We all need a little peace and tranquility.  I turn to Uncle Led’s recordings for that.

*Please click HERE to visit Uncle Led’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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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. Kona Daze (Dennis Pavao’s recording on the album All Hawaiʻi Stand Together )

I love the voice of  the crooner, Dennis Pavao!

This English language song usually makes me think of the Hawaiian group, Kalapana.    It was written by the legendary Malani Bilyeu.

And I usually think of Uncle Dennis Pavao singing more “traditional” Hawaiian songs.

However, I love this version that Uncle Dennis sang!  Love the soul he infuses it with.

Listening to it brings to mind the sunny dryness one finds on the island of Hawaiʻi in Kailua Kona–that heat and sunshine and blue water.  Ah… takes me there in my mind.

2. Mom (Elodia Kane’s recording on the album Tribute to Lena Machado)

Aunty Elodia Kane’s sweet soprano voice is one of my favorites.  And I love hearing her sing the songs of Aunty Lena Machado!  One sweet Hawaiian songbird honoring another!

This particular recording almost has a “Gershwin-feel” to it with the horns.  Or a theatrical piece from a classic Broadway show.  Love it.

The song, while written in English, really has a Hawaiian feel to it.  And it paints such a loving (and/or sad) portrait of what was happening in the South Pacific (and throughout the world!) when it was written.  According to another album’s liner notes, Aunty Lena Machado copyrighted the song  in June of 1944.  The soldiers and their letters home to their beloved mothers most certainly inspired this touching ballad.

It’s melody stays “up high” in the voice… making it a favorite of sopranos and falsetto (leo kʻiekiʻe) singers.

3. Ain’t No Big Thing (Kui Lee’s recording on the album The Extraordinary Kui Lee)

Triple love the fun sound of this song!  And Kui Lee–wow!

The album was recorded in 1966, I think.  And it has all of the earmarks of the era.  Organ, whistles, fantastic guitar, fun percussion.  It’s all in there.

We lost Uncle Kui too soon… I would love to be able to see what he would have created later in life.  I’m so glad we can rock out to his records!

4. Kaimana Hila (Darlene Ahuna’s recording on the album Classic Hula)

When I’m feeling “down in the dumps”–and yes!  Even Accidental Hawaiian Crooners have those kinds of days–I look to a classic, uptempo hula to help chase away the blues.

And this song, written by the amazing Charles E. King, is guaranteed to make me smile.  Like every time!

It describes some of the things one might see if one were to go holoholo (out cruising) in and around the Diamond Head side of the island of Oʻahu.  Fun!

And I love the controlled break in Darlene’s voice–maikaʻi that haʻi!  Hana hou!  Encore!

*Please click HERE to visit Darleneʻs website.

5. Hoʻokena (Ledward Kaapana’s recording on the album The Legend: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar)

When it’s time to relax, to wind down, to shed the stresses of the day, I turn to Uncle Led Kaapana and the awesomely soothing sounds of his kī hōʻalu, his slack key guitar.

The Hawaiian word I’d use to best describe his sound is nahenahe–soothing, gentle.

We all need a little peace and tranquility.  I turn to Uncle Led’s recordings for that.

*Please click HERE to visit Uncle Led’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″ (12.14.11)

Wednesday, December 14, 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. The Hukilau Song (Alfred Aholo Apaka’s recording on the album Hawaiian Favorites)

It’s no secret that I love the golden-voiced crooner, Alfred Aholo Apaka.  His music is like a textbook for me.  I study his recordings and learn something new every time.  Wanna swoon?  Check out any of his recordings.  And this one is no exception!

The Hukilau Song, attributed to Mr. Jack Owens, is often dismissed as a “kitschy classic” or a “hula song for tourists.”  However, I got SCHOOLED (aka “educated AND scolded!”) for making that comment in front of Pops.  I’d been asking him about how Hālawa Valley residents fished in the bay when he was little boy.  He told me the significance of this song.  And it changed me forever!  Now I view the song through “fresh eyes.”  And I’m amazed at how important it is! (I’m writing a blog post about that.  Stay tuned!)

*Please click HERE to visit a tribute page for Uncle Alfred Apaka on Facebook.

2. Aloha ʻOe (Amy Hānaialiʻi and Willie K’s recording on the album Nostalgia)

This classic Hawaiian song has been calling to me, lately.  I mean, sometimes I hear it when I first wake up.  No… not in a “ghostly” way.  But in my mind, I hear it playing.  And the funny thing is that I never really had any kind of feeling toward it.  Yes… it’s a beautiful song.  Yes… it has an incredible story.  Yes… it was written by Queen Liliʻuokalani.  But I never really reacted to it. (And in the spirit of full disclosure, I used to feel guilty about that.)

The strange thing is that NOW it’s like I can’t stop listening to it.  I’m kind of–well–obsessed with it. I love it.  I love the imagery.  I love the melody–simple but tugs at the heart.  And I can’t get enough of the language–the poetry of the lyrics.  It blows my mind.

I’ve heard that the song is copyright free.  Public domain.  That means I can record it, right?  I’m seeing a new mele  page in the works… Stay tuned.

This may be one of my favorite songs of all times.  And Amy’s voice–as always–is fantastic.  There is something almost ethereal about her voice in this recording–like it’s calling from the past.  Wow. And when she collaborated musically with Willie K, it was magic!

*Please click HERE to visit Amy’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Willie K’s website

3. Pua Hone (The Brothers Cazimero’s recording on the album Hoʻala)

The Brothers Camizero have a sound that takes me instantly to Oʻahu.  It’s like being teleported to the islands via the touch of a button.  How cool is that?  (And so much cheaper than airfare these days!  Auē!)

This classic love song, written by Rev. Dennis Kamakahi, is given the royal treatment by The Caz.  So loving.  So gentle.  So nahenahe.  And their signature sound–and the measures of “loo loo loo” that say “Hey!  This is a Brothers Cazimero song!” make me smile from ear to ear.

Triple love it.  And this version is a hula dancer’s dream–no instrumental verses.  Perfect!

*Please click HERE to visit the Brothers Cazimero’s page at Mountain Apple Company.

4. Constellations (Kaukahi’s recording–featuring Jack Johnson–on the album Life In These Islands)

Ok.  This song rocks my world. And Kaukahi’s recording (which features the one and only Jack Johnson!) is fantastic!!  I love the sound of the amazing Hawaiian group accompanying Jack on this now-classic/neo-classic song.

Like many folks, I first heard the song on Jack’s album, In Between Dreams.  I remember thinking there was something different about the song.  The story that it told stood out.  It felt like old-style Hawaiian storytelling.

And then, when I saw it pop up on Kaukahi’s 2006 release, I thought, “RIGHT ON!  This is a good thing.  This is gonna be GOOD!”

I was delighted when I first heard their collaboration. And I remain delighted with every listening.  It tickles the ears.  The guitar.  The harmonies.  Trust me.  This is ono-licious!

*Please click HERE to visit Kaukahi’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Jack Johnson’s website.

5. Kuʻu Ipo Onaona (Ledward Kaapana’s recording on the album Treasures of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar)

You guys know that I love kī hōʻalu (slack key guitar) music.  It soothes this New Yorker’s often-frazzled nerves.

When Uncle Led plays this slack key classic–ah! The tension that holds my shoulders up by ears drains away.  So good!  It moves along with intention and purpose, yet never loses its sense of playfulness and fun.

(*Note:  This album, featuring some of the greatest living slack key players and entertainers, won the Grammy Award in 2008 for Hawaiian Music Album of the Year.)

*Please click HERE to visit Uncle Led’s website.

**Christmas Bonus Song:  Kanaka Christmas (Lucky Luck’s recording on the album Santa’s Gone Hawaiian!)

This one makes me laugh.  For real.  Good family fun for the holidays.  And you can’t go wrong with Uncle Lucky Luck and his antics and his awesome Pidgin’-kine holiday story.  This track, while it’s spoken word, is extremely musical.  The music is in the rhythm and the sound of the language itself.

I’m so glad this recording has been preserved and released on CD for new generations to listen to it.

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″ (11.9.11)

Wednesday, November 9, 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. Nā Moku ʻEhā (Alfred Aholo Apaka’s recording on the album Hawaii’s Golden Voice)

It’s a well-known fact that one of my heroes in Hawaiian music is the legendary crooner, Alfred Aholo Apaka.  Every time I listen to one of his recordings, I have to stop what I’m doing and just listen.  Well, listen and study, that is.  He’s one of the greatest singers I’ve ever heard.  The way he uses the voice as an instruments–with gentle scoops and glides (portamenti), he tugs at the heart.

This classic song is one that many people will be familiar with.  It describes four of the Hawaiian islands: Hawaiʻi, Maui, Oʻahu and Kauaʻi.  Each verse tells the flower/lei associated with the island as well as one of it’s major mountains/mountain ranges.  What a great way to learn about the islands. It’s like an Hawaiian ancestor to Schoolhouse Rock!

And I totally LOVE the fun, upbeat strum used on the ʻukuele.  Rhythm playing at its best.

2. Nā Pua Lei ʻIlima (Olomana’s recording on the album E Mau Ana Ka Haʻaheo)

Olomana’s recording of this classic song is a delight to my ears.  It’s nahenahe-gentle, soothing.  Literally, it tells of the beautiful and cherished ʻilima blossom, the yellow flower that is associated with the island of Oʻahu.

Their tight vocal harmonies and masterful playing of guitar, bass and percussion make it a winner, in my book!  (I especially love hearing the voices of Aunty Haunani Apoliona and Jerry Santos weaving a lovely tapestry of sound.)

*Please click HERE to visit Olomana’s website.

3. Pohai Kealoha (Leinaʻala Haili’s recording on the album Best of Leinaʻala)

This week, I felt compelled to study this song. I went through my collection and pulled out all of the recordings that I had of this mele.  And I have to tell you, this one made me SMILE.  I mean really smile!  I’ve heard it done different ways, different styles.  From slow to fast.  From super-masculine to ultra-feminine. But Aunty Leinaʻala’s is the only version that I have in my collection that sounds like this.  Kind of like being in a nightclub.  It’s awesome from start to finish.

And it’s exciting to see how a classic Hawaiian song was being presented in 1967 (I think!) when it was recorded for her album Nō Ka ʻOi.  It’s contemporary–for that time anyway–and I’m sure it helped to introduce a younger crowd to the classic Hawaiian repertoire.  I know that’s always a controversial thing to do–there are folks that insist the songs be presented the same way every time.  In this recording, Aunty Leinaʻala didn’t change the melody or the phrasing.  Rather, she updated the song with its “nightclub-style” percussion and its intstrumentation.

I love this.  LOVE IT.  True story.

*Sadly, Aunty Leinaʻala Haili passsed away in 2005.  Click HERE to read to read an obituary.  Itʻs full of great information about this legendary singer!

4. Dorothy Louise (Kalapana’s recording on the album Kalapana II)

A blast from the past!

You guys know how much I love a great 1970′s vibe in song.  And this song totally has it!

When I listen to Kalapana’s recordings from this period, I think of sitting in the back seat of my parents’ big car, listening to the 8-track player.  Granted, we weren’t listening to Kalapana (I didn’t really know about Hawaiian music until I was in my late 20s) but… the style is the same.  Classic. Tight vocal harmonies.  Tight chromatic melodic moves.

Sweet.

The song is also featured on their album The Best of Kalapana Vol: 1.

5. Hula O Makee (Ledward Kaapana’s recording on the album The Legend: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar)

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

And I love the sensitive touch of kī hōʻalu master, Ledward Kaapana.  AND… the double bonus of this song is that HE SINGS IT, TOO!  This song is one that Pops and I sing when we’re jamming down in Hālawa Valley.  It brings a smile to my face–guaranteed.

Uncle Led is one of the best.  Hawaiian music runs through his veins.

*Please click HERE to visit Led’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!

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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. Waiakanaio (Ledward Kaʻapana’s recording on the album Black Sand)

From what I read, the song was composed by George Huddy for the group Hui ʻOhana. I love how Uncle Led plays this as an instrumental piece–kī hōʻalu-style.

Letʻs face it: the guy is a MASTER musician. And when he plays the 12-string guitar, it shimmers. To me, it’s the sound of light dancing on the surface of the ocean. I love it.

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

I have been feeling so nostalgic this week! I found a mix CD that I made from my “extensive” Hawaiian collection when I first started listening to Hawaiian music–and this song kicked it off! Keahiwai was DEFINITELY a huge group at the time. And I couldn’t get enough of their sound.

I remember streaming KCCN FM 100 on the computer at work. I haunted Tower Records here in NYC and combed through their limited Hawaiian selection. I think I bought every CD they had!

Now, for those of you who consider yourselves to be Hawaiian purists and will turn your noses up at Hawaiian “pop” or “Jawaiian” music, please note: A lot of the music we call “traditional” today was once the popular music of the time.

I remember thinking Keahiwai’s music connected me to the islands. Folks were listening to them on Hawaiian radio stations. And I was listening in my apartment in NYC. A bridge between our islands…

You’ll love their tight harmonies. You’ll love their great and catchy hooks. And I’ll bet you’ll find yourself dancing around a bit when you hear it. I do. Their music still makes me smile.

3. Jingle Bells (In Hawaiian) ( Genoa Keawe & Her Hawaiians’ recording on the album Santa’s Gone Hawaiian)

While working at an amusement park one summer, I learned about a tradition that I quickly adopted: Christmas in July! It was so fun to try to create a holiday feeling in the middle of summer. We put up a decorated tree–complete with homemade ornaments because the stores didn’t have any for sale in July!

So… before the month ends, I wanted to keep the tradition alive and listen to some holiday music. This week, I’ve been hooked on a gem of a recording of Aunty Genoa Keawe & Her Hawaiians. It’s truly a classic–and how cool to be able to play the “sounds of yesteryear” using today’s technology!

Classic + Fun = Awesome

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

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