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Posts Tagged ‘Lei Nani’

The Crooner’s Weekly “TOP 5″ (1.25.12)

Wednesday, January 25, 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. Pōhai Ke Aloha (Kawai Cockett’s recording on the album Beautiful Kauaʻi)

Ok.  I’ve had this song (and Uncle Kawai’s recording of it!) on my TOP 5 before.

Wanna know why?

Because I love it!  I mean I think Uncle Kawai’s version of this song (which is one of my all-time favorites) is outta this world!

Most often, I think this song is associated with a female singer.  At least that’s been my experience.  And the lyrics mention tears wetting the singer’s cheeks–and all too often, tears are associated with women instead of men.  (*Crooner Note:  Men cry, too!)

But when Uncle Kawai sings this song–wow… So tender and yet so masculine.  So AWESOME.

*Sadly, Uncle Kawai passed away in 2006. Please click HERE to read more about this amazing man.

2. ʻAkaka Falls (Elodia Kāne’s recording on the album Tribute to Lena Machado)

This beloved Hawaiian classic, attributed to Helen Lindsay Parker, is a favorite.  And Aunty Elodia’s recording is also a favorite.

Her voice has the clarity of a bell–the kind of voice I can imagine carrying through the air and being heard from a great distance.  Never shrill. Always tender.

And I love that she includes an English language verse, too!  It helps a listener who may be totally unfamiliar with the Hawaiian language by giving them an anchor–something they are familiar with.

Lovely from start to finish.

3. Kuʻu Kumu (Kaukahi’s recording on the album Life In These Islands)

Perhaps it’s because I’ve just gotten back from Molokai and spent some time with Pops, my kumu.  When I listened to this song this week, it really struck a chord.

The song uses the word KUMU in two ways, both as a teacher and as the trunk of tree.  The metaphor holds true–we learn from our teachers and we, as students, are branches of them and their knowledge.

Totally brought tears to my eyes… in the best way! (**Crooner note:  Please see above–men cry, too!)

(*Crooner Note:  I had the chance to see Kaukahi perform while I was on Oʻahu.  They are just as good–and maybe even better–in person.  Go see ‘em!  Wow…)

*Please click HERE to visit Kaukahi’s website.

4. Pua Tuberose (Raiatea’s recording on the album Hawaiian Blossom)

An unforgettable ballad about an unforgettable flower.

The classic song, attributed to Kimo Kamana, speaks of the tuberose flower and its delicate fragrance.  It’s not hard to infer that perhaps the kaona in this song is describing a beloved–an unforgettable love.

Raitea’s voice and the simple, almost understated accompaniment are a perfect combination for this lovely song.  I can see a hula being danced to it when I close my eyes and listen…

*Please click HERE to visit Raiatea’s website.

5.  Lei Nani (George Kahumoku, Jr. and Daniel Ho’s recording on the album Classic Hawaiian Hulas Vol. 3)

Oh!  So good, this version!

A favorite hula to play and sing, I love how Uncle George Kahumoku sings this, with Daniel’s sparkling ʻukulele in the background, dancing around Uncle George’s masterful ki hoalu (slack key) stylings!

The song, attributed to Charles Nāmāhoe, is a lovely song of affection. And it’s a favorite of so many hula dancers.  Musicians, this is good one to know!

*Please click HERE to visit the Uncle George’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Daniel’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.  Ke ʻAla Kaʻu i Honi (Linda Dela Cruz’s recording on the album Hawaiʻi’s Canary)

I have fallen in love–again!–with the voice of Linda Dela Cruz this week.  Do you ever do that?  Develop a crush on a singer or band and then play their music non-stop for days?

I love her simple and delicate presentation of this simple and delicate song written by Keʻala Carter and Tom Carter, Jr.  It’s written in a traditional Hawaiian way–4 verses without a chorus or a bridge.  To the western mind, this may sound like the song would be monotonous.  But I challenge the western listener to find the song monotonous.  It’s lovely–pure and simple.

In the album’s liner notes, it tells the story of how Dela Cruz only heard the song right before she recorded it.  That’s amazing–it sounds as though it had been a part of her repertoire for years!

Listening to her sweet voice makes this crooner swoon.

(**Crooner Note: If you’d like to learn more about this wonderful singer, please click HERE to read her obituary from 2007.  She was quite an amazing woman!)

2.  Pua ʻIliahi (Kimo Alama Keaulana and Lei Hulu’s recording on the album Hula Lives!)

This song surprised me this week while I was listening to my iPod in “shuffle mode.”  Surprised me and made me laugh out loud!  I love the fact that this song has so many lyrics compressed into each line!  It’s a challenge for any singer to get ‘em all in!

The song is attributed to Hawaii’s falsetto poet, Bill Aliʻiloa Lincoln, but the liner notes tell a slightly different story.  Apparently, Uncle Bill revised an older song (from the 1800s) to make this version that we know today.  And he gave them an ADDITIONAL verse that’s not often included!  A rare treasure, indeed!

(Note:  It absolutely pays to have MULTIPLE recordings of songs–and even better if you can get albums with liner notes.  You never know what you’ll discover!)

The way they play this uptempo song has classic “happy hula” feel to it–and that alone might make you smile.  However, when you hear all of the words compressed into a single line, I’m pretty sure you’ll be smiling and/or laughing.  It’s great! To sing it, you would need to have a real command of the language!

I need to learn this version–a fun way to study!

3.  Kauaʻi Nani Lā (Robi Kahakalau’s recording on the album Sistah Robi)

This is one of my favorite songs that Robi sings… It’s haunting.

The song, written by Wade “Aukai” Oshio and Kahikāhealani, describe the island of Kauaʻi’s natural beauty.  Is there a deeper meaning?  A hidden meaning?  Perhaps.  Only the composers would know that.  However, the beauty of the lyrics–with verses written in Hawaiian and an English chorus–will stay with you long after the song has ended.

Sistah Robi’s voice, with its gentle “raspy” quality in places, is one of my favorites.  I can’t get enough…

(**Crooner Note: I want to send a special “Aloha!” to my friends on Kauaʻi.  Big Aloha to you from your pal in the Big Apple!)

4.  Lei Nani (Cody Pueo Pata’s recording on the album He Aloha…”)

I love Cody Pueo Pata’s voice, don’t you?  His flawless falsetto!  Wow!  I could listen all day.

And this classic song is one of those wonderful mystery songs:  Who wrote it?  I’ve seen it attributed to Charles Namahoe and Charles E. King.  I’ve seen that the copyright belongs to Johnny Noble.  So what’s the REAL story?  I’m not sure!  Does it really matter?  Yes… but… As a listener, I know I love it.  So I’m thankful to ALL parties who might have contributed to its composition.  As a student of Hawaiian music, I love the mystery of it all.  (I’ve also heard that folks sometimes refer to it as Lei Lani, too.  The mystery deepens…)

It’s a classic love song for a reason–it speaks to the soul.  (And it’s also one of my favorite songs to watch when danced as a hula.)

5.  Wai Ulu (Keola Beamer’s recording on the album Soliloquy: Ka Leo O Loko)

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

And I love the gentle–and instantly recognizable!–stylings of the contemporary master, Keola Beamer.  The way he makes the notes dance.  The harmonies… The textures… Ah!

This is a classic song, recorded by many.  But Keola’s version is the favorite this week.  When I hear it, I feel like I have to close my eyes.  (Note to Self:  Do NOT listen to this song while driving a car!)

In NYC, we are surrounded by loud noises and throngs of people.  This is one of my favorite albums to listen to when I need an escape.  Like a gentle salve for my frazzled nerves.

(**Crooner Note:  It’s also one of my favorite albums to give to new parents.  I’ve been told that rocking a newborn to sleep in the middle of the night is a tough thing to do.  Especially if you’re forced to listen to albums of nursery rhymes set to music.  This album soothes babies AND parents!  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 www.mele.com for being an awesome Hawaiian music resource. You all make the world a better place!

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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.

Well…

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?

**Crooner Note: PLEASE SUPPORT HAWAIIAN ARTISTS AND BUY HAWAIIAN MUSIC!! (Mahalo!)

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