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Posts Tagged ‘leo ki’eki’e’

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. Kealoha (Benny Kalama’s recording on the album Legends of Falsetto)

A favorite song sung with the FANTASTIC falsetto-stylings of Mr. Benny Kalama = a huge smile on my face when I listen to this recording.

Seriously, gang, this is AWESOME!

Done like a true falsetto crooner, Benny Kalama brings this song to life so beautifully–with all the stylistic intricacies of the era.

If you’re a fan of leo kiʻekiʻe (falsetto singing) you’re going to love this.

*Please click HERE to see an article about Uncle Benny written in 2006.

2. I’ll Remember You (Myrtle K. Hilo’s recording on the album The Singing Cab Driver)

I love this song, written by the amazing Kui Lee.

And I love the super cool, raspy and ono-to-the-ears sound of Aunty Myrtle K. Hilo’s (a.k.a. The Singing Cab Driver’s) voice.

Put ‘em together, along with some awesome Hawaiian lyrics written by Pilahi Paki, and you’ve got an awesome combination.

Magic.  Pure magic.

*Please click HERE to read a fun interview/article featuring Aunty Myrtle from 2002.

3. Kanoe (Robert Cazimero & Halau Na Kamalei’s recording on the album RCHNK)

I was listening to my iPod on “shuffle mode” this week.  And this song took my surprise.  I thought, “What is this?  A Hawaiian men’s chorus?  I didn’t know I had an album like this!”

I was so excited to see that it was a recording by the legendary male hālau hula (hula school) Hālau Nā Kamalei–under the direction of the legendary musician and kumu hula (master hula teacher) Robert Uluwehi Cazimero.

When I got back to my apartment, I went right to my CD stacks to read the album’s liner notes to see who was on the recording as well as any notes that were provided.   Loved it from the first word.  And, of course, that meant I needed to listen to the album again–from start to finish!  (And I loved it, again, from the first note to the last.)

This song, written by Robert Cazimero, stole my heart.  I love it for so many reasons–especially the tenderness in the men’s voices.

*Please click HERE to learn about the exciting and award-winning documentary (by Lisette Kaualena Flanary) about the halau: NĀ KAMALEI: The Men Of Hula.

4. Puko’o Paddle (Lono’s recording on the album Old Style III)

When I think of music on Molokai today, I think of Lono–his voice and songs are so tightly woven in the tapestry of that island.

This song, written by Lono (Lonomusic) is amazing–complexly beautiful and so very simple at the same time.  I know it’s kind of a cliche to say it, but it’s like a sweet onion–with so many layers!  Contemporary music with such a truly “Old Style”-feel to it.

Do you know Lono and his music?  Please check him out.  I love him.

*Please click HERE to visit Lono’s website.

5. Let Us Dream (John Cruz’s recording on the album One of These Days)

I totally dig the music of John Cruz.

Whether he’s singing traditional Hawaiian music or a self-penned contemporary composition like this one, he always put his distinctive spin/sound on it.

This song took me back to my days working in my dad’s jazz club in Pittsburgh.  Sultry.  Smoky.  Cool.  Right on.

*Please click HERE to visit John’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″ (12.21.11)

Wednesday, December 21, 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. Mahina O Hoku (Dennis Pavao’s recording on the album Keiki Kupuna)

One of my favorite songs (a crooner classic!) recorded by one of my favorite singers.  Kind of a perfect combination, wouldn’t you say?

This song, attributed to Lilian Awa, talks about the night before the full moon.  Two lovers.  A secluded beach.  (Dot…dot…dot…)

In this version, Uncle Dennis presents the song with his beautiful leo kiʻekiʻe (falsetto) in a soothing way.  And he presents each verse two times–a hula dancer’s dream.  Note:  He doesn’t sing the third verse that’s sometimes included.

I love the golden crooning of Uncle Dennis Pavao.  I’m so glad we have his recordings–we can still thrill to his voice.

•Please click HERE to see a tribute page to Uncle Dennis Pavao.

2. Hiʻilawe (Ernie Tevares’ recording on the album Hukilau Hulas)

I was on the treadmill at the gym the other day and this version of the classic song, Hiʻilawe, came on.  It was different from others that I was familiar with.  Bouncier.  I loved it.  I loved it so much that I had to look to see who recorded it.  (Note to self: Stop the treadmill before attempting to read anything.  I practically wiped out!)

Only after I got home and searched the internet did I learn about the amazing musician, Ernie Tevares.  I’m blown away by what I read about him.   Coming from a classical “conservatory background”, I’m always so humbled when I learn about self-taught musicians that are so talented they’d make the best “conservatory trained” musicians bow down to their abilities.  I wish I could be like that!

This is a great recording and one I will go back to again and again.  And it’s bouncy tempo made for some great listening time while I was running!

*Please click HERE to read a little bit about Ernie Tevares and his brother, Freddie.

3. Panini Puakea (Israel Kamakwiwoʻole’s recording on the album Facing Future)

Ah!  This recording brings back such memories!

Like so many folks, Facing Future was one of my very first Hawaiian albums.  I remember listening to it–and THIS SONG in particular!–in my tiny studio apartment in NYC’s Lower East Side.  Ok… it was really more like a closet.  But when this song played, it felt like the whole space opened up.  Even a gloomy NYC winter’s day became sunny.

Long before I had dreams of even visiting Hawaii, I loved this song. And the healing sounds of Braddah IZ’s voice and ʻukulele.

The song, attributed to John K. Almeida, talks about a favorite flower.  And I think it would be easy for one to see the similarities between the flower and a beloved.  But that’s just my take on it…

Magical, indeed.

*Please click HERE to visit IZ’s official website.

4. Falling (Keahiwai’s recording on the album Satisfied)

Listening to Keahiwai takes me back to the first time I went to Hawaiʻi.  I’d gone to Oʻahu for a friend’s wedding.  We were cruising around Waikīkī and I heard their music a lot on the radio.  My hula/ʻukulele friends and I had been listening to their debut album, Local Girls, a lot.  But the sound made so much sense when I got to Oʻahu and breathed the same air, saw the same sights, tasted the same tastes, heard the same sounds.

(It was on that trip that I also learned a lot of the music that made sense to my ears in NYC seemed loud and grossly out of place in Hawaiʻi!)

Simple.  Sweet.  Awesome.  (Makes me wanna close my eyes and sway.)

*Please click HERE to visit the Keahiwai’s official website. (And let ‘em know we miss them and want more music!)

5. Keʻala’s Mele (Leonard Kwan’s recording on the album Hawaiian Slack Key Masters Vol. 1)

This album served as my introduction to kī hōʻalu (slack key guitar) and I still love it.  What a great collection of so many amazingly talented musicians!

This track, recorded by the incredibly gifted Mr. Leonard Kwan, is pretty close to heaven.  I mean, I imagine this is what heaven must sound like.  The guitar is “honeyed’ and golden and sparkles.  The way light might dance along the water.

Love it.  And I love the way it makes me feel… (So thankful for recordings like this!)

*Please click HERE to read Leonard’s bio from Dancing Cat Records.

**Christmas Bonus Song:  Do You Hear What I Hear (Keola Beamer’s recording on the album Kī Hōʻalu Christmas)

This “traditional” Christmas song is magical.  And Keola’s recording captures the magic and mystery of Christmas for me. It brings to mind all sorts pictures–wise men following a star.  A deep blue-indigo night.  If something could be called perfect, this is it.

(**Crooner Note:  The whole album is fantastic!  This is something that plays all season in our home!)

*Please click HERE to visit Keola’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″ (10.12.11)

Wednesday, October 12, 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. Na Ka Pueo (Joe Keawe’s recording on the album Hawaii’s Falsetto Returns)

I love this song. And I love the amazing voice of Uncle Joe Keawe.  And I love this whole album.  Yup.  It’s a triple love.

The song is classic, upbeat Hawaiian tune that is one of the most-requested songs when I have the chance to strum/sing for hula dancers.  (And I LOVE it when they dance it with an ipu, a Hawaiian percussive instrument made from a gourd.)

It’s also a great song for leo kiʻekiʻe, Hawaiian falsetto, singing.  Rock on, Uncle Joe!  What an amazing voice had.

Interesting to note that he sings the lyrics as “Na ka Pueokahi” which means “Love from the Pueokahi” instead of “No ka Pueokahi” which means “Love for the Pueokahi.”  If you listen to a lot of Hawaiian music, you’ll hear both of these versions–it depends on the artist.  Interesting, right?

2. Pua Lilia (Nathan Aweau’s recording on the album E Apo Mai )

Nathan Aweau has one of the smoothest voices I’ve ever heard.

And when he presents the songs on this album (and some of his others, too!) he puts a very contemporary spin on some very traditional Hawaiian songs.  I’ve seen kūpuna, elders, roll their eyes when they hear his recordings.  And I can understand them–he takes a classic in a very new direction.

And most of the time, I might be tempted to agree with them.  Why “fix” something that isn’t broken, right?

But Nathan is a musician of the highest caliber.  He presents these classic songs in a new light.  He totally respects the original composition.  When I listen to him, I don’t hear anything that smacks of “arrogance.”  In fact, it’s like he’s paying homage to the songs’ original composers by bringing them into the contemporary spotlight.

The more I listen to it, the more I love it.  I love the fusion factor–all of the instruments (is that a marimba?!) and percussion he uses in this song.  I’m blown away.

New directions for classic/traditional paths.  Interesting to explore, for sure.

*Please click HERE to visit Nathan Aweau’s website.

3. Anahaki (Amy Hānaialiʻi’s recording on the album Generation Hawaiʻi)

Another upbeat, uptempo song that has been rocking my little corner of the world this week!

This song, written by Amy Hānaialiʻi (with the Hawaiian translation by Kaumakaiwa Kanakaʻole!) makes me smile.

I don’t want to reveal too much–buy the album and read the liner notes!–but the song details a love affair and references the famous ʻiwa bird that resides on Molokai.

It’s a contemporary song that feels like a classic hula written a long time ago.  Amy, as always, delivers.  Love it!

*Please click HERE to visit Amy Hānaialiʻi Gilliom’s website.

4. Waikaloa (Peter Ahia’s recording on the album Peter Sings)

I love this hula classic!  I have so many recordings of it.  And this week, it’s Peter Ahia’s version that has won me over.

I love the sweet quality in his voice.  I love his enthusiasm.  And I love his interpretation of this mele.  (And according to the album’s liner notes, Aunty Genoa Keawe loved his singing, too!)

It makes me smile when I hear it.  (And it makes me think of my good buddy, Ms. Marian, who loves this song.)

5. Pua Sadinia (Ray Kāne’s recording on the album Punahele)

I love kī hōʻalu (slack key guitar) music.

And this song, handled so deftly in Uncle Raymond’s masterful hands, is a true treasure.  Wow…

NYC has a way of beating a person up at times–physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  And when that happens, I turn to recordings like this.  A gentle salve for the wounds.  And it helps to recharge the battery, too.

Uncle Raymond Kāne’s recordings are to be listened to–and enjoyed–over and over, again.

*Please click HERE to read the album’s liner notes.

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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