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Posts Tagged ‘Linda Dela Cruz’

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. Wahine Uʻi (Linda Dela Cruz’s recording on the album Hawaii’s Canary)

Vintage Hawaiian music rocks my little piece of the world.  Listening to those voices from the past (both distant and not-so distant) is so rewarding!  I learn something every time.  Something from every song and every singer.

One of the recordings that’s captured my ear and my heart this week is WAHINE UʻI as sung by Linda Dela Cruz.  (Note: this is the version attributed to James Kahele.)  I love the control she has in her voice.  Butterscotch-rich low notes.  A flawless haʻi or break in the female voice–like falsetto.  She almost cries some of the notes–reminding me of the Patsy Cline classic, I FALL TO PIECES.

I could listen to her all day.  And learn something new every time.

*Sadly, Aunty Linda passed away in 2007.  But you can click HERE to learn more about her life via her obituary.

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

Riding on the subway, I listen to a lot of music.  This song started playing and I wasn’t giving it my full attention. (Note: Riding the subway in NYC is always an interesting experience–filled with all sorts of interesting people, sounds, smells, etc.  It’s not difficult to have one’s attention be pulled in a million directions at once.)  Then I heard the word MAHALO.  And then I heard it, again.  And again.  And again.

So I restarted the song and gave it my full attention.

I love this song because of of its sentiment.  What an awesome way to close an album–offering up MAHALO, thanks, for everyone and everything in his life.  So awesome!  And it’s just like how Pops lives his life in Hālawa Valley on Molokai–always offering up MAHALO for everything.  A state of gratitude.  I hope to be able to do that.  If ALOHA is the word one hears most while in Hawaiʻi, I promise you that MAHALO is a close second.

And, of course, I’d be a fool not to mention how much I LOVE Kamakakēhau’s voice!  Auē!  This man can S.I.N.G!  Holy wow!  And listening to how pronounces Hawaiian–that, alone is sweet music.

Do you have this album in your collection already?  It’s essential.  Trust me.

*Please click HERE to visit Kamakakēhau’s MySpace page.

3. Beyond the Reef (Amy Hānaialiʻi & Willie K’s recording on the album Nostalgia)

What do you get when you translate a well-known hapa haole classic into Hawaiian and then mix it with a hot and sultry jazz arrangement?  You get Amy & Willie K’s smooth and bluesy BEYOND THE REEF.

This one took me by complete surprise the first time I heard it.  I didn’t expect it.  But the whole album took me by surprise!  They reinterpreted some Hawaiian and hapa haole classics in ways I never dreamed of… And I’m so glad they did!

When I hear the title BEYOND THE REEF, the dreamy crooner-classic version recorded by Alfred Aholo Apaka comes to mind.  So I was blown away by this number that could be “at home” in the heart of a blues or jazz club.  With Amy’s killer vocals and Willie’s killer instrumentals–well–it’s a killer track!

I hope you’ll open your mind and your ears and give it a listen.

*Please click HERE to visit Amy’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Willie K’s website.

4. Mele ʻOhana (Kealiʻi Reichel’s recording on the album Keʻalaokamaile)

Homesick for my family this week, I fell in love with this song, again.  Written by Damon Williams and a Hawaiian translation by Charles Kaʻupu, the song feels like it was written by my own heart.

And Kealʻii Reichel is THE VOICE to sing it.  So sensitive.  So perfect.

Nothing else to say. Simple. Perfect.  Yup.

*Please click HERE to visit Kealiʻi’s website.

5. Olinda Road (Pure Heart’s recording on the album Pure Heart)

I love this classic instrumental track from Pure Heart’s debut album.

Pure Heart was awesome!  A band made up of Jon Yamasato, Lopaka Colon and Jake Shimabukuro.  These young guys rocked!  I think I played this CD so many times that it overheated in my CD player.  Ha!

This track features each of them in a special way–Jake really shines on the ukulele (as usual!)  Lopaka’s Latin-infused percussion rocks!  (Are those bongos he’s playing?!)  And Jon is jamming on the guitar.  A great mix, for sure!

I remember listening to this track and having images of guys putting surfboards into a van and heading to the beach.  Does the song have anything to do with that?  Who knows… but that’s the image that I got.

And it’s an image that always made me smile.

I love the group Pure Heart.  And I love that it makes me feel younger when I listen to ‘em.  Mahalo for that, guys.

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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