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Posts Tagged ‘Long Story Short’

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!

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