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Posts Tagged ‘Lono’

Aloha gang!

I am so excited to share the news:

Our album, MELE O HĀLAWA, has made it to the preliminary ballot for the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards!

(Note: This isn’t the final ballot. This is the BIG ballot, the preliminary one, that has hundreds of entries. Hopefully enough folks will vote for it and it will appear on final ballot. At that point, we can consider ourselves official “nominees.”)

During the first discussions we had about the documentary SONS OF HĀLAWA, we talked about the necessity and the challenge of incorporating music into the film. That can be a difficult-to-navigate area, a full-time job. I was naive. I was optimistic. I said to Matt Yamashita, the filmmaker, “Why don’t I just write songs for the film? Then you can have them and we’ll be good to go.”

It never dawned on me that writing songs might be, um… a bit challenging  Ha!  As soon as I realized what I’d said, I knew I was in for a wild ride!

Thankfully, the soundtrack for the film included music by other folks as well. Pops, an accomplished haku mele (songwriter) contributed two songs to the album. And Molokai’s own amazing musician/producer, Lono, contributed two songs. With my own two compositions, we had six original tracks and we used traditional music from Molokai to round out the album. Each song was chosen for its own special reasons, making it a deeply personal collection of heart-filled songs from Molokai.

One of the greatest things the album offers is a rare glimpse into the rich and diverse musical landscape of Molokai and Hālawa Valley. Some of these songs on the album have never really been heard outside of the valley!  It’s intense!

We recorded the tracks in marathon-style when I was on island for a week. Lono put together beautifully layered instrumental tracks. Pops and I sang our faces off in the studio. And then Lono finessed and produced the finished musical project in time for the songs to be woven into stunningly beautiful documentary, SONS OF HĀLAWA.

What started out as a soundtrack for the film has become a legacy album–a way for future generations to hear, study and (most importantly) enjoy the music of one of Hawaii’s most beautiful and remote islands.

It’s such an honor to see the album’s journey and the film’s journey, reaching audiences we never dreamed of.

And it’s a blessing to know that future audiences, future generations, will be able to witness it all, too.

If you are a HARA member, please consider voting for our “little album that could” in the following categories:

Group of the Year: Pilipo and Jason with Lonomusic

Island Music Album of the Year: MELE O HĀLAWA

Favorite Entertainer of the Year: Pilipo and Jason with Lonomusic

Album of the Year: MELE O HĀLAWA

Who would have thought that a kupuna (elder) from Molokai’s remote Hālawa Valley and a dude from New York City (along with the always-amazing Lonomusic!) would record an album together?

MELE O HĀLAWA is a dream come true.

The album is for sale online via MKAloha.com and Mele.com.

#SupportHawaiianMusic!

Mahalo. Thank you.

And…

Right on.

2 Comments

A MUSIC VIDEO: HEALING WATERS

Monday, December 14, 2015

Have you seen it?

Matt Yamashita (Quazifilms) made a fantastic music video for my original song, HEALING WATERS!

I love it so much!  Matt recorded new footage of me singing down by the river in Hālawa Valley the day after the Molokai premier of the documentary Sons of Hālawa!  (Yup. True story. That really is the river behind me–no green screen involved!  We were so blessed with lighting and weather conditions that afternoon.  Matt set up a microphone for me to use a prop along with my headphones to create a “studio vibe.”  And here’s a fun fact for you: I used a recording of HEALING WATERS from Matt’s phone to sing along with. The phone was discretely tucked into my pocket.)

The video weaves together the newly recorded footage along with images from the film. It’s spectacular and I hope you’ll click on the link above and watch it. (And re-watch again and again!)

The video originally premiered on Facebook on Thanksgiving day. (It’s been viewed over 3,000 times already!) That was something to be thankful for, for sure! I was excited to learn he’d recently posted it on Youtube, too. Now I can share it with you!

Another video is being created for my song LIFE IN HĀLAWA, also featured on the soundtrack for the film. (Note: The songs have all been amazingly arranged and recorded by Molokai’s own LONO.  And there are 2 of his fantastic original mele on the soundtrack, too!)

More details about that and the film and the amazingly cool experience of attending the film’s premier at the Honolulu International Film Festival coming soon!

Until then, kick back and relax and let your mind go to beautiful Hālawa Valley with this video.

Right on.

With warm Aloha

Jason

 

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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. 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″ (10.26.11)

Wednesday, October 26, 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!

**And I wanted to send a special birthday shout out to my buddy, Grace!  HAU’OLI LĀ HĀNAU E GRACE!!

Here are the TOP 5 SONGS from my iPod this week:

1. Lei Aloha  (Chick Daniels’ recording on the album A Beachboy Party)

I am so obsessed with this song!  (Ok, I’m so obsessed with this whole album!)

Are you guys familiar with it?  The album is like a little peephole into the past.  In 1963, Waltah Clarke threw a party for some of the legendary beachboys of Waikīkī (no… not the California band, the Beach Boys!) and recorded music from the event–and produced this album!  And its billed as “Duke Kahanamoku presents: A Beachboy Party with Waltah Clarke.”  The legendary Duke Kahanamoku!  True story!  The album makes me feel like I was one of the privileged folks in attendance that night.  And YOU can feel that way, too, just by listening!

This song, written by one of the most famous Waikīkī beachboys, Chick Daniels, rocks!  A great hapa-haole tune that makes me grin from ear to ear!  The beauty is in the simplicity of the arrangement.  Vocals, ‘ukulele, steel guitar, bass–and maybe a guitar?    I don’t have the names of all of the musicians that played that night, but it must have been a stellar lineup.

Chick Daniels’ vocals–and his stylistic choices–provide a shining example of the style of music that was being presented during the “golden days” of Waikīkī’s beachboys.  A rare glimpse.  A treat!

*Please click HERE to read more about Chick Daniels and the Waikīkī beachboys.

2. Ka Pua Mohala (Kūpaoa’s recording on the album English Rose)

This song came on while I was cooking dinner the other night.  And I had to stop chopping vegetables and just listen…

Written by the Hawaiian langauge master, Puakea Nogelmeir, it’s not a piece for someone looking for a song with just a few lyrics!  In fact, after listening to it, I had to go find the album’s liner notes–which, thankfully, include the lyrics!–and I was amazed at how complex they are.  Complex, but so rich!  And so wonderful!  The sound of ‘Ōlelo Hawaiʻi delights my ears.  And Puakea’s compositions are among my all-time favorite.

And when paired with the stunning harmonies of Kūpaoa, it’s a guaranteed win!  Their voices dance around each other, weaving in and out and creating a beautiful tapestry of sound.

I love this mele.  And I love their recording.

*Please click HERE to visit Kūpaoa’s website.

*Please click HERE to read more about Puakea Nogelmeir.

3. Kauaʻi Beauty (Lono’s recording on the album Old Style II)

I love Lono’s voice!  It takes me to Molokai instantly–he’s a pillar of the musical scene there!  And I love the “old style” he brings to the songs.

This classic mele, attributed to Henry Waiʻau, describes the beauty of the island of Kauaʻi.  Is there perhaps another meaning to the song?  Could the kaona (hidden meaning) be about a beloved?  One can only infer, but it’s not hard to imagine…

It’s awesome.  Lono’s recording makes me feel like I’m sitting at a kanikapila–jamming with other musicicans at sunset on Molokai.  Mahalo for that, Lono!

*Please click HERE to visit Lono’s website.

4. Bring Me Your Cup (Pure Heart’s recording on the album Pure Heart)

A blast from the past!

When I bought this album, I was just learning to play the ʻukulele.  This was one of the songs my friends and I learned so that we could jam together.  This music warmed many cold NYC nights.

So awesome!   So much fun!

So many memories come flooding back when I hear the fantastic talents of these young guys!  A favorite track from a favorite album.

5. Haunani Kī Hoʻalu (Kuʻuipo Kumukahi’s recording on the album Nā Hiwa Kupuna O Kuʻu One Hānau)

Kī hoʻalu (slack key guitar) music soothes my weary body and soul.

And this week, I’ve been delighted to by this recording.

According to the album’s liner notes, she wrote the song for her friend, the one and only Haunani Apoliona.

*Please click HERE to visit Kuʻuipo’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!

**10.31.11 Crooner Note:  Please note the correction!  The friend that inspired Ku’uipo Kumukahi’s composition is the one and only Haunani Apoliona and not Haunani Apolima as I’d originally posted.  A giant MAHALO to Auntie Maria for catching that!   Please see Auntie Maria’s comment below for more information.  (Auē! No wonder I didn’t recognize the name when I typed that!  Ha!  Now I do!)  

4 Comments

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. Mauna Kea (George Kainapau’s recording on the album Legends of Falsetto)

Want to learn how to sing a beautiful and flowing (legato) line?  Studying this recording will teach you, for sure!  The song, attributed to Mokihana Fernandez, is a classic Hawaiian ballad that delights in a slow and sleepy tempo.

And WOW!  The first time I listened to the stellar vocal talents of George Kainapau, I was blown away!  He sings with such control! I’m amazed each and every time.  And his falsetto NEVER waivers–it’s strong ’til the end!  (There’s a good reason he’s referred to as the “Hawaiian Falsetto King!”)  I’m a huge fan–no doubt about it.

2.  Lei ʻOhu (Ata Damasco’s recording on the album Paʻina Hou!)

It’s no secret that I love the amazing voice of Ata Damasco.  His phrasing of the lyrics, his seemingly-effortless falsetto, his joyful spirit–all of that makes for a wonderful recording.  And this song, attributed to George E. Akiu, is yet another fantastic vehicle for Ata’s distinctive sound.

It’s a song that celebrates the islands–each verse honoring a different island.  Upbeat and fun, it brings a smile to my face.

And CONGRATS to Ata on his Na Hoku Hanohano Award this year for his album Somewhere Up Ahead!  (Best Religious Album 2011)

3. Ipo Lei Manu (Lono’s recording on the album Old Style)

Uncle Lono’s voice is a familiar sound on the island of Molokai.  Perhaps that’s why he’s on my mind this week.

I love this classic love song, written by Queen Kapiʻolani for her beloved huband, King Kalākaua.  This song has been recorded by so many artists!  And I love the way Lono delivers it–straightforward and direct.  Haunting and beautiful.

The song’s story (and a brief bio of Queen Kapiʻolani) can be found on the Huapala site–it’s so sad that King Kalākaua never heard its sweet melody…

4.  Makaha (The Kaʻau Crater Boy’s recording on the album Making Waves)

I was delighted to “rediscover” this song this week!  It was one of favorites when I first started listening to Hawaiian music–and it still is!

Written by the amazing Troy Fernandez, the song describes Mākaha, an area on the island of Oʻahu known for its legendary surf scene, and some of its best-known personalities.  (Author Stuart H. Coleman wrote a great book about Mākaha called FIERCE HEART–and it was our first selection in TAHC’s Book Club!  Click HERE to read more.)

The song fuses a Hawaiian vibe and a Jamaican/reggae vibe–a sound that dominated the airwaves when the album was released in 1996.  Contemporary island style!

When I listen to it, I imagine a great party on the beach.  How can you not love that?!

5.  (E Kuʻu) Morning Dew (Ray Kāne’s recording on the album Punahele)

I love kī hoʻalu (slack key guitar) music.  There’s something almost magical about it–something about the sound relaxes my mind, body and spirit.

And this recording by Uncle Ray Kāne is one of my favorites.  The song was written by the legendary Hawaiian musician Eddie Kamae.  (Kāne lists the song as simply “Morning Dew” on the album.)

As I’m writing up the TOP 5 list today, the sun is just coming up here in NYC.  I love looking out my window at a sleepy street.  Granted, I can’t see delicate morning dew from my window–but the song just feels “right” this morning.  Ah…

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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