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Posts Tagged ‘Mark Keali’i Ho’omalu’

The Crooner’s Weekly TOP 5 (11.14.12)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

ukulele Croonerʻs Weekly TOP 3 iPod Jason Poole Accidental Hawaiian Crooner

I LOVE HAWAIIAN MUSIC!  True story.

And I listen to it all the time!  Especially when I’m on the move–either walking along NYC’s crowded sidewalks or riding the rails on the subway through the tunnels under the concrete.  (I’m convinced that it helps to keep me sane in this crazy city!)

I love a really wide variety of it: vintage, traditional, contemporary, instrumental…

And I love sharing some of my favorites with you.

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

1. Waiʻoli (Mark Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu’s recording on the album Call It What You Like)

When I post that one of Kumu Mark’s songs has made my list, I know that it’s a potential “hot button.”  He has legions of fans as well as those that find problems with his recordings.  He takes traditional Hawaiian chant in a whole new direction.

But I love his recordings and the newness and the freshness that he brings to the classic repertoire.

And I love that because of his recordings and public persona, he’s introduced so many people to Hawaiian chant that may not have encountered it before.

It’s exciting to see that people are very “polarized” when it comes to him.  Exciting to see that Hawaiian music fans and those that are involved in Hawaiian culture are not passive people but passionate people.

Right on.

2. Beautiful Kauaʻi (The Al0ha Pumehana Serenader’s recording on the album Hula Gems)

About a billion years ago, when I was still taking hula classes, this is one of the first Hapa-Haole tunes I learned to sing/play/dance.  (No, I’m not talking about doing all of that at the same time!  Although that might be interesting…)

And if I’m not mistaken, that’s the smooth crooner-licious voice of the legendary kumu hula Darrell Lapenui singing the lead!  (Those of you in the know, please let me know if I’m mistaken about this!)  You can learn a ton about crooning from this one recording–his use of dips and slides and waves and curls.  It’s awesome!  (And the ʻukulele featured on this track is killer, too.  Simple and oh-so-right!)

(Note: There’s a fascinating little story about the song’s origins and different versions of one verse’s lyrics included in the book HE MELE ALOHA.  Because I fear the wrath of copyright attorneys, I’ll simply encourage to check it out!)

3. Holoholo Kaʻa (Nina & Bill’s recording on the album Hula Hula Lūʻau Style)

Yes.  I’ve written about this song before.  (I think THIS recording of it may have even been on a Weekly TOP 5 before!)  But there’s a good reason for this: IT’S A GREAT RECORDING!

I love the song.  It talks about a joy ride and car running out of gas and… and… and…

And it’s such a fun song to have at a backyard party where a hula dancer brings it to life.  I had the chance to see an older hula dancer illustrate the song once and let’s just say, I learned a lot.  My eyes were opened!  And it was good fun all around.

When you have a pairing of voice like those of Nina Kealiʻiwahamana and Bill Kaiwa and then add in a great kolohe (rascal) song like this, you have a winning combination, for sure.

4. Fish And Poi (Sean Naʻauao’s recording on the album Fish and Poi)

If you should find me in my apartment’s kitchen, I can guarantee you’ll hear Hawaiian music.  I always have some playing while I’m cooking.

And this week, I was enjoying some great Hawaiian music while I was baking some Halawa Valley-style pineapple bread for a friend’s birthday.   As I mixed the ingredients together, this song came on and I’ll admit it:  I had to stop mixing and take a short “rock star dance break.”  Yup.  I can’t listen to it without singing along and moving around.

And if you’re a fan of Hawaiian foods, it will make you HUNGRY.  Yup.  Once Sean starts listing all the ʻono grindz in the song’s chorus, you’ll be craving local food.

Guaranteed.

5. Keiki Slack Key (Sonny Chillingworth’s recording on the album Endlessly)

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

And this week, I thought I’d focus on a great piece recorded by the legendary Sonny Chillingworth.

This song has bright and playful repetitive themes that are reminiscent of children’s songs and dances.  And at while I was listening to it, I thought maybe that’s why it was called Keiki  (child/children) Slack Key.  Then, about half way through the song, it became really clear.  Kind of like Uncle Sonny had read my mind as was saying, “Are you STILL wondering about the song’s title, Jason?  Here.  Listen to this…”  Ha!  Give it a listen and you’ll see/hear what I mean.

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. Flowers of Paradise (Alfred Aholo Apaka’ recording on the album My Isle of Golden Dreams)

The golden voice of Hawaiian crooner Alfred Aholo Apaka never disappoints me.

This is a song that I only recently became reacquainted with.  I’d been asked about Hawaiian flowers and I searched thru my stack of CDs to see what songs mentioned different types/kinds.  Imagine how excited I was when I came across this one!

I think it would be perfect to do in a show–sharing Hawaiian botany via song.  That’s pretty cool.

2. ʻĀina o Lānaʻi (Aunty Genoa Keawe’s recording on the album Hulas of Hawaiʻi)

When I think of the hula classics, my mind automatically jumps to the one and only Aunty Genoa Keawe.  She set the standard for so many songs!  Her recordings are an encyclopedia of hula music.

And we don’t hear enough music from/about the island of Lānaʻi.  I was just talking about that the other day with a friend of mine.  So I decided I need to learn this song and sing it often!

*Please click HERE to visit Aunty Genoa’s website.

3. Kū Ka ʻOliʻoli Nā Moku (Mark Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu’s recording on the album Call It What You Like)

Hawaii’s rebel kumu hula and rebel chanter.  I love this recording.  I love the fact that he’s playing with “the classics.” Exploring them.  Showing how vital these chants still are today–and helping to introduce a new audience to the amazing poetry.

Yes.  I know there are people that don’t approve of what he’s doing.

And there are others that celebrate it.

I’m glad to have this recording.

*Please click HERE to read more about Kumu Mark Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu.

4. Still The One (The Kaʻau Crater Boys’ recording on the album Tropical Hawaiian Day)

You guys know how much I love a good ’70′s vibe.

And if you read my Weekly “TOP 5″ lists, you know I’m a huge fan of the group Kaʻau Crater Boys.  They had the ability to cover a super-familiar song and make it sound like it was new–and like Kaʻau Crater Boys original.  Amazing musicians who were able to infuse true island flavor into all of their stuff.

Originally released in the late 1970s by the group Orleans, I love what the Kaʻau Crater Boys did with it.

*Please click HERE to visit Ernie Cruz Jr’s myspace page.

*Please click HERE to visit Troy Fernandez’s website.

5. Molokaiʻi Longing (John Keawe’s recording on the album Beautiful Hula Dancer)

I love John Keawe and his special music.  And this song, in which he sings about the beauty of my beloved Molokai, really touches my heart.  Makes me homesick.

It was on Molokai that I first met John and his beautiful wife, Hope.

Special days in a special place.

*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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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.  He Pua Hau o Maleka ( Mark Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu’s recording on the album Call It What You Like)

I remember hearing Kumu Mark Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu’s recording–and being blown away!  I’d never heard oli (Hawaiian chant) presented this way.  I was confused.  I was excited.  It made me want to move my body!

This particular track is a favorite.  His treatment/arrangement of a traditional chant honoring King David Kalākaua has almost a military cadence to it.  I have the track on my iPod–and I’m always so pleased when it surprises me while I’m running on the treadmill.  The pounding rhythm and strong vocals revitalize me–body and spirit–and encourage me to press on.

I absolutely understand that some folks feel that traditional things like oli should remain unchanged.  I’m really intrigued by this daring and adventurous kumu.   As he says in his album’s title, “Call it what you like.”

2.  Lei Kukui (Raiatea’s recording on the album Hawaiian Blossom)

My all-time favorite lei to wear is the kukui nut lei… It’s a symbol of the island of Molokai.  AND… it doesn’t have a fragrance that chokes!  Ha!  So when I heard that Raiatea had recorded a song about the kukui lei, I was excited to hear it.

According to the album’s liner notes, the song was written by none other than Louis Moon Kauakahi and it was written for Raiatea.  So it’s a contemporary piece–but it’s written in classic hula style.  I can see a dancer in my mind’s eye when I listen to it–illustrating the song’s lyrics with gentle movements.

Raiatea’s lovely voice has imprinted this song on my heart.

(Crooner note:  I travel with a kukui nut lei that Pops gave me.  It’s in my backpack at all times.  You never know when you’ll need a lei!)

3.  Kawaipunahele (Kealiʻi Reichel’s recording on the album Kawaipunahele)

You guys know how much I love the music of Kealiʻi Reichel.  And this track is a favorite!  It’s one of the first songs I heard when I started listening to Hawaiian music.  My friend, Kalei, introduced me to his albums.

This past weekend, I had the chance to meet up with kumu Kealiʻi here in NYC at a talk-story/performance he gave.  (You can read more about that by clicking HERE.)  During that time, he shared the story behind that song and how it came to him at a time when he needed it most.  I like to think of songs like that as “gifts.”  A gift for him.  AND… a gift for us as the listeners.

If I’m not mistaken, there were even dance mixes made of this track!  Ha!  How cool is that!  (Anyone know where we can get those?  Drop me an email!!)

4.  Molokaʻi Aloha (Sterling Kalua’s recording on the album Molokaʻi Now!)

A contemporary song writen by Sterling Kalua and Bobby Pileggi, this song describes that island of Molokai’s special kind of Aloha.

This album was a limited release, a collection of Molokai music recorded on Molokai–a rare thing, indeed.  And this song was clearly written by someone who has experienced the island and all that she offers.  It makes me homesick for my Molokai ʻohana.  But it makes me smile, too…

5.  Anahola (Byron Yasui’s recording on the album Anahola)

I love the ʻukulele.  It’s no secret.  I believe that those 4 simple strings have the ability to make a person feel better.  True story.  And I love hearing someone who can REALLY JAM on the ʻukulele!  One of the all-time greats is Mr. Byron Yasui.

A musician’s musician, he’ll blow you away with his amazing skills!  And yet you don’t need a PhD in music appreciation to fall in love with his ʻukulele stylings.  On this track, which gives the album its title, he demonstrates how masterfully (and tenderly) the ʻukulele can be played.

And… I have the great pleasure of calling him, this musical genius, my friend.  Not only is he a stellar player, he’s also a great guy.

Please check out this album.   I think it will become a favorite!! (I can’t help but smile when I listen to it.)

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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