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Posts Tagged ‘Melveen Leed’

The Crooner’s Weekly TOP 5 (8.29.12)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

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.  Beyond The Reef (The Waikiki Hula Boys’ recording on the album Hula)

I scored a copy of this classic album from 1954 when it was released on CD–complete with Japanese liner notes!–a few years ago.  It’s awesome!

Voices are just “part of the band” in this group with simple “Ooohs.”  The lineup of musicians include: Harry Baty, Pua Almeida, Sam Kaapuni, Danny Stewart, Sam Koki, Bud Smith and Andy Iona!  How cool is that?

Super “period perfect” in sound–like stepping through a sound portal directly into 1954.  I love it.  Dreamy!

And this crooner classic song is given the royal treatment by these amazing musicians.

2. Pupule (Crazy) (Melveen Leed’s recording on the album Melveen’s County Hits)

I love Willie Nelsons’s country classic, CRAZY.  And I love the voice of Aunty Melveen.  Put ‘em together and you get an awesome combination!

But wait! It get’s even better!  Then she sings part of the song in Hawaiian!  Come on–how cool is that?  (Queen of Hawaiian Country, Aunty Melveen never disappoints.)

I always say that Hawaiian music and country music are close cousins.  And with this song, you can listen and see for yourself.

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

Ah!  An uptempo, bouncy hula sung by one of my favorite voices, Ata Damasco!

Similar to some other songs, this song names a famous chief and the beloved flower lei attributed to nā moku ʻehā, the four islands of Oʻahu, Maui, Hawaiʻi Island and Kauaʻi.  But this song has a fantastic swing–it’s a standout AND it stands alone.  Right on!

*Please click HERE to visit Ata’s page at Ululoa Records.

4. Lehuaʻula (Amy Hānaialiʻi Gilliom & Willie K’s recording on the album Hawaiian Tradition)

When I took my first tentative steps in hula, I listened to this album all the time.  And, truth be told, I practiced basic hula hands and hula footwork to this song, too!

It always will hold a special place in my heart.

Amy’s wonderful and soothing voice–and the steady hula rhythm!–makes this an ideal song to play when practicing your steps.

*Please click HERE to visit Amy’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Willie Ks website.

5. Kamalani (Herb Ohta Jr’s recording on the album ʻUkulele Dream)

This song has been inspiring me to pick up my ʻukulele this week.  To pick it up and PICK individual notes on the ʻukulele instead of strumming it.

I’m a simple strummer–but this song and Herb’s musical genius, makes me want to be able to pick.  To be more versatile on the ukulele.  To become a better instrumental player.

Gotta love being inspired!

(And this song always makes me think of my buddies Tommy and Kbelle.  Cheers, guys!)

*Please click HERE to visit Herb Ohta Jr’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!

**Crooner Note:  This week’s TOP 5 is dedicated with love to the memory of a good friend, Braddah Allan.  Mahalo for encouraging me…  and for celebrating Hawaiian music and culture.  We miss you.

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

1. Niʻihau ( Kai Davis’ recording on the album Legends of Falsetto)

I was feeling like I needed a good, solid dose of AMAZING Hawaiian falsetto singing today.  And I turned to Uncle Kai Davis–one of the best.  Hands down.

And this song is so outrageously wonderful–simple with verses that are only two lines long.  A simple chord structure.  And yet it evokes the essence of the islands INSTANTLY.

I am fascinated by the island of Niʻihau and hope to be able to visit there someday.  Until then, I’m happy to listen to Uncle Kai’s voice sing its praises.

2. Paniolo Country (Melveen Leed’s recording on the album Melveen’s Hawaiian Country Hits)

My mom’s family lives in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.  Country music is a driving force in that terrain.  I remember listening to awesome story songs when I’d go there to visit as a kid.

When I first heard Hawaiian music, I instantly recognized the similarities.  A story presented in language of the people, for the people.

And Aunty Melveen Leed, with her signature voice and amazing Hawaiian-country style, marries the two beautifully!  This song talks about “Paniolo country” or Hawaiian cowboy country.  A nod to her Molokai roots, maybe?

Love the song.  Love her.

*Please click HERE to visit Aunty Melveen’s page at Tidal Wave Entertainment, Inc.

3. Hualālai (Nā Palapalai’s recording on the album Ka Pua Hae Hawaiʻi)

Wanna hear voices that soar into the stratosphere?  Check out this recording!

It’s no secret: I LOVE NĀ PALAPALAI!  They keep that “old-style” Hawaiian music alive and in the public eye–and ear!

This track, written by Uncle Dennis Kamakahi, is a favorite for sure.  Their arrangement of it rocks.  True story!

*Please click HERE to visit Nā Palapalai’s website.

4. Hawaiian Eyes (Jon Osorio & Randy Borden’s recording on the album Hawaiian Eyes)

You guys know how much I love a good ’70′s vibe.  And this song–complete with some killer jazz flute!–rocks me to my core!

And yes… this song was on the list from last week, but IT’S STILL ROCKING MY CORE THIS WEEK.

This is an instant “feel good” song for me.  I can’t help it–I start swaying and my neck starts swinging.  Awesome!

And the “hand claps” section that comes in on the chorus = over the top awesomeness!

5. Old Man Pueo (Keola Beamer’s recording on the album Island Born)

I needed some Keola Beamer music in my world this week.

And I love this song–the story of how he encountered Old Man Pueo–a Hawaiian owl.

This song talks about yearning to be free.  And sometimes NYC can feel kind of–well–restricting.  So many people.  So many obligations.  I understand that craving.  I get it.

Mahalo, Keola,for sharing this song–both its story and your wonderful musicianship.

*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″ (11.16.11)

Wednesday, November 16, 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. Kalalea (Ed Kenney’s recording on the album MY HAWAII)

Another legendary Hawaiian crooner, that I listen to all the time (and study his every vocal move!) is Ed Kenney.  A giant MAHALO to a very kind and generous Hawaiian woman at a picnic in NYC a few years ago.  She said I needed to track down some of his recordings and listen to them.  No need to tell me twice!  I tracked down a few of his albums and quickly understood why she’d recommended him to me.  His voice is smooth and graceful and oh, so elegant.  A treat for the ears!

This song celebrates the island of Kauaʻi–and the cliffs that overlook Anahola.

I first heard this song at a “backyard jam session” kanikapila.  It was delicious and oozed island flavor.  And then I heard Ed Kenney’s version which is totally different.  It has the same melody, but none of the roughness.  It’s smooth.  Polished.  Orchestrated.  It totally celebrates the era it was recorded in–the late 1950s.

Both versions are great.  This week, I swooned as he crooned.  Right on.

2. Lei Lokelani (The Kahauanu Lake Trio’s recording on the album At the Kaimana Beach Hotel)

I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of listening to the amazing recordings of the Kahauanu Lake Trio.  I mean, come on!  Does it really get much better than that?

This song, attributed to Charles E. King, describes a lei made of the lovely lokelani or Maui rose.  It’s not difficult to infer that perhaps the kaona–or “hidden meaning”–might be the comparison of the flower to a beloved.

 

Even though the song is about the Maui rose, this recording takes me to Waikīkī instantly, sitting oceanside and listening to Hawaiian music while watching the sunset.  Ah!

*Please click HERE to read a great article written about Uncle K. from 2003.

3. Honolulu Blue and Green (Melveen Leed’s recording on the album Melveen’s Hawaiian Country Hits)

Aunty Melveen’s voice rocks!  I love its texture–kind of rough and playful and smoky and sultry–all at the same time.  I’ve tried to describe it to friends and the closest comparison I can come up with is that it’s similar to the sound of Dusty Springfield.  But Aunty Melveen’s voice is totally unique.  Totally beautiful.  Totally hers.

This song, sung entirely in English (except for the Hawaiian place names) is a great tune that Aunty Melveen brings to life so beautifully.  I’ve heard stories about how she went to Nashville–and I imagine her singing this song while she was there and homesick for her beloved islands.  Wondering why she’d ever left and dreaming about her homecoming.

It’s got a great 1960s feel is both country and Hawaiian at the same time.  (I always say that Hawaiian music and country music are close cousins!)

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

4. Keawaiki (Keola & Kapono Beamer’s recording on the album Hawaii’s Keola & Kapono Beamer)

From the opening notes of the guitar, you can tell this is a Beamer family recording–their distinctive style comes through loud and clear.

And what’s most exciting about this recording is that it takes an old classic song like Keawaiki and puts a somewhat contemporary spin on it–with modern (at least for the time!) instrumentation and phrasing.  The album was originally release in 1975,  during a time when Hawaiʻi was undergoing a huge renaissance and re-claiming a sense of cultural identity and pride.  How exciting to see a duo of young brothers recording a classic song and releasing it for broad/wide audience.

When I pulled this CD from my collection and looked at the cover, my heart “squeezed” a little bit.  When I look at the faces of Keola and Kapono, I can see the face of their mother, Aunty Nona Beamer.  I miss her.  But seeing her in her sons’ faces makes me smile, too.  Like she’s not really gone.  Her line continues… not only in her family, but in those that she taught and in those that she touched.

*Please click HERE to visit Keola’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Kapono’s website.

5. ʻOhana Slack Key (Rev. Dennis Kamakahi’s recording on the album ʻOhana)

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

And I love the music of Uncle Dennis.  (That’s also no secret!  Ha!)

This week, I wanted to close my eyes while I listened to this song.  We used to do that in music classes when I was in elementary school.  It allowed for deep listening.  And sometimes, it allowed us to “see pictures” in our minds–creating scenes that followed the sounds we were hearing.

When I closed my eyes to listen to this song, the image that came to mind was a group of people having a conversation.  A dialogue.  With activity happening in the background.  Pretty interesting that the song is called ʻOhana Slack Key–ʻohana being the Hawaiian word for family.

Pops tells stories about growing up in Hālawa Valley on Molokai.  When the family was done eating, often times there would be a kanikapila, a music session.  I imagine conversations happening, music playing and activity like cleaning up after the meal–all happening at the same time.  Peaceful yet active.  Just like this song.  Different voices and different energies moving together.  Weaving together.

Awesome.

*Please click HERE to visit Uncle Dennis’ 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!

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