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Posts Tagged ‘Moe Keale’

The Crooner’s Weekly TOP 5 (9.19.12)

Wednesday, September 19, 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. Ei Nei (Lena Machado’s recording on the album Hawaiian Song Bird)

One of my favorite voices from the past is Aunty Lena Machado.  And while her voice and this song are both considered to be vintage by some folks, in my mind they’re also timeless.

One of my favorite things to hear when I’m on Molokai is when one of the kūpuna (elders) calls out so sweetly to someone across the room, “Hui!  Ei nei… aloha!  Aloha mai!”  (“You there!  Darling!  Love from me to you!”)

There’s a great story in the book, LENA MACHADO: SONGBIRD OF HAWAI’I that describes Aunty Lena’s relationship with her husband, Uncle Lu.

Listening to the song takes me back to when I was a little boy, staying in my grandparents’ house in Pennsylvania.  After dinner was finished and the dishes had been washed, they’d turn out the overhead lights and the kitchen would be lit by a tiny light over the sink.  We’d all go into the other room to watch television, with my grandparents holding hands while they walked.

Ei nei…

2. Nā ʻOno O Ka ʻĀina (Aunty Edith Kanakaʻole’s recording on the album Hiʻipoi I Ka ʻĀina Aloha)

I love this album and I love this particular track.  Here’s why:

This piece is dedicated to Aunty Edith Kanakaʻole and inspired by her song, Ka Uluwehi O Ke Kai as well as her teachings.  The composition, attributed to Kalani Meinecke and George Kahumoku in the album’s liner notes, describes different types of taros (Aunty Edith’s favorites) and is done like a hymeni-style (hymn-like) chant with beautiful vocal harmonies.

The last verse of the piece will be instantly recognizable to so many people as the group HAPA used it to close their legendary recording of Ka Uluwehi O Ke Kai.

Note to self: I need to make this part of my repertoire!

*Please click HERE to visit the website of the Edith Kanakaʻole Foundation.

3. A Lei Of Aloha (Moe Keale’s recording on the album Imagine)

Wanna hear a beautiful song that really describes the spirit of Aloha?  This is it.

Incredibly simple–and yet so deep. How do you describe the Aloha spirit?  Well, this song’s lyrics do a great job of illustrating something so easily felt but so difficult to put into words.

And who better to sing it than Uncle Moe Keale?  His voice… his voice…

I’ve been listening to this song on repeat.  I like to think that the more I listen, the more it sinks into my bones.

*Please click HERE to visit a page that display’s the song’s lyrics.

4. One Day Soon (Ernie Cruz Jr’s recording on the album Portaits)

Oooh!  This song is smooth!

And that awesome slap-strum that makes such a fun beat!  I bet you can’t listen to it without moving your body.  I find myself snapping along while I listen–like I’m back in my father’s jazz club.

The song reminds me of a Stevie Wonder tune.  Old-school soul groove all the way–island style.  Love it.

5. Noenoe (Cyril Pahinui’s recording on the album 6 & 12 String Slack Key)

When I’m stressed out, I put on some amazing kī hōʻalu, slack key guitar, music.  It soothes me.  Reaches down inside me and acts a pressure release.  Seriously.  I can feel my shoulders drop away from my ears…

This song, played by the one and only Cyril Pahinui, is like listening to the soundtrack of a dream.  Ah!  Those arpeggios!  The notes mix and swirl like colors on an artist’s palette.

A true master, he bends the strings and the rhythms under his skilled fingers.

*Please click HERE to visit Uncle Cyril’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!

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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 www.mele.com 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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The Crooner’s Weekly “TOP 5″ (9.7.11)

Wednesday, September 7, 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.  Nohea (Kealoha Kalama’s recording on the album Hawaiian Classics)

A hula classic!  And sung by a woman who is not only a kumu hula (master hula teacher) but also a recipient of the Hawaiian Academy of Recording Arts Lifetime Achievement Award!

I love the song.  And I love the “old-school” sound that Aunty Kealoha brings.  A strong sense of legato line allows for the hula dancer to dance smoothly and evenly–even if the tempo is quick.

According to this album’s liner notes, this recording was part of a 1979 release, Pohai Kealoha.  Sadly, I think that album is now out of print.  But I’m grateful to have a recording of this fantastic track!

2.  The Water Is Wide (Moe Keale’s recording on the album Imagine)

Uncle Moe Keale’s voice knocks my socks off.

While this song doesn’t have Hawaiian origins (different sources list it as an English or Scottish song) Uncle Moe makes it sound like a Hawaiian song.

I’ve heard so many other wonderful recordings of this classic, but Uncle Moe’s is the version that made me stop and listen.  And I’m not ashamed to admit it: it brought a tear to my eye…

A simple arrangement, featuring the sound of an ʻukulele, allows for the voice to really convey the meaning of the lyrics.  Stunning.

3. Lei Pua Kenikeni (Mark Yamanaka’s recording on the album Lei Pua Kenikeni)

Ah!  What a voice!  And what a song!

I can’t get enough of Mark Yamanka’s sweet falsetto.  It’s AWESOME!  It makes me smile from ear to ear.  (And small-kine jealous, too!  Nah… not really…)

This song, attributed to John Kameaaloha Almeida, celebrates the beauty of the magnificent pua kenikeni, a favorite flower of many of my friends.

If you want to listen to sweet falsetto, look no further.  This is it!

4.  White Sandy Beach (Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s recording on the album Facing Future)

I was in a store the day and this song started playing over the sound system.  Yes… I’ve heard it a million times.  Yes, it’s a contemporary classic.  And yes… it still made me cry.

I love the song.  I love its gentle and simple lyrics.  I love how the ʻukulele picks a delicate a solo line.

And, OF COURSE, I love the voice of the one and only Bruddah IZ.

This song–no matter where or when I hear it–makes me stop to listen.  Mahalo e IZ for sharing this recording with all of us.  (We miss you!)

5.  Sophisticated Hula (Herb Ohta, Jr.’s recording on the album ʻUkulele Dream)

You all know how much I love the ʻukulele, right?  It’s no secret.  I’m just a simple strummer.

But when I listen to someone like Herb Ohta, Jr. play the ʻukulele as a lead instrument, it makes my heart smile.  I love this hapa haole tune and I love the arrangement he plays–with the ʻukulele “singing” the lead voice.

Listening to him makes me want to learn how to pick instead of just strum.  He’s fantastic!!

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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