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Posts Tagged ‘music’

Jason Poole, Accidental Hawaiian Crooner, Molokai, Pilipo Solatorio, Hawaiian Music, Halawa Valley, Running, Bruce Springsteen, Born To Run

I went to the gym today. And I went with a purpose.

I went to run.

Ok… nothing major. Not a marathon-length run. Just a few easy miles on the treadmill. But it still feels like a big deal.

My body has given me a lot of grief this past year. I’ve been going to see a great physical therapist twice a week for about 5 months.  It’s been rough, even painful at times. But I trust her, she knows what she’s doing. And I’m getting better. I’m getting better.

A while back, I asked her if it would be safe for me to start running again. She wasn’t keen on the idea.

Last week, I laced up my running shoes and went to the gym and ran. Twice. 

I didn’t fall apart. It didn’t seem to make my body worse than it was. It didn’t undo the work we’d done in therapy.

So I went back to the gym today and got up on the treadmill. I had prepared a playlist of songs, some of my favorite Hawaiian tunes that I knew would make me feel inspired.

But when I pushed PLAY, my fingers must have slipped because instead of hula classics, I heard Bruce Springsteen’s voice booming in my headphones. I like “The Boss” and his music. I’ve got a couple of his CDs loaded into my iPod, but I don’t really know his music. Let’s just say I like what I’m familiar with.

And even though his music wasn’t what I was expecting to hear, I decided to stick with it and settled into my run.

After some time had passed, I found myself wondering about this whole new “beginning to run again” phase in my life. Was I crazy to be doing this? Was I risking doing even more damage to my body?

I did a quick check in: my posture was decent, I wasn’t out of breath, my shoulders were properly aligned, my stride was even. And I wasn’t hurting. Most of all I wasn’t hurting.

And I was enjoying myself. I was smiling.

And just at that moment, his voice rang in my ear: Baby we were born to run!

In Hawaiian traditions, I hear the elders, the kūpuna, talk about learning to look for and read the hōʻailona, the signs.

I think Bruce gave me one today.

Mahalo for that, dude.

Right on.

*How are YOU doing today? Drop me a line! I’d love to hear from you.

P.S.  Bruce’s music was a perfect running soundtrack.  His songs are full of stories and really beautiful (and sometimes funny) poetic imagery.  I’ll be listening to him a lot.  Right on.



What music do you turn to for inspiration?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Jason Poole, Accidental Hawaiian Crooner, Molokai, Hawaii, NYC, urban strummer, ukulele, record player, music, musical inspriration

Does music inspire YOU?

When I need some inspiration to help me to create something new, I turn to music.

When I need some inspiration to get up and move, I turn to music.

When I need some inspiration to quiet down and turn inward, I turn to music.

Music is medicine to me.  It reaches down inside me and touches me like nothing else can.

And I know I’m not alone in this.

So here’s my question for you:  What music do YOU turn to for inspiration?

Not just Hawaiian music.  Any music.  What helps you/motivates you/inspires you?

I’d love to hear from you.  Please leave your thoughts in a comment below.

Happy Aloha Friday, Gang!

Much Aloha,



I tip my hat to the songwriters…

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Over the past few weeks, I’ve posted that I’ve been attempting to write my first set of songs.

I managed to pull together 2 children’s songs for some of the kids I worked with this spring.

And I set out to compose some simple songs about Molokai and Hālawa Valley.  And what it means to be “The Accidental Hawaiian Crooner.”

It’s hard work.

Growing up in the musical theater scene, I loved singing other people’s songs.  When I sang with the jazz bands in my father’s club, I sang other people’s songs.  When I went to school and studied vocal performance, I sang other people’s songs.  In the NYC theater scene and cabaret scene, I loved to sing (you guessed it!) other people’s songs.

Singing other people’s songs makes me happy.

I don’t remember a time where I thought, “I could write a better song than this.”  I don’t remember sitting in my music theory classes thinking, “One day, I’ll write a song that sounds like…”  Nope.  It didn’t cross my mind.

So imagine how surprised I was when I felt like I needed to start on this wild songwriting journey!  And then to have Pops say, “Iakona, what are you waiting for?  You HAVE to write your own songs now.  It’s how you can share what you’re learning.”

Um… (gulp!)  OK?  I guess I can take a stab at it?

So I’ve got a few simple songs started.  I mean they are R.O.U.G.H.  Not finished.  Not polished.  Not very pretty at this stage.  But they’re coming along.  Slowly.

On my long run on the treadmill today, I listened to a great mix of tunes by some of my favorite singer-songwriters.

I am so amazed at what they were able to achieve!

And I want to humbly tip my hat to the songwriters.  You all make such a difficult task look easy.

Thank you for sharing your music.

Thank you for letting folks like me listen and learn.

Mahalo for that!

*Do YOU have any songwriting tips you’d like to share with me?  PLEASE send ‘em my way!  Thanks, gang.



Thursday, April 29, 2010

Coffee growing on Molokai


It’s one of my favorite things in the world. I love having a freshly brewed cup first thing in the morning.

I also love sipping a cup of REALLY STRONG coffee that has been sitting on a heat source for far too long.

I love it.

And I’m NOT a coffee snob.

I love the coffee from the islands, of course.

But …

I can also totally get down with a “cuppa Joe” from the gas station.

When I was working my corporate gig here in NYC, I would buy a “bucket size” coffee every morning and then drink that until lunchtime. Yes, it would get cold. And, yes, I would continue to drink it as I made my morning rounds.

I can hear coffee aficionados gasping in horror: Sipping a cup of coffee all morning? Egads!

But like I said, I’d order a “bucket size” coffee. It was cheaper than getting a bunch of smaller, fresh cups. And since I’d paid for it, I was determined to drink it all. I’ll admit, it’s an ACQUIRED taste, for sure!

Have you guys been to Coffees of Hawaiʻi on Molokai? It’s a coffee drinker’s paradise. Some of the beans grow RIGHT THERE on the property! Their little café serves up delicious coffee treats. Their gift shop has all sorts of cool stuff—and features work made by local artists! (Which is totally cool because WE’VE GOTTA SUPPORT THE LOCAL ARTISTS! )

And they have LIVE music several times a week!

Coffee, locally produced arts and crafts AND live music. Sounds like heaven, right?

(I’ll be doing a BIG BLOG POST on them soon! But please check out their website here.)

Here’s the irony: I love coffee. And … Molokai has FANTASTIC locally grown coffee readily available for sale and consumption. And …

I don’t drink coffee when I’m in Hālawa Valley.


I know… I still can’t really explain it. The Hālawa Valley cabin is virtually coffee-free. There are a few plasic canisters of the instant stuff tucked away on the shelves. I’m sure it’s only there for the guests who come to visit and/or stay.

But Mom and Pops Solatorio don’t drink it!

They’ve never said that I shouldn’t drink it. They’ve never stood with their hands on their hips and told me that coffee is evil. Or wrong. I think they might have even offered a cup of the instant java to me the first time I stayed there.

But it’s not necessary for them to have a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. Or late in the afternoon. Or right before going to bed at night. They can survive without coffee— EVER!

I was shocked. And I was terrified.

As a coffee lover ( AND as a New Yorker who truly believed that he NEEDED his cup of liquid magic in the morning in order to function as a normal human being) I was blown away that I’d ended up in a coffee-free zone!


It happens every time. I get terrible headaches from caffeine withdrawals. But those pass in a few days. And the wonder of being in the historic and wild Hālawa Valley makes it easy to forget about the pain.


I survive. Every time I go there I think I’m not going to make it. But I do. And don’t even need it— desperately–when we leave the valley.

But of course, when we pass a place that offers it, I take full advantage of the situation and buy the BIGGEST cup of coffee they have.

(BTW: My coffee habit ALWAYS resumes the minute I leave Molokai. I don’t know that I’ll ever be coffee-free!)

I know there are coffee lovers out there. And I want to hear from you!

What is that YOU love about the stuff?