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Posts Tagged ‘Na Hiwa Kupuna O Ku’u One Hanau’

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. Kaʻu Nui ( The Kahauanu Lake Trio’s recording on the album At the Halekulani Hotel)

Oh!  That’s the  song!

This song is familiar to many people.  I’d certainly heard it before, but I wasn’t aware of the title.  (Too often, that’s the case:  I listened to so much Hawaiian music before I started to understand the language.  Unfortunately, that meant I was familiar with a song’s melody, but had no way to look it up!  Ah–another benefit to knowing even a little bit of Hawaiian!)

The song, written by Mary Kawena Pukui and Maddy Lam, celebrates the district of Kau on the island of Hawaii.  It describes the amazing land and it’s beauty.  I love songs that teach me about an area!  The best way to learn!

And the Kahauanu Lake Trio’s rendition has got a “swing” to it that will get into your bones!

(A special “shout out” to the students at Molokai High School who sang this Nā Mele O Maui song competition earlier this year, which honored the music of Uncle Kahauanu Lake.  Right on, gang!  You all sounded FANTASTIC!)

*Please click HERE to read Uncle K’s page on the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame’s website.

2. Rain Liʻiliʻi (Mark Yamanaka’s recording on the album Lei Pua Kenikeni)

Listening to my iPod on “shuffle mode” this week, this song caught me off guard. When it first started,  I thought it was Eddie Kamae and the Sons of Hawaiʻi.  (That ʻono steel guitar!  Sweet!)  And then I heard Mark Yamanaka’s distinctive voice.  What a treat to be surprised!

Wanna know why it might have that “old-school” kanikapila-style sound?  Well, it was written by one of my favorite composers, the one and only Rev. Dennis Kamakahi!  And Uncle Dennis wrote and recorded many of his compositions while he was a part of the Sons of Hawaiʻi.  Turns out, it’s no coincidence, at all!

I love the song.  And I love Mark’s wonderful rendition.  Right on!

*Please click HERE to visit Mark’s page at Reverbnation.

3. Aleamai (Kuʻuipo Kumukahi’s recording on the album Nā Hiwa Kupuna O Kuʻu One Hānau)

I can’t get enough of  Kuʻuipo Kumukahi’s voice.  Gentle yet powerful.  When she hits those low notes, wow… it resonates deep in my body.  My naʻau–my gut.  I can feel it!

A song to celebrate where her family home is, not too far from Hilo on Hawaiʻi Island.  It’s got that distinctive hula-feel.  I wonder if it’s been danced as a hula!  If I close my eyes, I can see one, for sure.

Her music inspires me to try to write my own song.  And her voice inspires me to sing.  Mahalo for that!

*Please click HERE to visit Kuʻuipos’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!

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. Kāʻanapali Sunset (solo ʻukulele version) (Herb Ohta Jr’s recording on the album ʻUkulele Dream)

Herb Ohta, Jr. playing a solo ʻukulele with his amazingly skilled hands.

Perfection.

For realz.  Check it out.

(For a simple strummer like me, I can’t even imagine ever being able to play like this… Wow!)

*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!

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red hibiscus

Happy (belated) Valentine’s Day!

Hawaiian love songs are my favorite. No contest. No other music can compete when it comes to creating a romantic mood.

Maybe the geographic isolation of the Hawaiian islands makes it a fertile ground for romantic thought. Maybe it’s because the composers are surrounded by such natural beauty. Maybe it’s because the sunsets in Hawaiʻi are the best on the planet–and they have a way of creating a romantic mood.

I’m not sure. But…

To honor this day of romance, I thought I’d share 5 MORE of my Favorite Hawaiian Love Songs with you:

1. Kuʻu Pua Mae ʻOle (Kealiʻi Reichel’s recording on the album Lei Haliʻa)

This contemporary ballad is a true favorite!  I first heard this song years ago, before I’d really begun my Hawaiian language studies.  Without even understanding the lyrics, I knew the song was a love song that was DEEP!  Ha!

Years later, after the language began making sense to my ears, I listened to the song, again.  And it knocked my socks off.  The title translates as “My Beloved Never-fading Flower.”  Wow… a love that remains eternally beautiful and fresh.  Even typing these words brings tears tears to my eyes.

Written by Kealiʻi Reichel, it’s a treat to hear him sing it–as he intended it to be sung.

Wow.

2. Mahina ʻO Hoku (Dennis Pavao’s recording on the album Keiki Kupuna )

Often attributed to Lilian Awa, this song is crooner staple.  Why?

Well, for starters, the lyrics are incredibly beautiful–simple yet lush oh-so-lush imagery about two lovers spending a romantic evening on a deserted beach on the night before the fullest phase of the moon.

And the melody allows a crooner to embellish away–adding all of the crooner dips and flourishes that they love!

And it’s one of the most requested songs I’m asked to play when I’m playing for a hula dancer.  The song is a bit tricky when it comes to playing for a dancer–there are two accepted versions that I’m aware of.  And each version differs slightly, whether it’s a full vamp in between verses or what some of my hula friends call a “cheated vamp”–a variation of the traditional hula counts.

Its complexity is actually a lovely gift because it means that the dancer and the musicians must work together.  No one can go on autopilot.  We listen and watch and move and breathe as one.

(Don’t you think that’s kind of perfect for a love song?)

And Dennis Pavao’s stunning voice makes this song come to life so beautifully.

3. Ka Lehua I Milia (Kuʻuipo Kumukahi’s recording on the album Nā Hiwa Kupuna O Kuʻu One Hānau)

Another staple in the crooner repertoire.  This song, written by the inimitable duo of Mary Kawena Pukuʻi and Maddy Lam, describes a beloved flower, a caressed blossom.

It’s not hard to imagine that the composers might have been talking about a beloved person, as well.  Right?

And Kuʻuipo’s touching rendition reaches right into my heart.  Perfection.

4. Pua Hone (Rev. Dennis Kamakahi’s recording on the album ʻOhana)

One of my all-time favorite songs-to listen to and to sing.

This classic love song was written by Uncle Dennis as a proposal to his bride.  Imagine?!  You can read the story on Huapala’s website by clicking on the link HERE.

It’s been covered by a ton of artists–and all of the versions are beautiful!  But Uncle Dennis sings it the way he sang it to propose.  So special!

5. I Miss You, My Hawaiʻi (Nā Leo Pilimehana’s recording on the album, I Miss You, My Hawaiʻi)

I heard this song playing the other day and it made me get all teary-eyed.  True story.

A love song written for Hawaiʻi.  And sung by the amazingly lovely voices of Nā Leo Pilimehana.  You just can’t ask for more than that.

I love you, Hawaiʻi.  And I miss you…

What romantic songs are making YOU swoon?  Drop me a line and let me know!

**Please click HERE to see The Croonerʻs TOP 5 Hawaiian Love Songs from 2011.

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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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!)  

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