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Posts Tagged ‘Na Ka Pueo’

Jason Poole, Accidental Hawaiian Crooner, Genoa Keawe, Aunty Genoa, Auntie Genoa, Croonerʻs Weekly TOP 5, TOP 5, Hawaiian music,

Today would have been Aunty Genoa Keawe’s 94th birthday.

She is still a daily inspiration to me.

I keep a photo of her on my desk. When I reach my “What on earth am I doing?” moments, I look over at her and remember.  We push on.  I mua.  We share Aloha.  That’s the most important thing.

And to celebrate the anniversary of her birth, I wanted to share with you my TOP 5 Favorite Recordings by Aunty Genoa Keawe.

(P.S. Narrowing it down to only 5 recordings is impossible!  Any one of her recordings could have been on this list!)


Me ke Aloha pau ʻole.



1. Maile Swing (from the album Hula Hawaiian Style)

A favorite recording of Aunty Genoa. (Perhaps circa 1946?) I’ve read in the album’s liner notes that this is the historic first recording of her sweet singing voice.  And on this recording, the legendary composer, John K. Almeida leads the band.


2. Ipo Hula (from the album Genoa Keawe sings Lūʻau Hulas)

A song composed by another Hawaiian musical legend, Aunty Lena Machado!

The song’s title translates as “Sweetheart Hula” and Aunty Genoa serves it up in her typical hula style!  There’s something magical in the way she presents a hula song–keeping a steady beat and letting the lyrics take on a life of their own–essential when it’s being illustrated through dance.

She is the Queen of Hula Music for a reason!  Nō ka best!

3. Nā Ka Pueo (from the album Party Hulas)

Aunty Genoa rocked the uptempo hulas! Uihā!

This song is attributed to Samuel Kalani Kāʻeo.  Some recordings have the lyrics “No ka Pueokahi…” meaning “Love for the Pueokahi.”  It’s believed this is the original text.  According to the book HE MELE ALOHA, more contemporary versions feature the lyrics as recorded by Aunty Genoa, “Na ka Pueokahi…” meaning “Love from the Pueokahi.”

In any case, I love HER version.  The strum!  The beat!  (And THE VOICE!)

I dare you to listen to it and not jump up to move around.  I dare you…

4. Pua ʻOlena (from the album In The Hula Style)

The last time I had the chance to sing with Aunty Genoa, I prepared this song.  I’ll never forget sitting in the hotel room in Waikīkī and thinking, “I want to sing something really special with her tonight.”  This was the song that came to mind.  And for me, the song will always be associated with her.

Written by James Kalei Kaholokula, Sr, this song is a beautiful ballad.  And Aunty Genoa’s recording always brings a tear to my eye when I hear it.

5. ʻAlika (from the album Aloha to Aloha Grill)

One song that comes to many people’s minds when they hear the name Aunty Genoa Keawe is ʻAlika!  And for good reason, too:  she made this song HER OWN.

How?  Well…

She showed her vocal prowess–with her awesome falsetto stylings!– and her stamina–by holding notes until the cows came home!

In my own collection of discs, I have several recordings of her singing it.  But THIS recording is live.  You can really hear the magic in this one.  It’s almost as good as being there.

A favorite for so many people.  And certainly, a favorite of mine.

But wait!  There’s more!

You can catch the Keawe ʻOhana at their weekly performance in Waikīkī at the Marriott Waikiki Beach Resort!  For more information, please click HERE.  (Wait ’til you hear the vocals of her lovely granddaughter, Pomaikaʻi Keawe Lyman.  Unbelievable!  And Aunty Momi and Uncle Gary and Uncle Alan and… and… and…)

And Aunty Genoa’s son, the legendary GARY AIKO, has just released a new album of some of the smoothest music you’ll ever hear.  Please click HERE to visit his site and listen to samples!

And please click HERE to visit the website of Aunty Genoa Keawe.

Do YOU have a favorite Genoa Keawe recording?  Drop me a line and let me know!

And, as always, a giant MAHALO to Puna and the gang at 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″ (10.12.11)

Wednesday, October 12, 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. Na Ka Pueo (Joe Keawe’s recording on the album Hawaii’s Falsetto Returns)

I love this song. And I love the amazing voice of Uncle Joe Keawe.  And I love this whole album.  Yup.  It’s a triple love.

The song is classic, upbeat Hawaiian tune that is one of the most-requested songs when I have the chance to strum/sing for hula dancers.  (And I LOVE it when they dance it with an ipu, a Hawaiian percussive instrument made from a gourd.)

It’s also a great song for leo kiʻekiʻe, Hawaiian falsetto, singing.  Rock on, Uncle Joe!  What an amazing voice had.

Interesting to note that he sings the lyrics as “Na ka Pueokahi” which means “Love from the Pueokahi” instead of “No ka Pueokahi” which means “Love for the Pueokahi.”  If you listen to a lot of Hawaiian music, you’ll hear both of these versions–it depends on the artist.  Interesting, right?

2. Pua Lilia (Nathan Aweau’s recording on the album E Apo Mai )

Nathan Aweau has one of the smoothest voices I’ve ever heard.

And when he presents the songs on this album (and some of his others, too!) he puts a very contemporary spin on some very traditional Hawaiian songs.  I’ve seen kūpuna, elders, roll their eyes when they hear his recordings.  And I can understand them–he takes a classic in a very new direction.

And most of the time, I might be tempted to agree with them.  Why “fix” something that isn’t broken, right?

But Nathan is a musician of the highest caliber.  He presents these classic songs in a new light.  He totally respects the original composition.  When I listen to him, I don’t hear anything that smacks of “arrogance.”  In fact, it’s like he’s paying homage to the songs’ original composers by bringing them into the contemporary spotlight.

The more I listen to it, the more I love it.  I love the fusion factor–all of the instruments (is that a marimba?!) and percussion he uses in this song.  I’m blown away.

New directions for classic/traditional paths.  Interesting to explore, for sure.

*Please click HERE to visit Nathan Aweau’s website.

3. Anahaki (Amy Hānaialiʻi’s recording on the album Generation Hawaiʻi)

Another upbeat, uptempo song that has been rocking my little corner of the world this week!

This song, written by Amy Hānaialiʻi (with the Hawaiian translation by Kaumakaiwa Kanakaʻole!) makes me smile.

I don’t want to reveal too much–buy the album and read the liner notes!–but the song details a love affair and references the famous ʻiwa bird that resides on Molokai.

It’s a contemporary song that feels like a classic hula written a long time ago.  Amy, as always, delivers.  Love it!

*Please click HERE to visit Amy Hānaialiʻi Gilliom’s website.

4. Waikaloa (Peter Ahia’s recording on the album Peter Sings)

I love this hula classic!  I have so many recordings of it.  And this week, it’s Peter Ahia’s version that has won me over.

I love the sweet quality in his voice.  I love his enthusiasm.  And I love his interpretation of this mele.  (And according to the album’s liner notes, Aunty Genoa Keawe loved his singing, too!)

It makes me smile when I hear it.  (And it makes me think of my good buddy, Ms. Marian, who loves this song.)

5. Pua Sadinia (Ray Kāne’s recording on the album Punahele)

I love kī hōʻalu (slack key guitar) music.

And this song, handled so deftly in Uncle Raymond’s masterful hands, is a true treasure.  Wow…

NYC has a way of beating a person up at times–physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  And when that happens, I turn to recordings like this.  A gentle salve for the wounds.  And it helps to recharge the battery, too.

Uncle Raymond Kāne’s recordings are to be listened to–and enjoyed–over and over, again.

*Please click HERE to read the album’s liner notes.

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 for being an awesome Hawaiian music resource. You all make the world a better place!