Listen to Jason:

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Posts Tagged ‘Na Palapalai’

Aloha, gang!

Need some help when it comes to getting motivated?  Me, too.

Here is a playlist (courtesy of my computer) to help keep you musically inspired while you work out, make your way around town, commute to work or just surround yourself in mele Aloha.

Nanina – Kuana Torres Kahele
Analani E – Na Palapalai
Lovely Sunrise Haleakala – Napua Greig
He Mele No Kauai Kaupapa – Weldon Kekauoha
Haleuia – Kuana Torres
Ohai Alii Kaluhea – Holunape
Hilo Hula – Uluwehi Guerrero
Halamua Kihi Loa – Kuana Torres Kahele
Ka Ua Kilihune – Hoku Zuttermeister
He Aloha Moku O Keawe – Na Palapalai
Papalina Lahilahi – Genoa Keawe
Hanalei Moon – Dennis Pavao
E Pili Mai – Kealii Reichel
Nani Kauai – Amy Hanaialii Gilliom
My Sweet Pikake Lei – Brothers Cazimero
Lehua Beauty – Kuana Torres Kahele
Kuu Home Alo Kele – Napua Greig
Kuu Hoaaloha – Weldon Kekauoha
He Aloha No O Honolulu – Na Palapalai
Nani Na Pali Hauliuli O Na Koolau – Hoku Zuttermeister

(Notes: The list was chosen by the “Genius” feature in iTunes.  I’ve transcribed the song titles/artists as they appear in iTunes so that they are easier to look up and reference when purchasing the tunes on the web.  I’ve purposely not used diacritical marks.  This is what I’ll be listening to while I’m on the treadmill.  Bring it on!)

Happy Aloha Monday.

Right on.

2 Comments

Aloha, gang!

Still hard at work on Project Natalie.  But I had to take a break and share a little holiday cheer with you.

As you may remember, we have a tradition in our little home: I purchase a new Hawaiian holiday music CD at the start of every Christmas season.

Not necessarily a new CD, but one that’s new to my ever-expanding collection of awesome Hawaiian music. This year, I didn’t labor over the decision of which CD to buy.

One of my favorite Hawaiian musicians, Kuana Torres Kahele (part of the group Nā Palapalai) had released his first Christmas album, HILO FOR THE HOLIDAYS.  

kuana torres kahele, hilo for the holidays, jason poole, accidental hawaiian crooner, hawaiian music, molokai, halawa valley,

Here’s a photo I took of the album’s cover. Note: My camera doesn’t really do it justice.

One word to describe it: AWESOME

One facial gesture to describe it: BEAMING SMILE 

Yup!  I can recommend it without any hesitation.

I’m… well… I’m kind of addicted to it.  In fact, it’s playing right now while I type this post.

It’s too hard to say which track is my favorite. Why?  Well, it changes.  Each listening brings something I hadn’t heard before… And a new favorite emerges.

Today, the favorite is his recording of the Christmas classic, Silver Bells.  Growing up along the East Coast of the continental United States, we had really “traditional” Christmases (at least, “traditional” in the Hollywood movie/Norman Rockwell sense)–most of ‘em complete with snow on the ground!  And this song makes a lot of sense if this imagery is familiar to you.  Knowing what the holiday season looks like/smells like/feels like living in NYC, it’s really familiar.  (I recently read the story about how this song came to be written by it’s composers Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.  Wanna read it, too?  Check out the  book SONGWRITERS ON SONGWRITING.  Fascinating!)  It’s been a favorite song of mine for as long as I can remember.

Hearing Kuana sing it–even though there’s nothing “tropical” or Hawaiian, per se, about his delivery–the song still imparts a Hawaiian vibe.  I can’t explain it.  It no longer feels like a New York Christmas carol.  It’s more universal.

(And yes… I’ll admit it: I got a little choked up when I listened to it earlier this morning.)

Another favorite: ʻEKOLU MEA NUI/HALELŪ.   The first song in this medley is near and dear to my heart.  It’s one of Pops’ favorites.  We sing it all the time in Hālawa Valley.  He says the message is really important to living a balanced life.  And the addition of HALELŪ (penned by Kahele, himself, I think!) is awesome.  A perfect compliment to a Hawaiian favorite.

And another favorite: HALELUIA.  It’s the Leonard Cohen classic melody (Hallelujah) that you know and love–with new lyrics composed by Kuana.  I know… I know… I get goosebumps, too.  Wow!!!

(See?  I told you that I can’t pick a favorite track!  Each one is special in its own way.)

By the way, I heard thru the grapevine that the song HERE COMES SANTA IN A RED CANOE will be heard in an upcoming episode of Hawaii Five-0!

*Super Bonus: The CD comes with fantastic liner notes–including the songs’ lyrics.  I don’t know about you, but I love good liner notes.  And I really appreciate having the lyrics–especially when it’s a recording that I’m not familiar with.  So helpful!

So that’s the newest Hawaiian holiday music CD in the collection. (Although I can pretty much guarantee there will be others added this year, too… There are so many good albums to choose from!)

What are YOU listening to this holiday season?  Is there a musical tradition that YOU have with your family?  Drop me a line!  I’d love to hear from you!

4 Comments

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. Coconut Island (Andy Cummings & His Hawaiian Serenders’ recording on the album The Wandering Troubadours)

Vintage Hawaiian music rocks my little piece of the world. Listening to those voices from the past (both distant and not-so distant) is so rewarding! I learn something every time. Something from every song and every singer.

I was talking with a fellow musician recently about this song–and songs like it. She said she hated this kind of music. She felt it made Hawaiʻi (and the other Pacific Island nations) sound like a cliche. Something you’d see in a postcard. Not realistic. An oversimplified picture of “tropical paradise.” And I understand what she’s saying–to a certain extent.

But to HATE a song like this is such a shame. I mean, it was written by Andy Cummings!  (Note: Please check out the album’s liner notes for the story behind this song.  It’s great!)

While I’m all for painting a realistic portrait of Hawaiʻi, I think it’s important to honor this tradition.  There were moments where this particular place mentioned in the song truly WAS a tropical paradise. And when I’m hanging out and singing with the kūpuna/elders on Molokai, it’s not unusual to hear a song like this… It is full of references found in songs of that time. It’s sweet. It’s nostalgic. It’s an important part of Hawaiian musical history. To ignore it or even dismiss it is a shame.  I love it!  (Ok… I’ll get off of my soapbox now.  Ha!)

And the song has all of the fantastic earmarks of the era!  Andy Cummings is one of my favorite Hawaiian crooners.  He can make you swoon when he croons.

2. La ʻElima (Diana Aki’s recording on the album Troubled Paradise)

A famous song that’s been recorded by many folks. But this week, it was Aunty Diana Aki’s version that stole my heart.

The song talks about a tidal wave that struck the fishing village of Miloliʻi on February 5th, 1898 (La ʻelima o Pepeluali.)

There’s something magical in the way she sings the song. A simple accompaniment helps to bring it to life–and doesn’t diminish the song or the story.  And Aunty Diana’s voice…WOW!  Folk-style and refinement married beautifully (seamlessly!) in one voice!

For another great telling of the story, please check out the book CLOUDS OF MEMORIES by Aunty Mona Kahele.  It’s an outstanding book full of great stories and information by an elder from the island of Hawaiʻi.

3. Niʻihau (Nā Palapalai’s recording on the album Nanea)

From the spoken introduction by a beloved kupuna/elder to the last note, this song R.O.C.K.S!

In their signature harmonies, Nā Palapalai soar into the stratosphere in modulation after modulation with amazing falsetto!  The song feels like a traditional hula–and yet it’s “amped up” by a piano–something my ear isn’t used to hearing in many Hawaiian recordings.  What a wonderful addition!

Triple love it.  Start to finish-they take you on a journey, for sure.  Amazing!

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

(Their new album comes out at the end of the month!  Uihā!  I can’t wait!)

4. Hele on to Kauaʻi (Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s recording on the album E Ala Ē)

When I listen to the voice of Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, I’m instantly transported back to a different time.  His voice helped introduce me to Hawaiian music.  His voice acted as a touchstone for me when my world was dark and cloudy.  An anchor keeping me grounded and steady.  And HAPPY!

This song always makes me smile.  Love it.  Love the bouncy ʻukulele that accompanies his gentle voice.  Love the echo/reverb that’s used–it almost makes his voice sound like it’s coming from so far away.  Love the song’s lyrics–how it describes the magical “Garden Isle” of Kauaʻi.

A great song + an amazing singer = a winning combination.

*Please click HERE to visit the official IZ website.

5. Beautiful Hula Dancer (John Keawe’s recording on the album Beautiful Hula Dancer)

Today is the birthday of my friend, Hope Keawe.  (Hauʻoli Lā Hānau e Hope!)  So it only seems fitting to close out this week’s TOP 5 list with a song written about her!  (She really IS a beautiful hula dancer!)

Her husband, the amazing John Keawe, wrote this song about his wife–she’s his beloved companion and his muse!

And the song is awesome.  Listen to it.  You’ll see what I mean….  (And have a tissue handy to dry your eyes!)

*Please click HERE to visit John’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Hope’s page on John’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!**

off

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!**

off

Aloha kākou!

Here’s this week’s question:

If the title of this album by Nā Palapalai was in English, it might be called “Pleasant Breezes.”  What is the name of the album?

A.  Nanea

B.  Ka Pua Hae Hawaiʻi

C.  Ke ʻAla Beauty

D.  Makani ʻOluʻolu

• Please submit your answer by posting a reply to this entry on the blog.
• All correct answers will be eligible to win a special email message from me.
• One winner will be randomly chosen at 11:59pm HST.

Will YOU be this week’s lucky winner?

Good Luck!

Aloha Poʻalima! Happy Aloha Friday!

**Crooner Update:

You guys know your Nā Palapalai albums!  Right on!

The correct answer is D.  Makani ʻOluʻolu!

(Don’t you love that album?  Every song is a winner!  But my favorite is track #9, Lepe ʻUlaʻula.  So fun.  That opening with the KILLER ʻukulele?  Holy Smokes!)

And this week’s winner, chosen randomly from all of the correct answers, is… (Drum roll, please…) TINA EGGERT! Congrats, Tina!  That makes you an Aloha Friday Trivia Superstar!

A giant MAHALO to all of you for playing along this week.  Hope you’ll play along next week, too.

Have a great weekend, gang!

A hui hou…

Jason

8 Comments

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!

**Want the latest Crooner News/Updates sent directly to your inbox?  You can subscribe by clicking HERE!**

1 Comment