Listen to Jason:

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

Get Adobe Flash player

Posts Tagged ‘Puna’

The Crooner’s Weekly TOP 5 (10.10.12)

Wednesday, October 10, 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. Here In This Enchanted Place (Emma Veary’s recording on the album The Best of Emma Veary)

This time of year, when autumn chills the air, I like to wrap myself up in a warm cocoon of sounds.

And this week, I decided to wrap myself up in the amazingly lovely voice of Ms. Emma Veary.  I mean, wow…

And the orchestration on this recording is BEYOND lush and rich and over-the-top-wonderful.

2. Medley: Leis for Sale/For You A Lei (Gary Aiko’s recording on the album A Romantic Night In Hawaii)

You guys know how much I love the golden sound of a crooner‘s voice.

And one of the very best crooners on the planet is Mr. Gary Aiko.  He’s got Hawaiian music in his veins–he’s Aunty Genoa Keawe’s son!  And he is  a true master of this era’s music… smooth and “crooner-iffic!”

And he’s got a new album, too!  Please click HERE to check it out!

*Please click HERE to visit Uncle Gary’s website.

3. Manaʻo Pili (Diana Aki’s recording on the album Moments with You)

This song was a wonderful surprise this week!

I heard it and I had to stop what I was doing and just listen.  I mean, it captured my full attention.  Jazzy. Cool.  And that voice… unmistakable!

Are you familiar with this recording by Aunty Diana already? Am I just a latecomer to the party?

If you’re not familiar with it–you’re in luck.  You’ll be blown away by it, too.

(Note: It’s also on the album, Troubled Paradise, but that one is more difficult to find.)

*Please click HERE to see a great article (with a REALLY GREAT video link) about Aunty Diana.

4. Seabird (Andy Kimura’s recording on the album Island Classics)

My musical trip to “yesteryear” this week.  And what a good trip it is!

Any song that opens with a super cool jazz flute automatically gets my attention.  And it’s tropical vibe–almost like something you’d expect to hear on a classic THE LOVE BOAT episode, makes me grin from ear to ear.

And Audy Kimua can sing!  Right on, sir!  I’m totally digging his smooth sound!  Sadly, I’m unable to locate a copy of his album, Looking for the “Good Life.  So I’ll just have to wait to hear more…

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

One of my favorite musicians to listen to is Uncle Cyril Pahinui.  I had the great chance to see him years ago here in NYC at a venue called The Knitting Factory.  He and Uncle Led Kaʻapana were playing a double-bill.  I was in heaven!

There’s just something special about him.  The way he sings.  The way he plays.  He’s a master, no doubt.  The music oozes out of him. Hawaiian to the core!  There are moments where, if I close my eyes, I can’t tell whether it’s him singing or his legendary father, Gabby “Pops” Pahinui.

Note:  He’s coming back to NYC this weekend!  If you’re around, check him out!  You won’t be sorry!  Please click HERE to learn more about his upcoming visit to the Big Apple.

*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!

**Wanna be the first to know when Crooner News/Updates are posted?  You can subscribe by clicking HERE!**

off

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!

**Wanna be the first to know when Crooner News/Updates are posted?  You can subscribe by clicking HERE!**

off

The Crooner’s Weekly TOP 5 (8.22.12)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

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.  Now Is the Hour (Alfred Aholo Apaka’s recording on the album Hawaiian Paradise)

Alfred Aholo Apaka is one of my all-time favorite crooners.  And this song REALLY allows him to croon–and for the listener to swoon.  It’s S-L-O-W and beautiful.  And the melody and lyrics will most surely tug at your heart,

According to the book HE MELE ALOHA, the song’s inspiration was found in a traditional Māori farewell song.  There is a portion of a verse on this recording that is not in English, but because of a scratch on my disc, I wasn’t able to hear it clearly.  Was this the original text?  Or translated into Hawaiian?  I’ll have to try to find another copy so that I can hear it.

A lovely song paired with Apaka’s golden voice.  Ah…

2. For You A Lei (Andy Iona and the Islanders’ recording on the album Hawaiians In Hollywood)

My “time warp favorite” this week (yet, again!) is this song as recorded by Andy Iona and the Islanders.  I mean, it’s really like opening a window and stepping back into 1934.  That classic ʻukulele strum, the slide guitar, the vocal harmonies…

Heavenly.

I am so thankful we have recordings from this era.  I could listen to ‘em all day!

*Please click HERE to read more about Andy Iona.

3. He Aloha Nō O Honolulu (Teresa Bright’s recording on the album Self Portrait)

Ah!  Aunty Teresa!  And a great song!

I love her voice–smooth, sultry.  And her arrangements always make me smile.  Makes me feel like I’m in a club–having a great time!

This song, attributed Lot Keauwē, has been covered by a multitude of artists.  But this week, it’s Teresa Bright’s smooth (and delightfully percussive) version that has won my heart.

4. You Kuʻuipo  (Willie K’s recording on the album The Uncle In Me)

A much-loved “classic” by Uncle Willie.

Simple.  Soothing.  Fantastically “catchy” without being “cutesy.”  All of the earmarks of one of my favorite songs.

He makes it all sound so easy.  A truly gifted musician–music pours out of him.

*Please click HERE to visit Willie’s website.

5. Kuʻu Kīkā Kahiko (Ozzie Kotani’s recording on the album Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Masters Collection Vol.1)

I love kī hōʻalu, Hawaiian slack key guitar music.  That’s no secret.  I love to close my eyes when I listen to it.  And let go…

Knowing the song’s title, I was thinking about Ozzie’s “old guitar” and what it must look like. Which got me thinking about how it must be an like an old friend to him.  And that got me thinking about my old friends…

Sigh.

I love this song.  And I’m grateful for the trip down Memory Lane that it inspired.

Mahalo for that, Ozzie!

Please click HERE to visit Ozzie’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

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!

8 Comments

The Crooner’s Weekly “TOP 5″ (1.25.12)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

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. Pōhai Ke Aloha (Kawai Cockett’s recording on the album Beautiful Kauaʻi)

Ok.  I’ve had this song (and Uncle Kawai’s recording of it!) on my TOP 5 before.

Wanna know why?

Because I love it!  I mean I think Uncle Kawai’s version of this song (which is one of my all-time favorites) is outta this world!

Most often, I think this song is associated with a female singer.  At least that’s been my experience.  And the lyrics mention tears wetting the singer’s cheeks–and all too often, tears are associated with women instead of men.  (*Crooner Note:  Men cry, too!)

But when Uncle Kawai sings this song–wow… So tender and yet so masculine.  So AWESOME.

*Sadly, Uncle Kawai passed away in 2006. Please click HERE to read more about this amazing man.

2. ʻAkaka Falls (Elodia Kāne’s recording on the album Tribute to Lena Machado)

This beloved Hawaiian classic, attributed to Helen Lindsay Parker, is a favorite.  And Aunty Elodia’s recording is also a favorite.

Her voice has the clarity of a bell–the kind of voice I can imagine carrying through the air and being heard from a great distance.  Never shrill. Always tender.

And I love that she includes an English language verse, too!  It helps a listener who may be totally unfamiliar with the Hawaiian language by giving them an anchor–something they are familiar with.

Lovely from start to finish.

3. Kuʻu Kumu (Kaukahi’s recording on the album Life In These Islands)

Perhaps it’s because I’ve just gotten back from Molokai and spent some time with Pops, my kumu.  When I listened to this song this week, it really struck a chord.

The song uses the word KUMU in two ways, both as a teacher and as the trunk of tree.  The metaphor holds true–we learn from our teachers and we, as students, are branches of them and their knowledge.

Totally brought tears to my eyes… in the best way! (**Crooner note:  Please see above–men cry, too!)

(*Crooner Note:  I had the chance to see Kaukahi perform while I was on Oʻahu.  They are just as good–and maybe even better–in person.  Go see ‘em!  Wow…)

*Please click HERE to visit Kaukahi’s website.

4. Pua Tuberose (Raiatea’s recording on the album Hawaiian Blossom)

An unforgettable ballad about an unforgettable flower.

The classic song, attributed to Kimo Kamana, speaks of the tuberose flower and its delicate fragrance.  It’s not hard to infer that perhaps the kaona in this song is describing a beloved–an unforgettable love.

Raitea’s voice and the simple, almost understated accompaniment are a perfect combination for this lovely song.  I can see a hula being danced to it when I close my eyes and listen…

*Please click HERE to visit Raiatea’s website.

5.  Lei Nani (George Kahumoku, Jr. and Daniel Ho’s recording on the album Classic Hawaiian Hulas Vol. 3)

Oh!  So good, this version!

A favorite hula to play and sing, I love how Uncle George Kahumoku sings this, with Daniel’s sparkling ʻukulele in the background, dancing around Uncle George’s masterful ki hoalu (slack key) stylings!

The song, attributed to Charles Nāmāhoe, is a lovely song of affection. And it’s a favorite of so many hula dancers.  Musicians, this is good one to know!

*Please click HERE to visit the Uncle George’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Daniel’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!

Here are the TOP 5 SONGS from my iPod this week:

1.  Ke ʻAla Kaʻu i Honi (Linda Dela Cruz’s recording on the album Hawaiʻi’s Canary)

I have fallen in love–again!–with the voice of Linda Dela Cruz this week.  Do you ever do that?  Develop a crush on a singer or band and then play their music non-stop for days?

I love her simple and delicate presentation of this simple and delicate song written by Keʻala Carter and Tom Carter, Jr.  It’s written in a traditional Hawaiian way–4 verses without a chorus or a bridge.  To the western mind, this may sound like the song would be monotonous.  But I challenge the western listener to find the song monotonous.  It’s lovely–pure and simple.

In the album’s liner notes, it tells the story of how Dela Cruz only heard the song right before she recorded it.  That’s amazing–it sounds as though it had been a part of her repertoire for years!

Listening to her sweet voice makes this crooner swoon.

(**Crooner Note: If you’d like to learn more about this wonderful singer, please click HERE to read her obituary from 2007.  She was quite an amazing woman!)

2.  Pua ʻIliahi (Kimo Alama Keaulana and Lei Hulu’s recording on the album Hula Lives!)

This song surprised me this week while I was listening to my iPod in “shuffle mode.”  Surprised me and made me laugh out loud!  I love the fact that this song has so many lyrics compressed into each line!  It’s a challenge for any singer to get ‘em all in!

The song is attributed to Hawaii’s falsetto poet, Bill Aliʻiloa Lincoln, but the liner notes tell a slightly different story.  Apparently, Uncle Bill revised an older song (from the 1800s) to make this version that we know today.  And he gave them an ADDITIONAL verse that’s not often included!  A rare treasure, indeed!

(Note:  It absolutely pays to have MULTIPLE recordings of songs–and even better if you can get albums with liner notes.  You never know what you’ll discover!)

The way they play this uptempo song has classic “happy hula” feel to it–and that alone might make you smile.  However, when you hear all of the words compressed into a single line, I’m pretty sure you’ll be smiling and/or laughing.  It’s great! To sing it, you would need to have a real command of the language!

I need to learn this version–a fun way to study!

3.  Kauaʻi Nani Lā (Robi Kahakalau’s recording on the album Sistah Robi)

This is one of my favorite songs that Robi sings… It’s haunting.

The song, written by Wade “Aukai” Oshio and Kahikāhealani, describe the island of Kauaʻi’s natural beauty.  Is there a deeper meaning?  A hidden meaning?  Perhaps.  Only the composers would know that.  However, the beauty of the lyrics–with verses written in Hawaiian and an English chorus–will stay with you long after the song has ended.

Sistah Robi’s voice, with its gentle “raspy” quality in places, is one of my favorites.  I can’t get enough…

(**Crooner Note: I want to send a special “Aloha!” to my friends on Kauaʻi.  Big Aloha to you from your pal in the Big Apple!)

4.  Lei Nani (Cody Pueo Pata’s recording on the album He Aloha…”)

I love Cody Pueo Pata’s voice, don’t you?  His flawless falsetto!  Wow!  I could listen all day.

And this classic song is one of those wonderful mystery songs:  Who wrote it?  I’ve seen it attributed to Charles Namahoe and Charles E. King.  I’ve seen that the copyright belongs to Johnny Noble.  So what’s the REAL story?  I’m not sure!  Does it really matter?  Yes… but… As a listener, I know I love it.  So I’m thankful to ALL parties who might have contributed to its composition.  As a student of Hawaiian music, I love the mystery of it all.  (I’ve also heard that folks sometimes refer to it as Lei Lani, too.  The mystery deepens…)

It’s a classic love song for a reason–it speaks to the soul.  (And it’s also one of my favorite songs to watch when danced as a hula.)

5.  Wai Ulu (Keola Beamer’s recording on the album Soliloquy: Ka Leo O Loko)

I love kī hoʻalu (slack key guitar) music.  It’s no secret.

And I love the gentle–and instantly recognizable!–stylings of the contemporary master, Keola Beamer.  The way he makes the notes dance.  The harmonies… The textures… Ah!

This is a classic song, recorded by many.  But Keola’s version is the favorite this week.  When I hear it, I feel like I have to close my eyes.  (Note to Self:  Do NOT listen to this song while driving a car!)

In NYC, we are surrounded by loud noises and throngs of people.  This is one of my favorite albums to listen to when I need an escape.  Like a gentle salve for my frazzled nerves.

(**Crooner Note:  It’s also one of my favorite albums to give to new parents.  I’ve been told that rocking a newborn to sleep in the middle of the night is a tough thing to do.  Especially if you’re forced to listen to albums of nursery rhymes set to music.  This album soothes babies AND parents!  Right on!)

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!

off