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Posts Tagged ‘return to halawa’

Jason Poole, accidental hawaiian crooner, molokai, anakala pilipo, pilipo solatorio, halawa valley, return to halawa, documentary, talk story, talk-story, hawaiian music, new york city

After filming the talk-story in Manhattan with filmmaker Allan Piper. (June 9, 2014)

Aloha, gang!

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of working with NYC-based filmmaker, Allan Piper.  We spent the afternoon together, filming the NYC-portion of the upcoming documentary, Return to Hālawa: The Life & Music of ‘Anakala Pilipo.

It was pretty unbelievable.


It started back in November of last year when I was on Molokai to record the soundtrack for the film. Matt Yamashita, the fearless filmmaker of the documentary, said that he wanted an NYC portion of the film.  My first reaction: You’re crazy, dude.  I don’t know the first thing about filmmaking.  And I even imagine how you go about setting up something like that in New York City.  No way.

Thankfully, Matt is patient and persistent.  He explained that it would be awesome to show that the things Pops has shared with me are traveling beyond Molokai’s shores, that I’m truly carrying them out into the world and sharing and teaching.  He asked about the possibility of filming me teaching in NYC public schools.  Again, I said NO WAY as the schools don’t let us bring cameras into the classroom because the kids are minors.

(Who knew I could be such a downer?)

And then he had a great idea:  I could do a talk-story/presentation, just like Pops and I do on Molokai.  Nothing major–small and intimate.  And it would be great if I could get keiki/kids there, too.  The whole thing could be filmed.

And… in an ideal world, moments that were filmed on Molokai (like me getting ready in the morning, packing up to go to the presentation, traveling to the venue, etc) would be filmed in the Big Apple–highlighting the differences in my two very different worlds, NewYork City and Hālawa Valley.

I still thought he was crazy.  But it was definitely worth a shot.

Finding a filmmaker to shoot the portion in NYC wasn’t as tough as I’d imagined.  Especially when you know someone like Allan Piper, an established filmmaker and documentarian.  I was thrilled when he said he could do the filming for us.  And then we actually found a time that we could shoot it. (Coordinating schedules to meet up for dinner with friends can sometimes be impossible.  I’m still amazed we found a time to make this happen!)

Once a date had been secured, I needed to send out an email to folks to invite them to the talk-story.  Matt had envisioned something intimate like we’d done on Molokai.  ”No need to have a big audience.”

I thought we’d be lucky if we got 10 people.  Sundays are precious days here in the Big Apple.  Folks cherish those few weekend moments and fill them quickly–especially when they have kids.  I crossed my fingers that we’d have enough folks there to do it. (Or that Allan would be such a filmmaking wiz that he could make 3 people look like a crowd.)

Allan showed up at my apartment and we were able to recreate a lot of the shots that I remember from Molokai–even a scene where I’m brushing my teeth!  I’m not sure either scene will make it into the final cut of the film, but I thought it would please Matt to see things come full-circle.  This is how it happened on Molokai/this is how it happened in New York City.

He filmed my commute to the venue, including walking down the chaotic, traffic-filled streets of midtown Manhattan. A huge difference from Molokai where there isn’t a single traffic light.  (*Note: At the time of this writing, there may be a temporary traffic light while they work on one of the bridges.)

And then at the venue… WOW!

A beautiful space in midtown Mahattan (lovingly gifted to us for the afternoon by one of the Crooner team, the fantastic Mariko Gordon!) with windows that looked out at skyscrapers and a park.  The room filled up quickly with (count ‘em!) 18 people–including 6 young folks!  Amazing!  I mean absolutely amazing!

And the icing on the cake: we had beautiful blue, sun-filled skies yesterday here in NYC.  Talk about a blessing!

The talk-story went really well–even though I wasn’t sure HOW I was going to craft a presentation that was family friendly, short and included enough interaction that it would read well (maybe even without sound) in the final cut.  But I could imagine Pops telling me, “Iakona, just go as the makani (winds) blow.”

The audience was a ton of fun to work with.  They were the real stars of the day. I shared stories about some of the animals we have down in the valley because that always seems to make folks’ jaws drop.  Yes, we have cats and dogs and birds in the valley, but we also have wild boars, goats and lizards.  (And sometimes you might find a lizard in the toilet–but that’s another story…) I even shared one of the songs with motions, a short hula noho (school kid-kine) that I’d written. An epic audience participation moment!

And then… we were blessed with a hula by the lovely Ms. Eleanor.  She danced her beautiful choreography to my song, Healing Waters.  Such a gift to have something like that captured on film.  I wish you all could have seen the faces of the folks in the audience–all smiles and even a few tears.  (Mahalo for that, Ms. Eleanor!)

Time flew by and before I knew it, we needed to wrap up and head home.

I’m still in shock that it all came together, all of those moving parts.

I can’t wait to see how it fits into the final film.

We’ll keep you posted.

Right on.

(The next time I make a snap judgement and say NO WAY, remind me of this, Ok?)



Mahalo. Thank you. Mahalo.

Friday, September 27, 2013

jason poole, accidental hawaiian crooner, molokai, return to halawa, anakala pilipo, matt yamashita, quazifilms hawaii, halawa valley, halawa documentary, kickstarter

Aloha, gang.

I am writing this today with a heart full of gratitude.

The documentary project that I’ve been writing about, RETURN TO HĀLAWA: The Life and Music of ʻAnakala Pilipo, has been successfully funded on Kickstarter.  I’m told this is a huge accomplishment as fewer than 50% of the projects reach successful funding.  (According to statistics pulled today, the success rate is 43.92%)

And to think that a documentary about a Hawaiian man from the remote island of Molokai has joined the ranks of the successful projects!  Wow!

Of course, it’s really about so much more. It’s about sharing knowledge. Passing along a tradition. Sharing a legacy with future generations. Crossing cultural boundaries. It’s one of those little movies with a big message.

And because of YOU and your support–both financial and emotional–this film is going to become a reality!

Yes… we’ve got lots of work ahead of us. Matt is working hard to assemble the film and continuing to shoot new footage.  I’m continuing to write new tunes for the soundtrack. Then we’ll begin looking at all of the ways to share the film. And so on… and so on… and so on…

But today…

My heart is full of thanks.


Please “like” the Quazifilms Hawaii  page on facebook to continue receiving updates from Matt Yamashita, the filmmaker. 

And you can follow all of Matt’s exciting projects by visiting his website.


jason poole, accidental hawaiian crooner, molokai, pilipo solatorio, anakala pilipo, return to halawa, kickstarter, hawaiian documentary, halawa valley

Aloha, gang!

What are your plans for this Saturday evening, 9/21/13?

If youʻre in NYC, I hope you’ll come to my show!

It’s a fundraiser concert/musical talk-story that is being done to help raise money for an upcoming documentary I’ve been telling you about: RETURN TO HĀLAWA-The Life and Music of ‘Anakala Pilipo.  It’s the story of my teacher (aka Pops) and his legacy.  And my own story is woven throughout the film, as well!

(Please click HERE to view the film’s trailer.  It’s AWESOME!)

I’ll be sharing lots of Hawaiian songs and stories of my (mis)adventures on my travels–especially about my time on Molokai down in Hālawa Valley.

And I’m so happy to be joined by some of NYC’s best Hawaiian/Hawaiian-at-Heart musicians.  (And hula dancers, too!)

And… I’ll be sharing some of the new songs that I’ve been writing for the film.  And one of ‘em is BRAND NEW.  The “world premiere” of a new song!  (Right on!)

I can’t wait to share this Aloha-filled evening with you.  I hope to see you there!

*All proceeds from the door will go toward the film’s completion.*

Our friends at Hālāwai have added it to the Community Calendar.  Please click HERE to see all of the details.

And just in case, here are the details, again:

Date: Saturday, September 21, 2013

Cover: $20 cash at door *All proceeds from the door will go toward the film’s completion*

Time: Doors open at 7:15pm (Jebon has a great menu–Come hungry & thirsty!)

Showtime: 8:00pm

Venue: Jebon Sushi And Noodle @ the downstairs lounge (Dinner and Drinks available for purchase!)

Address: 15 St. Mark’s Place  NY, NY  10003

RSVP: to Eleanor Eleia2000(at)gmail(dot)com to ensure a reservation on the guest list.  Seating is limited–the venue can accommodate up to 100 people with seats for 75.

**If you canʻt be there, you can still be a part of the magic by contributing to the film’s Kickstarter Campaign by clicking HERE.  We are raising funds until Tuesday, September 24, 2013.  Every little bit counts and helps to make this dream a reality!  Mahalo!**

Jason Poole, Accidental Hawaiian Crooner, Manuwai Peters, Anakala Pilipo, Molokai, Halawa Valley, Pakele Live, The Willows, Honolulu

Sharing some songs & stories at Pakele Live on 8/15/13. (And that handsome couple in the audience? Those are my folks–all the way from PA!) A giant mahalo to Lisa Shozuya for sharing the photo.

Hui!  Aloha mai!

One week ago, I was in Honolulu preparing to share stories and songs (along with my good buddy, Manuwai Peters!) on the legendary stage of Pakele Live at the historic restaurant, The Willows.  An opportunity like that is a rare thing, indeed.  A dream come true.  A chance to share with the audience there at the venue.  AND… a chance to share with folks around the world via the web!  (Gulp!  It still makes me nervous thinking about that.)

And… MY PARENTS WERE THERE.  ALL THE WAY FROM PENNSYLVANIA!  (No pressure though, right?!)

Here’s some cool news:

They’ve posted a link to the livestream footage from that night!  Please click HERE to view it. (Note: the live music begins at about the 14 minute mark, I think.)


All of the songs–both classics and some BRAND NEW SONGS, TOO!

All of the stories.

All of the laughs.

(And yes, all of the mishaps are there, as well!)

I went there to promote the launch of the Kickstarter campaign for a new documentary that’s being done by my Hawaiian brother, Matt Yamashita of Quazifilms.  He’s a brilliant film maker and he’s documenting the story of my hānai Pops and the music of Hālawa Valley.  (And I’m thrilled to tell you that my own story is woven into the film, too!)

The film is called Return to Hālawa – The Life & Music of ʻAnakala Pilipo.

We are in the process of raising funds to complete the film.  Please check out the Kickstarter page by clicking HERE that will tell you the project.  And Matt has included a beautiful trailer for it–every time I watch it, I get teary eyed.  He’s the film maker that was born to share this story and he does it brilliantly.  (*Any suport/kōkua is much appreciated*)

So here we are, one week later.

And what a great night to remember.  And celebrate.

Right on.