Listen to Jason:

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

Get Adobe Flash player

Posts Tagged ‘Robi Kahakalau’

The Crooner’s Weekly TOP 5 (8.15.12)

Wednesday, August 15, 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. Lei Poinaʻole (Genoa Keawe’s recording on the album By Request)

One of my all-time favorite voices?  Aunty Genoa Keawe.  One of my all-time favorite ladies?  Aunty Genoa Keawe.

Her voice and distinctive strum have “set the standard” for so many songs–and this is no exception.  Every time I’ve ever thought of this song, it’s the voice of the beloved Aunty Genoa that rings in my ears.

And how could you not love a song that opens with “You are my beloved, unforgettable lei…”

*Please click HERE to visit Aunty Genoa’s website.

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

My “time warp favorite” this week 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. Honouliwai (Eddie Akio Waimakanui Tanaka, Jr’s recording on the album Mystical Molokaʻi)

You guys know how much I love the island of Molokai.  And how the island’s East End holds a special place in my heart…

Well, Eddie Waimakanui Tanaka’s song about Honouliwai, the bay that’s also celebrated in Uncle Dennis Kamakahi’s Wahine ʻIlikea, is a special song in my heart.

And he should know the bay well–his home is right there!  He captures the magic of that special place so beautifully.

A hauntingly beautiful new song about the island of Molokai and the bay known as Honouliwai.  Fantastic!

*Please click HERE to visit Eddie’s website 

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

This week, I’ve been feeling a need to listen to the voice of the one and only Sistah Robi.  Soulful to the max!

This song describes the beauty of the island of Kauaʻi.  Her voice reminds me of Stevie Nicks on this track–and when the harmonies join her, it reminds me of Fleetwood Mac.

And yet, at the same time, it’s a distinct and very unique sound.  Distinctly island.  Distinctly Hawaiian.

And oh, so beautiful.

It tugs at my heart. (And brings a tear to my eye.)

*Please click HERE to visit Robi’s website.

5. Keiki Slack Key  (Sonny Chillingworth’s recording on the album Endlessly)

I love kī hōʻalu, Hawaiian slack key guitar music..  And I especially love it when it’s played by a master like Uncle Sonny.

This song bounces.  That’s the word that comes to my mind when I listen to it.  And it’s peppered with familiar melodic passages from children’s nursery rhymes.  It’s fun.  It’ll make you smile.

And it reminds me to take a much needed deep breath.  Right on.

Please click HERE to read more about Uncle Sonny.

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!**

2 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. ʻEkolu Mea Nui (The Hoʻopiʻi Brothers’ recording on the album Nā Mele Henoheno)

I remember Pops telling me to study this song.  It contained the most important information in it.  My Hawaiian language skills were still in the “super-beginner” phase.  I knew the title could be translated as “3 Important Things” but I needed to see the lyrics to understand it.  Then I recognized the passage from the Bible.  And I realized what Pops was saying: the most important thing is Aloha.  The most important thing is love.

And this recording of the classic song, recorded by the amazing duo of the Hoʻopiʻi Brothers stands out as a favorite.  Their tight vocal harmonies–where even their vibratos match up!–make it sound like one voice instead of two.  And of course, you have to applaud their vocal skills.  Who else comes close when it comes to leo kiʻekiʻe/Hawaiian falsetto singing?

Simple and reverent and vocally outstanding.

The best.

*Please click HERE to read a great bio of the Hoʻopiʻi Brothers via mele.com.

2. Pōhai Kealoha (Leinaʻala Haili’s recording on the album The Best of Leinaʻala)

This is one of my favorite songs.  I think I’ve got at least 4 different versions of it in my collection, each recorded by a different artist.

And this week, Aunty Leinaʻala’s version is the one that has stolen my heart.

It opens with a super-cool 1960′s vibe.  With smooth drums, vibes and steel guitar, it instantly transported me to a nightclub in Waikīkī.

The song is beautiful.  And one of the things I love most about Aunty Leinaʻala’s recording is that she allows it to be just as it is–not adding any unnecessary flash or pizzaz.  (And her female falsetto singing is always a treat to listen to.  She makes it seem like it’s effortless!)

*Sadly, Aunty Lei passed away in 2005.  Please click HERE to read more about her awesome life and career via her obituary.

3. Green Rose Hula (Ata Damasco’s recording on the album Paʻina)

I love this song, don’t you?  One of my hula friends calls it a “hula war horse”–meaning it’s one of those reliable, ready-to-dance-pieces that can suit many different venues, etc.

Most of the recordings I have of this song feature an ipu (traditional Hawaiian gourd drum) in the background, keeping a steady beat.

One of the reasons I love this recording is that it’s different.  Unique!  (And not just because Ata Damasco’s version doesn’t feature an ipu!)  He opens the track with the sound of–well–I’m not sure.  It’s an Eastern-European flavor.  Maybe even Klezmer-inspired.  (I’m hoping my friends who are Klezmer band fans can help me out and tell me more!)  The first time each verse is presented, its done in this “Eastern-Euro” way.  And then he repeats the verse in the more traditional Hawaiian way that we’ve all become familiar with.

It’s so cool!

And, of course, you all know how much I love Ata Damasco’s voice.  Wow!

*Please click HERE to visit Ata Damasco’s page on the Ululoa Productions website.

4. Ke Aliʻi O Nā Lani (Robi Kahakalau’s recording on the album All I Want)

Simple strumming of an ʻukulele.  An gentle, almost ambling rhythm.  An uncomplicated melody.  Beautiful, hymn-like vocal harmonies.  This recording is wonderful!

I was listening to my iPod on shuffle mode this week and this song came on.  I stopped what I was doing so that I could just sit and listen.  Really encounter the song.  Give it my undivided attention.

It’s simplicity is captivating.  And Sistah Robi’s vocals always bring a smile to my face!

*Please click HERE to visit Sistah Robi’s website.

5. Keiki Time (John Keawe’s recording on the album Hawaiʻi Island Is My Home)

I love the sound of the acoustic guitar and the warm colors it brings to my mind.

And I especially love the sounds that John Keawe coaxes from his guitar.

I’ve been trying to find the words to describe the sounds in this song.  I keep coming up with “sparkling” and “golden” and “carefree” “the feeling of childhood” and “running” and “laughter.”

He uses really cool chord progression!  At one point, I thought he was taking a “moody” turn in the piece.  And then I was delighted when he turned it all back around in the next few chords.  Just like childhood–full of ups and downs.

The next time I see him, I hope to remember to ask him about the moment that inspired this piece.  I’m sure there’s a great story.  He paints such awesome pictures with the sounds of his guitar.

*Please click HERE to visit John Keawe’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″ (1.4.12)

Wednesday, January 4, 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. Hawaiian Love Call (Alfred Aholo Apaka’s recording on the album My Isle of Golden Dreams)

It’s no secret:  I love the voice the golden voice of the legendary crooner, Alfred Aholo Apaka.  He has a way of delivering a song that can make me stop in my tracks and just listen.  How amazing is that?!

This song, attributed to Aunty Irmgard Farden Aluli, is a classic. And this recording, which opens with the sound of a harp(!) is a classic, too.  Beautiful orchestration.  Beautiful background vocals that take part in a kind of call and response, both in English and Hawaiian.  And of, course, the voice of Alfred Apaka.

A perfect combination!

2. Nani Koʻolau (Robi Kahakalau’s recording on the album Keiki O Ka Āina)

I dare you listen to this song without a breaking a smile!

The incredible Troy Fernandez and his ʻukulele stylings open the track with a bouncy beat, guaranteed to make you tap your feet.

I love Sistah Robi’s voice–its smoky huskiness that tickles the ear.  (I have a friend here in NYC that sounds like Robi when she speaks.  Sometimes I ask her to repeat herself when she speaks–not because I didn’t hear her, but because I want to hear her again!  Ha!)

And this song, written by Abbey Kong, is a smile-inducing three minute ride of fun.

*Please click HERE to visit Sistah Robi’s website.

3. Kīhei (Mark Yamanaka’s recording on the album Lei Pua Kenikeni)

I have been LOVING this song this week.

It’s a classic song written by the legendary Kai Davis.  The song celebrates the beauty of the district of Kīhei on the island of Maui.  When you listen to it, I’ll bet you can imagine a great hula being danced to illustrate the lyrics.

And when Mark Yamanaka brings his smooth and effortless falsetto to the song, it ROCKS! (At least he makes it sound effortless!)  His sound excites me–it makes me want to listen more.  Im sure Im just one of his legion of fans–this guy can SING!!  Uihā!

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

4. ʻO ʻOe Nō (Kūpaoa’s recording on the album English Rose)

When I heard this song, I got choked up.  I’ll be the first to admit that my Hawaiian language skills are rudimentary.  But you don’t need to be able to speak Hawaiian in order to understand the sentiment.

A song written for her beloved, Kalikolihau professes her love so beautifully.  When I sat down with the lyrics in front of me, it brought tears to my eyes.  And the way they trade parts–one singing harmony for while and then switching to carry the melody.  You can tell they love each other so much–their voices blend seamlessly. (There were moments where I was reminded of another favorite contemporary Hawaiian duet with close vocal harmonies, Kaʻena–recorded by Amy Hānanialiʻi Gilliom and Fiji on Amy’s album, Puʻuhonua.)

LOVE THIS!

*Please click HERE to visit Kūpaoa’s website.

5. Ka ʻŌpae (The Sons of Hawaiʻi’s recording on the album Yesterday and Today)

When you want the sound of old Hawaiʻi–you know… the kind of music that could be played at a backyard paʻina (party)or a kanikapila (Hawaiian-style jam session)–where do you go?  The Sons of Hawaiʻi!

This song, written (and sung, too!) by Dennis Kamakahi is like a fest for my hungry ears.  Maybe it’s because I’m getting ready to head back to the islands and I’m getting excited.  But I was really looking for something to give me what I was looking for.  And this song did it.  Right on!

*Please click HERE to visit the Sons of Hawaiʻi’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!**

2 Comments

Aloha kākou!

Here’s this week’s question:

Which Hawaiian recording artist released a Christmas album called MALUHIA?

A.  Sean Naʻauao

B.  Kealiʻi Reichel

C.  Robi Kahakalau

D.  Dennis Pavao

• 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 rock!  Right on!

The correct answer is B.  Kealiʻi Reichel.  The album, Maluhia, is one of my favorites and it plays in our home starting throughout the whole holiday season.  One to have as part of your collection, for sure!

And this week’s winner, chosen randomly from all of the correct answers is… (Drum roll, please…) FRAN CARNES!  Congrats, Fran!  You’re this week’s Trivia Superstar!

Sean Naʻauao and Robi Kahakalau also have AWESOME Christmas albums.  Check ‘em out!

And I keep hoping that someday someone will be looking through a vault & discover a bunch of Christmas songs recorded by Uncle Dennis Pavao–either as a solo album or recorded by Hui ʻOhana.  I can dream, right?  Ah…

A giant MAHALO to everyone for participating in The Crooner’s ALOHA FRIDAY TRIVIA CHALLENGE this week.  I hope you’ll play along next week, too!

Happy Weekend, gang!

A hui hou…

Jason

11 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.  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