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Posts Tagged ‘Sistah Robi’

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!

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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!

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