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Posts Tagged ‘slack key guitar’

The Crooner’s Weekly “TOP 5″ (12.14.11)

Wednesday, December 14, 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. The Hukilau Song (Alfred Aholo Apaka’s recording on the album Hawaiian Favorites)

It’s no secret that I love the golden-voiced crooner, Alfred Aholo Apaka.  His music is like a textbook for me.  I study his recordings and learn something new every time.  Wanna swoon?  Check out any of his recordings.  And this one is no exception!

The Hukilau Song, attributed to Mr. Jack Owens, is often dismissed as a “kitschy classic” or a “hula song for tourists.”  However, I got SCHOOLED (aka “educated AND scolded!”) for making that comment in front of Pops.  I’d been asking him about how Hālawa Valley residents fished in the bay when he was little boy.  He told me the significance of this song.  And it changed me forever!  Now I view the song through “fresh eyes.”  And I’m amazed at how important it is! (I’m writing a blog post about that.  Stay tuned!)

*Please click HERE to visit a tribute page for Uncle Alfred Apaka on Facebook.

2. Aloha ʻOe (Amy Hānaialiʻi and Willie K’s recording on the album Nostalgia)

This classic Hawaiian song has been calling to me, lately.  I mean, sometimes I hear it when I first wake up.  No… not in a “ghostly” way.  But in my mind, I hear it playing.  And the funny thing is that I never really had any kind of feeling toward it.  Yes… it’s a beautiful song.  Yes… it has an incredible story.  Yes… it was written by Queen Liliʻuokalani.  But I never really reacted to it. (And in the spirit of full disclosure, I used to feel guilty about that.)

The strange thing is that NOW it’s like I can’t stop listening to it.  I’m kind of–well–obsessed with it. I love it.  I love the imagery.  I love the melody–simple but tugs at the heart.  And I can’t get enough of the language–the poetry of the lyrics.  It blows my mind.

I’ve heard that the song is copyright free.  Public domain.  That means I can record it, right?  I’m seeing a new mele  page in the works… Stay tuned.

This may be one of my favorite songs of all times.  And Amy’s voice–as always–is fantastic.  There is something almost ethereal about her voice in this recording–like it’s calling from the past.  Wow. And when she collaborated musically with Willie K, it was magic!

*Please click HERE to visit Amy’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Willie K’s website

3. Pua Hone (The Brothers Cazimero’s recording on the album Hoʻala)

The Brothers Camizero have a sound that takes me instantly to Oʻahu.  It’s like being teleported to the islands via the touch of a button.  How cool is that?  (And so much cheaper than airfare these days!  Auē!)

This classic love song, written by Rev. Dennis Kamakahi, is given the royal treatment by The Caz.  So loving.  So gentle.  So nahenahe.  And their signature sound–and the measures of “loo loo loo” that say “Hey!  This is a Brothers Cazimero song!” make me smile from ear to ear.

Triple love it.  And this version is a hula dancer’s dream–no instrumental verses.  Perfect!

*Please click HERE to visit the Brothers Cazimero’s page at Mountain Apple Company.

4. Constellations (Kaukahi’s recording–featuring Jack Johnson–on the album Life In These Islands)

Ok.  This song rocks my world. And Kaukahi’s recording (which features the one and only Jack Johnson!) is fantastic!!  I love the sound of the amazing Hawaiian group accompanying Jack on this now-classic/neo-classic song.

Like many folks, I first heard the song on Jack’s album, In Between Dreams.  I remember thinking there was something different about the song.  The story that it told stood out.  It felt like old-style Hawaiian storytelling.

And then, when I saw it pop up on Kaukahi’s 2006 release, I thought, “RIGHT ON!  This is a good thing.  This is gonna be GOOD!”

I was delighted when I first heard their collaboration. And I remain delighted with every listening.  It tickles the ears.  The guitar.  The harmonies.  Trust me.  This is ono-licious!

*Please click HERE to visit Kaukahi’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Jack Johnson’s website.

5. Kuʻu Ipo Onaona (Ledward Kaapana’s recording on the album Treasures of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar)

You guys know that I love kī hōʻalu (slack key guitar) music.  It soothes this New Yorker’s often-frazzled nerves.

When Uncle Led plays this slack key classic–ah! The tension that holds my shoulders up by ears drains away.  So good!  It moves along with intention and purpose, yet never loses its sense of playfulness and fun.

(*Note:  This album, featuring some of the greatest living slack key players and entertainers, won the Grammy Award in 2008 for Hawaiian Music Album of the Year.)

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

**Christmas Bonus Song:  Kanaka Christmas (Lucky Luck’s recording on the album Santa’s Gone Hawaiian!)

This one makes me laugh.  For real.  Good family fun for the holidays.  And you can’t go wrong with Uncle Lucky Luck and his antics and his awesome Pidgin’-kine holiday story.  This track, while it’s spoken word, is extremely musical.  The music is in the rhythm and the sound of the language itself.

I’m so glad this recording has been preserved and released on CD for new generations to listen to it.

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!**

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The Crooner’s Weekly “TOP 5″ (10.26.11)

Wednesday, October 26, 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!

**And I wanted to send a special birthday shout out to my buddy, Grace!  HAU’OLI LĀ HĀNAU E GRACE!!

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

1. Lei Aloha  (Chick Daniels’ recording on the album A Beachboy Party)

I am so obsessed with this song!  (Ok, I’m so obsessed with this whole album!)

Are you guys familiar with it?  The album is like a little peephole into the past.  In 1963, Waltah Clarke threw a party for some of the legendary beachboys of Waikīkī (no… not the California band, the Beach Boys!) and recorded music from the event–and produced this album!  And its billed as “Duke Kahanamoku presents: A Beachboy Party with Waltah Clarke.”  The legendary Duke Kahanamoku!  True story!  The album makes me feel like I was one of the privileged folks in attendance that night.  And YOU can feel that way, too, just by listening!

This song, written by one of the most famous Waikīkī beachboys, Chick Daniels, rocks!  A great hapa-haole tune that makes me grin from ear to ear!  The beauty is in the simplicity of the arrangement.  Vocals, ‘ukulele, steel guitar, bass–and maybe a guitar?    I don’t have the names of all of the musicians that played that night, but it must have been a stellar lineup.

Chick Daniels’ vocals–and his stylistic choices–provide a shining example of the style of music that was being presented during the “golden days” of Waikīkī’s beachboys.  A rare glimpse.  A treat!

*Please click HERE to read more about Chick Daniels and the Waikīkī beachboys.

2. Ka Pua Mohala (Kūpaoa’s recording on the album English Rose)

This song came on while I was cooking dinner the other night.  And I had to stop chopping vegetables and just listen…

Written by the Hawaiian langauge master, Puakea Nogelmeir, it’s not a piece for someone looking for a song with just a few lyrics!  In fact, after listening to it, I had to go find the album’s liner notes–which, thankfully, include the lyrics!–and I was amazed at how complex they are.  Complex, but so rich!  And so wonderful!  The sound of ‘Ōlelo Hawaiʻi delights my ears.  And Puakea’s compositions are among my all-time favorite.

And when paired with the stunning harmonies of Kūpaoa, it’s a guaranteed win!  Their voices dance around each other, weaving in and out and creating a beautiful tapestry of sound.

I love this mele.  And I love their recording.

*Please click HERE to visit Kūpaoa’s website.

*Please click HERE to read more about Puakea Nogelmeir.

3. Kauaʻi Beauty (Lono’s recording on the album Old Style II)

I love Lono’s voice!  It takes me to Molokai instantly–he’s a pillar of the musical scene there!  And I love the “old style” he brings to the songs.

This classic mele, attributed to Henry Waiʻau, describes the beauty of the island of Kauaʻi.  Is there perhaps another meaning to the song?  Could the kaona (hidden meaning) be about a beloved?  One can only infer, but it’s not hard to imagine…

It’s awesome.  Lono’s recording makes me feel like I’m sitting at a kanikapila–jamming with other musicicans at sunset on Molokai.  Mahalo for that, Lono!

*Please click HERE to visit Lono’s website.

4. Bring Me Your Cup (Pure Heart’s recording on the album Pure Heart)

A blast from the past!

When I bought this album, I was just learning to play the ʻukulele.  This was one of the songs my friends and I learned so that we could jam together.  This music warmed many cold NYC nights.

So awesome!   So much fun!

So many memories come flooding back when I hear the fantastic talents of these young guys!  A favorite track from a favorite album.

5. Haunani Kī Hoʻalu (Kuʻuipo Kumukahi’s recording on the album Nā Hiwa Kupuna O Kuʻu One Hānau)

Kī hoʻalu (slack key guitar) music soothes my weary body and soul.

And this week, I’ve been delighted to by this recording.

According to the album’s liner notes, she wrote the song for her friend, the one and only Haunani Apoliona.

*Please click HERE to visit Kuʻuipo’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!

**10.31.11 Crooner Note:  Please note the correction!  The friend that inspired Ku’uipo Kumukahi’s composition is the one and only Haunani Apoliona and not Haunani Apolima as I’d originally posted.  A giant MAHALO to Auntie Maria for catching that!   Please see Auntie Maria’s comment below for more information.  (Auē! No wonder I didn’t recognize the name when I typed that!  Ha!  Now I do!)  

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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 3 SONGS from my iPod this week:

1. Kīkaha Mālie (Chris Yeaton’s recording on the album Kīkaha Mālie)

This is one of my favorite pieces that my good friend and gifted guitarist, Chris Yeaton, has recorded. A stunning guitar solo.

He is such a talented musician! A student of John Keawe and Keola Beamer, his music prowess never ceases to amaze me. This song, the title track from his 2003 album, is a killer! It sets the tone of the album and succeeds in painting pictures with sounds… like a seabird gliding along peacefully.

Today is Chris’ birthday. Please join me in wishing this excellent musician HAUʻOLI LĀ HĀNAU!

And please check out his page at Woodsong Acoustics Group.

**Crooner Update: Chris’ album IS available on Woodsong Acoustics Group website!

2. Wahine Uʻi (Andy Cummings & His Hawaiian Serenaders’ recording on the album, The Wandering Troubadours)

I love this song! And I can’t get enough of Andy Cummings’ version. Pure delight. I think his falsetto and lyrical voice are both fantastic. And the way that this song bounces along, well, it makes me grin. I can picture a dancer helping to illustrate the song’s lyrics about a woman’s beauty with her hands, body and face. Makes me want to be in Waikīkī right now.

In the research I did, I found discrepancies, of course! It’s credited to two different people: John Kameaaloha Almeida and Johnny Noble. Let’s face it–studying Hawaiian music is a lesson in learning to say “Okay…” as you hear different versions of each story. To this listener, it’s not as important WHO wrote it. I’m just glad SOMEONE did!

3. In A Little Hula Heaven (Darlene Ahuna’s recording on the album Bridge Between Generations)

This crooner classic, written for the 1937 film Waikiki Wedding, is such a gem! And Darlene Ahuna’s version of it is perfect–simple and bright and lively and light. You can’t ask for better than that.

I’m kind of “hooked” on this song. I’ve been singing it all over the place as I make my way around NYC. I wonder what the people on the street think as I’m walking around singing it. Ah… who cares?! It makes me smile!

What are YOU listening to? Drop me a line and let me know!!

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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 3 SONGS from my iPod this week:

1. Waiakanaio (Ledward Kaʻapana’s recording on the album Black Sand)

From what I read, the song was composed by George Huddy for the group Hui ʻOhana. I love how Uncle Led plays this as an instrumental piece–kī hōʻalu-style.

Letʻs face it: the guy is a MASTER musician. And when he plays the 12-string guitar, it shimmers. To me, it’s the sound of light dancing on the surface of the ocean. I love it.

2. Over (Keahiwai’s recording on the album Local Girls)

I have been feeling so nostalgic this week! I found a mix CD that I made from my “extensive” Hawaiian collection when I first started listening to Hawaiian music–and this song kicked it off! Keahiwai was DEFINITELY a huge group at the time. And I couldn’t get enough of their sound.

I remember streaming KCCN FM 100 on the computer at work. I haunted Tower Records here in NYC and combed through their limited Hawaiian selection. I think I bought every CD they had!

Now, for those of you who consider yourselves to be Hawaiian purists and will turn your noses up at Hawaiian “pop” or “Jawaiian” music, please note: A lot of the music we call “traditional” today was once the popular music of the time.

I remember thinking Keahiwai’s music connected me to the islands. Folks were listening to them on Hawaiian radio stations. And I was listening in my apartment in NYC. A bridge between our islands…

You’ll love their tight harmonies. You’ll love their great and catchy hooks. And I’ll bet you’ll find yourself dancing around a bit when you hear it. I do. Their music still makes me smile.

3. Jingle Bells (In Hawaiian) ( Genoa Keawe & Her Hawaiians’ recording on the album Santa’s Gone Hawaiian)

While working at an amusement park one summer, I learned about a tradition that I quickly adopted: Christmas in July! It was so fun to try to create a holiday feeling in the middle of summer. We put up a decorated tree–complete with homemade ornaments because the stores didn’t have any for sale in July!

So… before the month ends, I wanted to keep the tradition alive and listen to some holiday music. This week, I’ve been hooked on a gem of a recording of Aunty Genoa Keawe & Her Hawaiians. It’s truly a classic–and how cool to be able to play the “sounds of yesteryear” using today’s technology!

Classic + Fun = Awesome

What are YOU listening to? Drop me a line and let me know!!

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