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Posts Tagged ‘Steven Espaniola’

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. Hiʻilawe ( The Aloha Pumehana Serenaders’ recording on the album Hula Gems)

From the opening strumming of the ukulele, I was hooked.  100%  (The strum reminds me of a strum one might hear on an Aunty Genoa Keawe recording.)

The classic song about the waterfall known as Hiʻilawe on Hawaiʻi Island gets such royal treatment by the Aloha Pumehana Serenaders.  Smooth. Crooner-ific.  And yet totally danceable!  Right on!

2. Mālama Mau Hawaiʻi (Amy ‘s recording on the album Hānaialiʻi)

Another song with a super-catchy, infectious strum!  And this one also has moments of Flamenco guitar!  Give it a listen and you’ll see what I mean.

This song really features the stellar voice of Amy Hānaialii Gilliom so beautifully–highlighting her middle-to-low range.  Showcasing the emotion she brings to a piece.  Like a friend of mine says, “Her voice is like butter!”

And it bears the unmistakeable stamp of Willie K. and his fantastic musicianship.  Those cleanly executed/articulated fast strums.  Such power and control!

*Please click HERE to visit Amy’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Wille K’s website.

3. Blue Lei (Bill Akamuhou’s recording on the album Hukilau Hulas)

This is a classic hapa-haole tune!  Crooner-ific to ‘da max!

The first time I really remember hearing it–I mean really listening to the song and its lyrics–was when my friend, Liko, sang it at a party at Aloha Music Camp when it was still being held on the island of Molokai.  He jammed this sweet vintage tune and strummed the ʻukulele and melted everyone’s hearts.

It’s a tough one to strum, though!  Not a beginner’s tune on the ʻukulele–it’s got some complex chords.  (But totally worth the effort to learn it!)

*Please click HERE to read more about Bill Akamuhou on squareone.org.

4. Nightbird (Kalapana’s recording on the album Kalapana)

You guys know how much I love a good ’70′s vibe.

And this song OPENS with jazz flute!  Are you kidding me?  Awesome!

I mean this song just begs to be listened to while cruising along in a car with the windows down and warm trade winds blowing your  (feathered?) hair around.

Ah… Kalapana… Mahalo for the gift of this song.

*Please click HERE to check out Kalapana’s page at last.fm

5. E Kuʻu Morning Dew (Instrumental) (Steven Espaniola’s recording on the album Hoʻomaka)

I was listening to this song today and my heart said “YES!”–it’s so good!

This classic song, written by Eddie Kamae, is given the royal treatment by Steven Espaniola with beautiful (and complex!) ʻukulele playing.  Right on.

After the song had finished playing, I played it, again.  And again.  Yup.  Three times.  It’s that good.  Trust me.

*Please click HERE to visit Steven’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!**

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A wrench…

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A wrench has been thrown into my plans today.

I can’t post the latest installment in the Finding the Voice series as I’d hoped.  Sorry, gang!  Looks like it will go up on Monday instead. Here are the links to the earlier installments:  (Please click HERE to read Part 1)   (Please click HERE to read Part 2)   (Please click HERE to read Part 3)  (Please click HERE to read Part 4)  (Please click HERE to read Part 5)

Argh!

But I have 2 IMPORTANT THINGS to share with you today:

1.  It’s James’ birthday!  Everyone say, “Happy Birthday, James!  HAUʻOLI LĀ HĀNAU E JAMES!”

2.  Please check out Steven Espaniola’s awesome new blog-series, Anatomy of a Mele!  I totally love it!  (And I know you will, too!)

Happy Thursday, gang!  Hang in there–the weekend approaches!

With Aloha,

Jason

2 Comments

The Crooner’s Weekly “TOP 5″ (10.19.11)

Wednesday, October 19, 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. Royal Hawaiian Hotel  (Steven Espaniola’s recording on the album Hoʻomaka)

A fantastic recording of a classic Hawaiian song by a modern master!

This is one of those songs that has been recorded a million times.  But…

It’s always exciting to see/hear what an artist does with it.  How they make it their own.

And Steven Espaniola definitely seems to have taken some time to really approach the song to see how it speaks to him.  He found a way to put his own stamp–his distinctive sound and style–on it.

I’m hooked on his recording this week.

*Please click HERE to visit Steven’s website.

2. Ka Huila Wai (Nā Palapalai’s recording on the album Ke ʻAla Beauty)

You guys know how much I love the sound of Nā Palapalai.  I’m a huge fan!

And this song, attributed to Alfred Alohikea, is a great example of why I love ‘em so much.  So perfect.  Their voices–wow.

Wow.

Best way to sum it up for me.  Wow.

*Please click HERE to visit Nā Palapalai’s website.

3. E Mau (Teresa Bright’s recording on the album Self Portrait)

A jazzy rendition of a classic song attributed to Alvin Kaleolani Isaacs, Sr.

You know, I’ve heard people say that Teresa Bright is “too jazzy” or “not traditional.”  But I have to say that I really appreciate her interpretation of some of the classic songs.  It’s different–which is sure to ruffle a few feathers in the Hawaiian music community–but it’s a style that’s definitely HERS.  And how appropriate to to have a very contemporary version of song about perpetuation.  Her version brings new life to it.  I applaud that.

Right on, Aunty Teresa!  Right on!

4. Pane Mai (The Kaʻau Crater Boys’ recording on the album Making Waves)

One of my favorite things to do is to sit in on a jam session (kanikapila) with my friends.

And this recording sounds like a kanikapila, for sure.  I mean, if a jam session could be professionally produced and consisted of two world-class musicians like Ernie Cruz, Jr. and Troy Fernandez.

The song, written by Robert Cazimero, speaks of calling out to one’s beloved–even rousing one’s beloved from a deep sleep.

I love it.  I love how the song makes me feel.  And I love the smile that it produces when I listen to it.

5. Silent Rhythm (Anthony Natividad’s recording on the album Ahupuaʻa)

I love the sound of the ohe hano ihu, the bamboo nose flute.  And Anthony Natividad is a true master of this ancient instrument.

This week, I’ve  needed to his soothing recordings.  They reach deep inside me and take me to “a quiet place.”  And living in NYC, sometimes you just need that.

This wonderful recording features ambient nature sounds in the background.  It reminds me of sitting near the auwai in Halawa Valley.  Ah…

(**Crooner Note: I might be the worldʻs worst nose flute player.  But I hoping that the more I listen to his album–and practice, of course–the better my chances are of actually being able to play it one day.)

*Please click HERE to visit Anthony’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!

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