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Posts Tagged ‘The Crooner’s Weekly TOP 5’

Jason Poole, Accidental Hawaiian Crooner, Genoa Keawe, Aunty Genoa, Auntie Genoa, Croonerʻs Weekly TOP 5, TOP 5, Hawaiian music,

Today would have been Aunty Genoa Keawe’s 94th birthday.

She is still a daily inspiration to me.

I keep a photo of her on my desk. When I reach my “What on earth am I doing?” moments, I look over at her and remember.  We push on.  I mua.  We share Aloha.  That’s the most important thing.

And to celebrate the anniversary of her birth, I wanted to share with you my TOP 5 Favorite Recordings by Aunty Genoa Keawe.

(P.S. Narrowing it down to only 5 recordings is impossible!  Any one of her recordings could have been on this list!)

LOVE YOU FOREVER, TŪTŪ!

Me ke Aloha pau ʻole.

Jason

***

1. Maile Swing (from the album Hula Hawaiian Style)

A favorite recording of Aunty Genoa. (Perhaps circa 1946?) I’ve read in the album’s liner notes that this is the historic first recording of her sweet singing voice.  And on this recording, the legendary composer, John K. Almeida leads the band.

FANTASTIC!

2. Ipo Hula (from the album Genoa Keawe sings Lūʻau Hulas)

A song composed by another Hawaiian musical legend, Aunty Lena Machado!

The song’s title translates as “Sweetheart Hula” and Aunty Genoa serves it up in her typical hula style!  There’s something magical in the way she presents a hula song–keeping a steady beat and letting the lyrics take on a life of their own–essential when it’s being illustrated through dance.

She is the Queen of Hula Music for a reason!  Nō ka best!

3. Nā Ka Pueo (from the album Party Hulas)

Aunty Genoa rocked the uptempo hulas! Uihā!

This song is attributed to Samuel Kalani Kāʻeo.  Some recordings have the lyrics “No ka Pueokahi…” meaning “Love for the Pueokahi.”  It’s believed this is the original text.  According to the book HE MELE ALOHA, more contemporary versions feature the lyrics as recorded by Aunty Genoa, “Na ka Pueokahi…” meaning “Love from the Pueokahi.”

In any case, I love HER version.  The strum!  The beat!  (And THE VOICE!)

I dare you to listen to it and not jump up to move around.  I dare you…

4. Pua ʻOlena (from the album In The Hula Style)

The last time I had the chance to sing with Aunty Genoa, I prepared this song.  I’ll never forget sitting in the hotel room in Waikīkī and thinking, “I want to sing something really special with her tonight.”  This was the song that came to mind.  And for me, the song will always be associated with her.

Written by James Kalei Kaholokula, Sr, this song is a beautiful ballad.  And Aunty Genoa’s recording always brings a tear to my eye when I hear it.

5. ʻAlika (from the album Aloha to Aloha Grill)

One song that comes to many people’s minds when they hear the name Aunty Genoa Keawe is ʻAlika!  And for good reason, too:  she made this song HER OWN.

How?  Well…

She showed her vocal prowess–with her awesome falsetto stylings!– and her stamina–by holding notes until the cows came home!

In my own collection of discs, I have several recordings of her singing it.  But THIS recording is live.  You can really hear the magic in this one.  It’s almost as good as being there.

A favorite for so many people.  And certainly, a favorite of mine.

But wait!  There’s more!

You can catch the Keawe ʻOhana at their weekly performance in Waikīkī at the Marriott Waikiki Beach Resort!  For more information, please click HERE.  (Wait ’til you hear the vocals of her lovely granddaughter, Pomaikaʻi Keawe Lyman.  Unbelievable!  And Aunty Momi and Uncle Gary and Uncle Alan and… and… and…)

And Aunty Genoa’s son, the legendary GARY AIKO, has just released a new album of some of the smoothest music you’ll ever hear.  Please click HERE to visit his site and listen to samples!

And please click HERE to visit the website of Aunty Genoa Keawe.

Do YOU have a favorite Genoa Keawe recording?  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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Aloha kākou!

Here’s this week’s question:

The album AND SO WE ARE was recorded by which musical group:

A. KALAPANA

B. NĀ PALAPALAI

C. HUI ʻOHANA

D. OLOMANA

(*Hint: I mentioned this album on my Crooner’s Weekly Top 5 post earlier this week!)

• 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.  I’m so impressed that you all have the correct answer this week!  Right on!

The answer is D. OLOMANA.

It’s one of my favorite albums, too!  To check it out, please click HERE.

And this week’s winner, chosen randomly from all of the correct answers is… (Drum roll, please…) BRENDA STOUGH!  Congrats, Brenda!  That makes you this week’s Trivia Superstar!

A giant MAHALO to everyone for playing along this week.  Hope you’ll play along next week, too!

Happy Weekend!

A hui hou…

Jason

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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. The Hawaiian Wedding Song (Ke Kali Nei Au) (Alfred Aholo Apaka’ recording on the album Hawaiian Wedding Song)

The golden voice of Hawaiian crooner Alfred Aholo Apaka never disappoints me.

And this song, sung as a beautifully touching duet with Diana Moncado, is–well–it knocks my socks off.  Amazing.  Amazing.  Amazing.  Such control.

Wow.

So beautiful, this song.

Some say it’s not the original Hawaiian Song.  And that leads us to the next selection.

2. Lei Aloha Lei Makamae (Aunty Genoa Keawe’s recording on the album Among My Hawaiian Souvenirs)

Aunty Genoa sings this duet with her son, the amazing baritone crooner, Gary Aiko.  Wow.

I mean it:  W.O.W.

Amazing voices singing an amazing song.

I was told by several folks in Hawaii that THIS is the original Hawaiian Wedding Song and not Ke Kali Nei Au… and who am I to argue, right?  I just keep learning and growing.  That’s my job.  (I think we need to discuss this in more detail, don’t you?  Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post!)

This piece, written by the incomparable Charles E. King, has some of the most beautiful lyrics I’ve ever read.

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

3. Kaimuki Hula (Ata Damasco’s recording on the album Paʻina Hou!)

Are you looking for an amazing hula tune with some of the smoothest vocals (and falsetto!) you’ll ever hear?  Well, this is your song!

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the voice (and ʻukulele stylings) of Mr. Ata Damasco.  So smooth.  So seemingly effortless.  I wanna sing like him someday!

*Please click HERE to read more about Ata Damasco on his page on the Ululoa website.

4. Pua Pakalana (The Hula Honeys’ recording on the album Life Just Got Sweeter)

I love the sweet sounds of The Hula Honeys!  And this song, penned by Robyn Kneubuhl, is so dreamy!  I mean it… Heavenly. Ethereal.

According to the album’s liner notes, she wrote the song about the Pakalana flower as it reminds her of her grandmother.

If you close your eyes, I think you’ll be able to see a hula being danced to it.

Sounds that remind of us of “yesteryear” being sung today by a duo of amazing musicians like Robin Kneubuhl and Ginger Johnson.  Yes, please.

*Please click HERE to visit The Hula Honeys’ website.

5. Heʻeia (Rev. Dennis Kamakahi’s recording on the album ʻOhana)

One of my favorite composers/performers is Uncle Dennis.  And he’s such a great mentor for all things Hawaiian.  A true source!

In this recording, he shares the song based on an chant that honors King David Kalākaua.  The recording is like a jam session–including Uncle Dennis’ amazing slack key guitar skills, David Kamakahi’s sparkling ʻukulele stylings and Uncle Dennis’ golden baritone voice.

Wow… imagine what it would have been like to be a fly on the wall in that recording studio when they recorded it!

*Please click HERE to visit Uncle Dennis’ 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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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. Kaʻu Nui ( The Kahauanu Lake Trio’s recording on the album At the Halekulani Hotel)

Oh!  That’s the  song!

This song is familiar to many people.  I’d certainly heard it before, but I wasn’t aware of the title.  (Too often, that’s the case:  I listened to so much Hawaiian music before I started to understand the language.  Unfortunately, that meant I was familiar with a song’s melody, but had no way to look it up!  Ah–another benefit to knowing even a little bit of Hawaiian!)

The song, written by Mary Kawena Pukui and Maddy Lam, celebrates the district of Kau on the island of Hawaii.  It describes the amazing land and it’s beauty.  I love songs that teach me about an area!  The best way to learn!

And the Kahauanu Lake Trio’s rendition has got a “swing” to it that will get into your bones!

(A special “shout out” to the students at Molokai High School who sang this Nā Mele O Maui song competition earlier this year, which honored the music of Uncle Kahauanu Lake.  Right on, gang!  You all sounded FANTASTIC!)

*Please click HERE to read Uncle K’s page on the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame’s website.

2. Rain Liʻiliʻi (Mark Yamanaka’s recording on the album Lei Pua Kenikeni)

Listening to my iPod on “shuffle mode” this week, this song caught me off guard. When it first started,  I thought it was Eddie Kamae and the Sons of Hawaiʻi.  (That ʻono steel guitar!  Sweet!)  And then I heard Mark Yamanaka’s distinctive voice.  What a treat to be surprised!

Wanna know why it might have that “old-school” kanikapila-style sound?  Well, it was written by one of my favorite composers, the one and only Rev. Dennis Kamakahi!  And Uncle Dennis wrote and recorded many of his compositions while he was a part of the Sons of Hawaiʻi.  Turns out, it’s no coincidence, at all!

I love the song.  And I love Mark’s wonderful rendition.  Right on!

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

3. Aleamai (Kuʻuipo Kumukahi’s recording on the album Nā Hiwa Kupuna O Kuʻu One Hānau)

I can’t get enough of  Kuʻuipo Kumukahi’s voice.  Gentle yet powerful.  When she hits those low notes, wow… it resonates deep in my body.  My naʻau–my gut.  I can feel it!

A song to celebrate where her family home is, not too far from Hilo on Hawaiʻi Island.  It’s got that distinctive hula-feel.  I wonder if it’s been danced as a hula!  If I close my eyes, I can see one, for sure.

Her music inspires me to try to write my own song.  And her voice inspires me to sing.  Mahalo for that!

*Please click HERE to visit Kuʻuipos’s website.

4. Hawaiian Eyes (Jon Osorio & Randy Borden’s recording on the album Hawaiian Eyes)

You guys know how much I love a good ’70′s vibe.  And this song–complete with some killer jazz flute!–rocks me to my core!

This is an instant “feel good” song for me.  I can’t help it–I start swaying and my neck starts swinging.  Awesome!

And the “hand claps” section that comes in on the chorus = over the top awesomeness!

5. Kāʻanapali Sunset (solo ʻukulele version) (Herb Ohta Jr’s recording on the album ʻUkulele Dream)

Herb Ohta, Jr. playing a solo ʻukulele with his amazingly skilled hands.

Perfection.

For realz.  Check it out.

(For a simple strummer like me, I can’t even imagine ever being able to play like this… Wow!)

*Please click HERE to visit Herb Ohta Jr’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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The Crooner’s Weekly “TOP 5″ (2.1.12)

Wednesday, February 1, 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. Ka Pua E (The Mākaha Sons of Niʻihau’s recording on the album Nā Mele Hoʻoheno Vol.1)

This hapa-haole song, attributed on the album’s liner notes to Edward Marino, is lovely!  It brought an instant smile to my face.  And in my mind, I choreographed a hula to it!  Ha!

I love listening to the young voices that made up the Mākaha Sons of Niʻihau.  Their tight, Hawaiian-style harmonies make my head tingle.

While it would definitely change if sung by a solo artist (i.e. no harmonies), this song could become a crooner staple.  I think I need to learn it and add it to my repertoire.

*Please click HERE to read Tropical Music’s brief (but informative!) bio of the Mākaha Sons of Niʻihau.

2. Kupa Landing (The Hoʻopiʻi Brother’s recording on the album Hawaiian Classics)

A favorite!  Many folks know this song by its distinctive hui (chorus) where the Hoʻopiʻi Brothers rock out with their amazing leo kiʻekiʻe (falsetto) stylings and paniolo (cowboy)-style yodeling!

The song describes Kupa Landing (Cooper Landing) at Hoʻokena on Hawaiʻi Island. It must have been an amazing place in its heydey–the way it makes the singer break out into song with such jubilation.  (Especially the way the Hoʻopiʻi Brothers sing it!  Wow!)

They are so quick and amazing in this recording that it never fails to make me laugh.  The sound is pure and wild and FUN.

*Please click HERE to read their bio on Mele.com.

*Sadly, Uncle Sol passed away in 2006.  Please click HERE to read about his amazing life in his obituary.

3. Miliʻōpua (Cody Pueo Pata’s recording on the album He Aloha…)

Cody Pueo Pata’s leo kiʻekiʻe (falsetto) always amazes me.  I remember being in a car on Oʻahu and hearing his voice on the radio.  I asked everyone in the car to stop talking so that we could just listen.  He makes it sound effortless, gliding from low to high.

This song, written by Pata, describes a hill on Oʻahu–but he refers to the song as a mele hoʻoipoʻipo.  Often times in Hawaiian music, there is an “implied meaning” that lies just beneath the surface/literal meaning of a song.  It’s called kaona.  Sometimes a composer will tell you what they meant or implied, like Pata does with this song.  Other times, you are left on your own to sit and imagine what the composer might have been saying with the song.

This is a favorite.

*Please click HERE Ululoa Productions’ webpage for this album.

4. Kihawahine (Amy Hānaialiʻi Gilliom and Willie K’s recording on the album Hawaiian Tradition)

The first time I heard this song, I was sure I was listening to a lullaby.  It’s so soothing!  Gentle ʻukulele and voice open the song.  And then a lovely piano joins in the mix.

I remember when I went to the album’s liner notes to read more about it.  The song, written by Keliʻi Tauʻā, is about the lizard goddess, Kihawahine.  I was shocked!  I guess I’d figured that a song about a lizard goddess would be fierce instead of gentle.  It just goest to show you how we are influenced by our environments–I was certainly limited by my own preconceptions.

A favorite song, indeed.  And Amy’s voice, as always, is incredible.

*Please click HERE to visit Amy’s website.

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

5.  Rainbow Ridge (Jeff Peterson’s recording on the album Maui On My Mind)

This morning I was sitting at my computer with a cup of coffee listening to music on “shuffle mode” and I was blown away by this song from Jeff’s album, Maui on My Mind.

I love the rich tradition of kī hōʻalu, slack key guitar. And I love the sound of contemporary guitar artists.  And Jeff marries both the traditional and the new so brilliantly in this recording.

I’m always intrigued by a song’s title for an instrumental track.  Always curious about why the composer called it by that name.  But this song really invokes a sense of place.  In the story I’ve written in my mind, it’s a place Jeff goes to–a place both ancient and new.  Full of life.  A place that invigorates him.

This track rocked my morning.  I hope it rocks your world, too!

*Please click HERE to visit Jeff’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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The Crooner’s Weekly “TOP 5″ (10.12.11)

Wednesday, October 12, 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. Na Ka Pueo (Joe Keawe’s recording on the album Hawaii’s Falsetto Returns)

I love this song. And I love the amazing voice of Uncle Joe Keawe.  And I love this whole album.  Yup.  It’s a triple love.

The song is classic, upbeat Hawaiian tune that is one of the most-requested songs when I have the chance to strum/sing for hula dancers.  (And I LOVE it when they dance it with an ipu, a Hawaiian percussive instrument made from a gourd.)

It’s also a great song for leo kiʻekiʻe, Hawaiian falsetto, singing.  Rock on, Uncle Joe!  What an amazing voice had.

Interesting to note that he sings the lyrics as “Na ka Pueokahi” which means “Love from the Pueokahi” instead of “No ka Pueokahi” which means “Love for the Pueokahi.”  If you listen to a lot of Hawaiian music, you’ll hear both of these versions–it depends on the artist.  Interesting, right?

2. Pua Lilia (Nathan Aweau’s recording on the album E Apo Mai )

Nathan Aweau has one of the smoothest voices I’ve ever heard.

And when he presents the songs on this album (and some of his others, too!) he puts a very contemporary spin on some very traditional Hawaiian songs.  I’ve seen kūpuna, elders, roll their eyes when they hear his recordings.  And I can understand them–he takes a classic in a very new direction.

And most of the time, I might be tempted to agree with them.  Why “fix” something that isn’t broken, right?

But Nathan is a musician of the highest caliber.  He presents these classic songs in a new light.  He totally respects the original composition.  When I listen to him, I don’t hear anything that smacks of “arrogance.”  In fact, it’s like he’s paying homage to the songs’ original composers by bringing them into the contemporary spotlight.

The more I listen to it, the more I love it.  I love the fusion factor–all of the instruments (is that a marimba?!) and percussion he uses in this song.  I’m blown away.

New directions for classic/traditional paths.  Interesting to explore, for sure.

*Please click HERE to visit Nathan Aweau’s website.

3. Anahaki (Amy Hānaialiʻi’s recording on the album Generation Hawaiʻi)

Another upbeat, uptempo song that has been rocking my little corner of the world this week!

This song, written by Amy Hānaialiʻi (with the Hawaiian translation by Kaumakaiwa Kanakaʻole!) makes me smile.

I don’t want to reveal too much–buy the album and read the liner notes!–but the song details a love affair and references the famous ʻiwa bird that resides on Molokai.

It’s a contemporary song that feels like a classic hula written a long time ago.  Amy, as always, delivers.  Love it!

*Please click HERE to visit Amy Hānaialiʻi Gilliom’s website.

4. Waikaloa (Peter Ahia’s recording on the album Peter Sings)

I love this hula classic!  I have so many recordings of it.  And this week, it’s Peter Ahia’s version that has won me over.

I love the sweet quality in his voice.  I love his enthusiasm.  And I love his interpretation of this mele.  (And according to the album’s liner notes, Aunty Genoa Keawe loved his singing, too!)

It makes me smile when I hear it.  (And it makes me think of my good buddy, Ms. Marian, who loves this song.)

5. Pua Sadinia (Ray Kāne’s recording on the album Punahele)

I love kī hōʻalu (slack key guitar) music.

And this song, handled so deftly in Uncle Raymond’s masterful hands, is a true treasure.  Wow…

NYC has a way of beating a person up at times–physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  And when that happens, I turn to recordings like this.  A gentle salve for the wounds.  And it helps to recharge the battery, too.

Uncle Raymond Kāne’s recordings are to be listened to–and enjoyed–over and over, again.

*Please click HERE to read the album’s liner notes.

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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