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Posts Tagged ‘The Wandering Troubadours’

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. Coconut Island (Andy Cummings & His Hawaiian Serenders’ recording on the album The Wandering Troubadours)

Vintage Hawaiian music rocks my little piece of the world. Listening to those voices from the past (both distant and not-so distant) is so rewarding! I learn something every time. Something from every song and every singer.

I was talking with a fellow musician recently about this song–and songs like it. She said she hated this kind of music. She felt it made Hawaiʻi (and the other Pacific Island nations) sound like a cliche. Something you’d see in a postcard. Not realistic. An oversimplified picture of “tropical paradise.” And I understand what she’s saying–to a certain extent.

But to HATE a song like this is such a shame. I mean, it was written by Andy Cummings!  (Note: Please check out the album’s liner notes for the story behind this song.  It’s great!)

While I’m all for painting a realistic portrait of Hawaiʻi, I think it’s important to honor this tradition.  There were moments where this particular place mentioned in the song truly WAS a tropical paradise. And when I’m hanging out and singing with the kūpuna/elders on Molokai, it’s not unusual to hear a song like this… It is full of references found in songs of that time. It’s sweet. It’s nostalgic. It’s an important part of Hawaiian musical history. To ignore it or even dismiss it is a shame.  I love it!  (Ok… I’ll get off of my soapbox now.  Ha!)

And the song has all of the fantastic earmarks of the era!  Andy Cummings is one of my favorite Hawaiian crooners.  He can make you swoon when he croons.

2. La ʻElima (Diana Aki’s recording on the album Troubled Paradise)

A famous song that’s been recorded by many folks. But this week, it was Aunty Diana Aki’s version that stole my heart.

The song talks about a tidal wave that struck the fishing village of Miloliʻi on February 5th, 1898 (La ʻelima o Pepeluali.)

There’s something magical in the way she sings the song. A simple accompaniment helps to bring it to life–and doesn’t diminish the song or the story.  And Aunty Diana’s voice…WOW!  Folk-style and refinement married beautifully (seamlessly!) in one voice!

For another great telling of the story, please check out the book CLOUDS OF MEMORIES by Aunty Mona Kahele.  It’s an outstanding book full of great stories and information by an elder from the island of Hawaiʻi.

3. Niʻihau (Nā Palapalai’s recording on the album Nanea)

From the spoken introduction by a beloved kupuna/elder to the last note, this song R.O.C.K.S!

In their signature harmonies, Nā Palapalai soar into the stratosphere in modulation after modulation with amazing falsetto!  The song feels like a traditional hula–and yet it’s “amped up” by a piano–something my ear isn’t used to hearing in many Hawaiian recordings.  What a wonderful addition!

Triple love it.  Start to finish-they take you on a journey, for sure.  Amazing!

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

(Their new album comes out at the end of the month!  Uihā!  I can’t wait!)

4. Hele on to Kauaʻi (Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s recording on the album E Ala Ē)

When I listen to the voice of Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, I’m instantly transported back to a different time.  His voice helped introduce me to Hawaiian music.  His voice acted as a touchstone for me when my world was dark and cloudy.  An anchor keeping me grounded and steady.  And HAPPY!

This song always makes me smile.  Love it.  Love the bouncy ʻukulele that accompanies his gentle voice.  Love the echo/reverb that’s used–it almost makes his voice sound like it’s coming from so far away.  Love the song’s lyrics–how it describes the magical “Garden Isle” of Kauaʻi.

A great song + an amazing singer = a winning combination.

*Please click HERE to visit the official IZ website.

5. Beautiful Hula Dancer (John Keawe’s recording on the album Beautiful Hula Dancer)

Today is the birthday of my friend, Hope Keawe.  (Hauʻoli Lā Hānau e Hope!)  So it only seems fitting to close out this week’s TOP 5 list with a song written about her!  (She really IS a beautiful hula dancer!)

Her husband, the amazing John Keawe, wrote this song about his wife–she’s his beloved companion and his muse!

And the song is awesome.  Listen to it.  You’ll see what I mean….  (And have a tissue handy to dry your eyes!)

*Please click HERE to visit John’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Hope’s page on John’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″ (2.8.12)

Wednesday, February 8, 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. Wahine Uʻi (Andy Cummings & His Hawaiian Serenader’s recording on the album The Wandering Troubadours)

I needed a good dose of vintage Hawaiian music this week and I looked to one of my favorites, Mr. Andy Cummings.  His style is so classy!  That falsetto of his–wow!  And the sultry sound of the lap steel guitar… so good!

The song, attributed to John K. Almeida, is a favorite, too.  The title says it all, Beautiful Woman.  (Or perhaps the song praises several beautiful women?!)

A classic and a favorite.

*Please click HERE to read Square One’s bio page of Andy Cummings.

2. Hanohano Hawaiʻi (The Sons of Hawaiʻi’s recording on the album The Folk Music of Hawaiʻi)

A classic, traditional Hawaiian song done in a classic and traditional Hawaiian way!  And who better to do that than Eddie Kamae and the Sons of Hawaiʻi?

The song sings of four of the main/major Hawaiian islands (Hawaiʻi, Maui, Oʻahu and Kauaʻi) and tells of the flower associated with that island.

I needed this song this week.  Something simple that I could strum and sing along with.

Right on.

*Please click HERE to read a tribute page about the Sons of Hawaiʻi.

3. Ā ʻOia (The Kahauanu Lake Trio’s recording on the album He Aloha Nō ʻO Honolulu)

I love this song, don’t you?

Attributed to John K. Almeida, this song’s title proclaims, “That’s it!”  The uptempo classic bounces along and compels the listener to smile.  The singer tells his/her intended that they will win them over.  (Or that they already have won them over!)

And when it’s done by Uncle K. and the Trio, you know it’s being done by the best.  Triple love their recording of it!

I love to see this hula, too!  I’ve seen many hula groups use pūʻili, split bamboo, when they dance this song.  Fantastic!

*Please click HERE to read a classic article about Uncle K. from the Starbulletin archives.

4. Haleʻiwa Hula (Aunty Genoa Keawe’s recording on the album Hulas of Hawaiʻi)

If I’m ever feeling down or depressed (or suffering from “winter blues”) I know that Aunty Genoa’s voice will pick me right up and help me find my smile.

Her unmistakable haʻi (female version of Hawaiian falsetto sings) is the best there is.  And I’m convinced you can hear the smile in her voice when she sings!

This song, written by Amy Hānaialiʻi Gilliom’s grandmother, Jennie Wood, is a hula classic.  And it’s a song every Hawaiian musician should know!

LOVE IT!

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

5.  ’Neath One Big Tin Roof (Aunty Nona Beamer & Keola Beamer’s recording on the album The Golden Lehua Tree)

This story and song brings tears to my eyes when I hear it.  I love it, for sure.  And it brings such wonderful memories to mind.

I first heard this song at Aloha Music Camp when I attended it in 2007 when it was on the island of Molokai.  Aunty Nona, Keola, Moanalani and Kaliko all presented it one evening after the classes and workshops had finished for the day.  Seeing them all together, singing and laughing and telling this charming story of a giant family–comprised of all sorts of creatures!–is an image I’ll hold in my heart forever.

Aunty Nona has left an amazing legacy.  And it’s inspiring to watch her family carry on her work.  And to see all of the seeds that she planted in folks over the years taking root and flourishing.

I’m so thankful for this recording.

**A giant “ALOHA!” to everyone at Aloha Music Camp this week.  I’m there strumming and singing with you in spirit.**

*Please click HERE to visit Aloha Music Camp’s official website.

*Please click HERE to visit Keola’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Kaliko Beamer-Trapp’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit the Mohala Hou Foundation’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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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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