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Posts Tagged ‘Willie K.’

Hawaiian Christmas Music? Right on!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Accidental Hawaiian Crooner, Molokai, Halawa Valley, Anakala Pilipo, Hawaii, Jason Poole, Christmas Music, Christmas Music Playlist, Hawaiian Christmas music, kealii reichel, amy hanaialii, john keawe, keahiwai, slack key, eddie kamae, sons of hawaii, hookena, willie k.,

Aloha Kalikimaka!

Hui!  Aloha mai!

Christmas is right around the corner.  And that means that everywhere I go, I hear Christmas music Piped in over the loudspeakers at stores, at holiday parties, on television and the radio, my world is filled with the sounds of the season.

Here in NYC, we hear a lot of the “traditional” recordings.  The standards, recorded by the greats like Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Julie Andrews, Nat King Cole, Burl Ives, Brenda Lee et al. (You know the ones I’m talking about, right?)

And please don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE those songs.

But as a Hawaiian Crooner, I need some holiday tunes with an Aloha-infused, Hawaiian vibe to help ring in the holiday spirit.

And I’m guessing YOU do, too.

So this year, I thought I would share a list of some of my ALL-TIME FAVORITE HAWAIIAN CHRISTMAS ALBUMS.  Culled from my personal Hawaiian Christmas music collection–which is far from complete–these albums are in constant rotation in our home during the holiday season.  Each of ‘em are full of great tracks that will make you smile.

(Note: Click on the title for a link to Mele.com–a fantastic online Hawaiian music source.)

The Crooner’s Hawaiian Christmas Music Picks:

A Hawaiian Christmas (Amy Hānaialiʻi)

Maluhia (Kealiʻi Reichel)

Hilo for the Holidays (Kuana Torres Kahele)

Christmas ʻUkulele Style (Daniel Ho)

Christmas Time (Eddie Kamae & The Sons of Hawaiʻi)

Huliau (Hoʻokena)

Santa’s Gone Hawaiian! (Various Artists)

Christmas Day in Hawaiʻi Nei (Mākaha Sons)

Kī hōʻalu Christmas: Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar (Various Artists)

Willie Kalikimaka (Willie K.)

Christmas Is… (John Keawe)

Merry Christmas (Keahiwai)

What are some of YOUR FAVORITE Hawaiian Christmas albums?  Drop me a line and let me know! I’d love to hear from you!

 

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The Crooner’s Weekly TOP 5 (8.29.12)

Wednesday, August 29, 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.  Beyond The Reef (The Waikiki Hula Boys’ recording on the album Hula)

I scored a copy of this classic album from 1954 when it was released on CD–complete with Japanese liner notes!–a few years ago.  It’s awesome!

Voices are just “part of the band” in this group with simple “Ooohs.”  The lineup of musicians include: Harry Baty, Pua Almeida, Sam Kaapuni, Danny Stewart, Sam Koki, Bud Smith and Andy Iona!  How cool is that?

Super “period perfect” in sound–like stepping through a sound portal directly into 1954.  I love it.  Dreamy!

And this crooner classic song is given the royal treatment by these amazing musicians.

2. Pupule (Crazy) (Melveen Leed’s recording on the album Melveen’s County Hits)

I love Willie Nelsons’s country classic, CRAZY.  And I love the voice of Aunty Melveen.  Put ‘em together and you get an awesome combination!

But wait! It get’s even better!  Then she sings part of the song in Hawaiian!  Come on–how cool is that?  (Queen of Hawaiian Country, Aunty Melveen never disappoints.)

I always say that Hawaiian music and country music are close cousins.  And with this song, you can listen and see for yourself.

3. Lei ʻOhu (Ata Damasco’s recording on the album Paʻina Hou!)

Ah!  An uptempo, bouncy hula sung by one of my favorite voices, Ata Damasco!

Similar to some other songs, this song names a famous chief and the beloved flower lei attributed to nā moku ʻehā, the four islands of Oʻahu, Maui, Hawaiʻi Island and Kauaʻi.  But this song has a fantastic swing–it’s a standout AND it stands alone.  Right on!

*Please click HERE to visit Ata’s page at Ululoa Records.

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

When I took my first tentative steps in hula, I listened to this album all the time.  And, truth be told, I practiced basic hula hands and hula footwork to this song, too!

It always will hold a special place in my heart.

Amy’s wonderful and soothing voice–and the steady hula rhythm!–makes this an ideal song to play when practicing your steps.

*Please click HERE to visit Amy’s website.

*Please click HERE to visit Willie Ks website.

5. Kamalani (Herb Ohta Jr’s recording on the album ʻUkulele Dream)

This song has been inspiring me to pick up my ʻukulele this week.  To pick it up and PICK individual notes on the ʻukulele instead of strumming it.

I’m a simple strummer–but this song and Herb’s musical genius, makes me want to be able to pick.  To be more versatile on the ukulele.  To become a better instrumental player.

Gotta love being inspired!

(And this song always makes me think of my buddies Tommy and Kbelle.  Cheers, guys!)

*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 (8.22.12)

Wednesday, August 22, 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.  Now Is the Hour (Alfred Aholo Apaka’s recording on the album Hawaiian Paradise)

Alfred Aholo Apaka is one of my all-time favorite crooners.  And this song REALLY allows him to croon–and for the listener to swoon.  It’s S-L-O-W and beautiful.  And the melody and lyrics will most surely tug at your heart,

According to the book HE MELE ALOHA, the song’s inspiration was found in a traditional Māori farewell song.  There is a portion of a verse on this recording that is not in English, but because of a scratch on my disc, I wasn’t able to hear it clearly.  Was this the original text?  Or translated into Hawaiian?  I’ll have to try to find another copy so that I can hear it.

A lovely song paired with Apaka’s golden voice.  Ah…

2. For You A Lei (Andy Iona and the Islanders’ recording on the album Hawaiians In Hollywood)

My “time warp favorite” this week (yet, again!) 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. He Aloha Nō O Honolulu (Teresa Bright’s recording on the album Self Portrait)

Ah!  Aunty Teresa!  And a great song!

I love her voice–smooth, sultry.  And her arrangements always make me smile.  Makes me feel like I’m in a club–having a great time!

This song, attributed Lot Keauwē, has been covered by a multitude of artists.  But this week, it’s Teresa Bright’s smooth (and delightfully percussive) version that has won my heart.

4. You Kuʻuipo  (Willie K’s recording on the album The Uncle In Me)

A much-loved “classic” by Uncle Willie.

Simple.  Soothing.  Fantastically “catchy” without being “cutesy.”  All of the earmarks of one of my favorite songs.

He makes it all sound so easy.  A truly gifted musician–music pours out of him.

*Please click HERE to visit Willie’s website.

5. Kuʻu Kīkā Kahiko (Ozzie Kotani’s recording on the album Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Masters Collection Vol.1)

I love kī hōʻalu, Hawaiian slack key guitar music.  That’s no secret.  I love to close my eyes when I listen to it.  And let go…

Knowing the song’s title, I was thinking about Ozzie’s “old guitar” and what it must look like. Which got me thinking about how it must be an like an old friend to him.  And that got me thinking about my old friends…

Sigh.

I love this song.  And I’m grateful for the trip down Memory Lane that it inspired.

Mahalo for that, Ozzie!

Please click HERE to visit Ozzie’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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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 (Linda Dela Cruz’s recording on the album Hawaii’s Canary)

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.

One of the recordings that’s captured my ear and my heart this week is WAHINE UʻI as sung by Linda Dela Cruz.  (Note: this is the version attributed to James Kahele.)  I love the control she has in her voice.  Butterscotch-rich low notes.  A flawless haʻi or break in the female voice–like falsetto.  She almost cries some of the notes–reminding me of the Patsy Cline classic, I FALL TO PIECES.

I could listen to her all day.  And learn something new every time.

*Sadly, Aunty Linda passed away in 2007.  But you can click HERE to learn more about her life via her obituary.

2. Wahi Mahalo (Kamakakēhau Fernandez’s recording on the album Wahi Mahalo)

Riding on the subway, I listen to a lot of music.  This song started playing and I wasn’t giving it my full attention. (Note: Riding the subway in NYC is always an interesting experience–filled with all sorts of interesting people, sounds, smells, etc.  It’s not difficult to have one’s attention be pulled in a million directions at once.)  Then I heard the word MAHALO.  And then I heard it, again.  And again.  And again.

So I restarted the song and gave it my full attention.

I love this song because of of its sentiment.  What an awesome way to close an album–offering up MAHALO, thanks, for everyone and everything in his life.  So awesome!  And it’s just like how Pops lives his life in Hālawa Valley on Molokai–always offering up MAHALO for everything.  A state of gratitude.  I hope to be able to do that.  If ALOHA is the word one hears most while in Hawaiʻi, I promise you that MAHALO is a close second.

And, of course, I’d be a fool not to mention how much I LOVE Kamakakēhau’s voice!  Auē!  This man can S.I.N.G!  Holy wow!  And listening to how pronounces Hawaiian–that, alone is sweet music.

Do you have this album in your collection already?  It’s essential.  Trust me.

*Please click HERE to visit Kamakakēhau’s MySpace page.

3. Beyond the Reef (Amy Hānaialiʻi & Willie K’s recording on the album Nostalgia)

What do you get when you translate a well-known hapa haole classic into Hawaiian and then mix it with a hot and sultry jazz arrangement?  You get Amy & Willie K’s smooth and bluesy BEYOND THE REEF.

This one took me by complete surprise the first time I heard it.  I didn’t expect it.  But the whole album took me by surprise!  They reinterpreted some Hawaiian and hapa haole classics in ways I never dreamed of… And I’m so glad they did!

When I hear the title BEYOND THE REEF, the dreamy crooner-classic version recorded by Alfred Aholo Apaka comes to mind.  So I was blown away by this number that could be “at home” in the heart of a blues or jazz club.  With Amy’s killer vocals and Willie’s killer instrumentals–well–it’s a killer track!

I hope you’ll open your mind and your ears and give it a listen.

*Please click HERE to visit Amy’s website.

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

4. Mele ʻOhana (Kealiʻi Reichel’s recording on the album Keʻalaokamaile)

Homesick for my family this week, I fell in love with this song, again.  Written by Damon Williams and a Hawaiian translation by Charles Kaʻupu, the song feels like it was written by my own heart.

And Kealʻii Reichel is THE VOICE to sing it.  So sensitive.  So perfect.

Nothing else to say. Simple. Perfect.  Yup.

*Please click HERE to visit Kealiʻi’s website.

5. Olinda Road (Pure Heart’s recording on the album Pure Heart)

I love this classic instrumental track from Pure Heart’s debut album.

Pure Heart was awesome!  A band made up of Jon Yamasato, Lopaka Colon and Jake Shimabukuro.  These young guys rocked!  I think I played this CD so many times that it overheated in my CD player.  Ha!

This track features each of them in a special way–Jake really shines on the ukulele (as usual!)  Lopaka’s Latin-infused percussion rocks!  (Are those bongos he’s playing?!)  And Jon is jamming on the guitar.  A great mix, for sure!

I remember listening to this track and having images of guys putting surfboards into a van and heading to the beach.  Does the song have anything to do with that?  Who knows… but that’s the image that I got.

And it’s an image that always made me smile.

I love the group Pure Heart.  And I love that it makes me feel younger when I listen to ‘em.  Mahalo for that, guys.

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. 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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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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