Jason Poole

The Accidental Hawaiian Crooner

JasonHow did Pittsburgh-born, classically trained singer Jason Poole find himself knee-deep in mud, gutting fish on the remote island of Molokai? Told he'd never sing again (after an eating disorder ravaged his vocal cords) and that he'd never walk again without a limp (after breaking his hip in a freak ACCIDENT), Jason proved everyone wrong.

Thanks to the healing powers of Hawaiian music and dance (as well as being as stubborn as a Molokai mule), he winds up being adopted, educated and lovingly whipped into shape by Hawaiian elder Pilipo "Pops" Solatorio. Pops tells Jason he must share with the world what he's been taught — repertoire from Hawai'i's golden age of song, especially the songs of Molokai.

So here he is, the Accidental Hawaiian Crooner, doing his best to make Hawaiian grandmothers cry with delight when he sings Hawai'i's most beloved songs — once he washes off the mud, of course.

P.S: Jason’s parents want you to know that he graduated cum laude with a B.F.A. in Vocal Performance from Carnegie Mellon University — and they have the bills to prove it!

Kumu's Blessing

Jason and Pops in Hawaii

This is pertaining to my hānai son, Jason Poole. I call him Iakona. He's been with me for quite some time now. I've always admired this young man. I invited him to join me. I took him in as a son. I took him into my home. In Hawaiian-style, we hānai (adopt) somebody.

I decided to teach him as much as I can about the culture — whatever he wanted to learn.  When I teach, hopefully I reach the spirit of the person. And that's where our communication is — from spirit to spirit.

I give him my blessing. He can use whatever he has learned from me. And I want him to. It's important to me and it's important to my Hawaiian people. To continue to carry on our culture.

As a kupuna and as a kumu Hawai'i, I can tell you that Jason is an excellent young man. He is not Hawaiian, but he's sure a Hawaiian at heart.

Pilipo Solatorio
February 24, 2010