The late and great Israel Kamakawiwo’ole is one of Hawaii’s greatest ambassadors of Hawaiian music. He was a Giant of a man, truly gifted with one heck of a voice. “Bruddah Iz”, as he is lovingly called, died on June 27, 1997 from weight related respiratory illness. The funeral attracted over 10,000 people.
But his legacy lives on from one of the most omnipresent songs in pop culture today, his rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, which can be heard in movies and TV shows such as Meet Joe Black, Fifty-First Dates, ER, and tons of commercials.This song never gets tiring to me. It’s ethereal, calming and full of hope, and a tint of sadness. Whenever when my life gets too crazy, I will always play this on my ipod. Bruddah Iz’s music, in general, is uplifting, spiritual and many times, super homegrown fun, kanikapila style. I particularly like Hawaiian Superman, a great ditty about the god of Maui.
But I always come back to Somewhere Over the Rainbow:[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ltAGuuru7Q[/youtube]
There’s a longer rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow mashed up with What a Wonderful World as well. Awesome. Hey, since this is the season of giving, gift it to your friends and ohana.