Okay, I know, horrible joke… but Hawaii makes me feel silly and relaxed and peaceful. I have only been once, to Maui, but it was so soothing and joyful and beautiful and just amazing… and I long to go back!
Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole – Facing Future
This music is Hawaii. It is lush and gorgeous and the perfect Sunday listen. It kills me that this might not get that many readers… When I pull something out of the proverbial hat, people tend to balk… I am really not doing it to be different or show you how diverse my tastes are… I pick stuff that grabs me and that, most of the time, comes to me spontaneously… maybe through shuffle mode or through a family member or friend’s rec. Or something I just hear in the air.
I really don’t know how this came about exactly, but for some reason I was thinking of the Hawaiian version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”… it just popped in there… I know Rob has a version of that song that slays him… female artist… blanking now… will get it from him and let you know…I am pretty sure it is Eva Cassidy… this version here (live) is pretty fricking incredible…
I had heard this song many times, but did not know much about the singer. I do now.
IZ, as he was known, died in 1997, but became famous around the world in 1993 because of this album and in particular because of his medley (or mash-up as the kids now call it) of “Over the Rainbow” and “What a Wonderful World.”
His version has been featured in Meet Joe Black, Finding Forrester, 50 First Dates and IMAX:Hubble 3D and in a boatload of commercials and TV shows… Yeah, I said boatload.
“Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World“ passed the 2 million paid downloads mark in the USA in 2009. Here is the official video and it is delicious… and just a little sad!!! The album, Facing Future became Hawaii’s first certified platinum album!
He was so beloved and respected… and to say he was a treasure can be taken quite literally.
“The Hawaiʻi State Flag flew at half-staff on July 10, the day of Kamakawiwoʻole’s funeral. His koa wood coffin lay in state at the Capitol building in Honolulu. He was the third person in Hawaiian history to be awarded this honor, and the only one who was not a government official. Approximately ten thousand people attended the funeral. Thousands of fans gathered as his ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean at Mākua Beach on July 12.”
The most impressive thing, of course, is the beauty and gentleness of his voice… Every note is like a lullaby. He passed away because he was literally too big, but perhaps that body needed to be that size to hold such a large heart…
So for those of us who do not get to the islands nearly enough… here are the islands… coming to you. Maluhia, aloha and mele! (Peace, love and music). Enjoy!