Friday, October 21, 2011

Somewhere Over The Rainbow │Israel Kamakawiwoʻole (Brother IZ)

Israel Kamakawiwoʻole was a remarkable person and entertainer.  He was born on the island of Oahu on May 20, 1959 in Kuakini Hospital located in beautiful Nuuanu valley.  Israel's parents noticed, even as an infant, that their son had special spiritual qualities and gifts.  In his early childhood he lived with his parents in Kaimuki, a sleepy little town located just outside of Honolulu.  But, as fate would have it, as a young teenager, his family relocated to Makaha on the extreme West coast of Oahu.  It was there that he met Moon Kauakahi, Sam Gray, Jerome Koko, and they formed the legendary vocal group, the Makaha Sons of Niʻihau.  The rest, as they say, is history.  By-the-way, Makaha is one of the most hallowed places on the island of Oahu.  It is right next to the sacred Kaena Point, that Hawaiians believe to be the portal to Heaven.  Actually, I also believe that the be so.  I lived in Makaha for many years, and one of my favorite things things that I liked to do, was to ride my bicycle out to Kaena Point to enjoy the spiritual and mystical ambiance of the place.  Israel's haunting rendition of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" is a Twentieth-Century classic.  It has been used in numerous films and advertisements internationally.  It is interesting to note that Israel's recording is very simple and honest.  It does not contain any drums, bass, or background vocals.  It's just Israel singing and playing his ukulele.  There are no pretensions, just a sort of innocent humbleness, that is so intoxicating to the ears and heart.  Singlehandedly, Israel was responsible for a resurgence in the popularity of the ukulele in Hawaii and elsewhere.  You might say that Israel helped pave the way for ukulele virtuosos like Jake Shimabukuro, to be noticed and heard.  Israel ceased his earthly existence on June 26, 1997 in Honolulu.  Please click on this link to purchase Israel Kamakawiwoʻole's beautiful "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" from Amazon.com:  Over The Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwoʻole


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