Iz’s breezy Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World medley
brought legions of new fans to this 1993 album when it appeared on several TV
and film soundtracks years later. His second solo album also features Kuhio
Bay; Ka Huila Wai ; his take on Take Me Home, Country Roads , and more!
To gauge the magnitude of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s popularity in his
native Hawaii, consider this: following his death in 1997 (at age 38,
attributed to his profound obesity), Kamakawiwo’ole’s body lay in state in the
state capitol, only the second person to receive such an honor.
Kamakawiwo’ole’s appeal lies in his love for prestatehood, precondominium
Hawaii and the expressiveness of his gently passionate voice, which can float
through higher registers with an ease that brings Johnny Mathis to mind.
Several selections (“Ka Pua U’i,” “White Sandy Beach of Hawai’i,” the sun-
kissed “La ‘Elima”) feature Kamakawiwo’ole in a traditional mood, using only
his ukulele to adorn the charm of his native lyricism. Others, such as the
Jimmy Buffett-like “Maui Hawaiian Sup’pa Man” add playful contemporary touches
that suit Kamakawiwo’ole’s style. Most touching are the string-backed laments
that open and close the album, “Hawai’i ’78 Introduction” and “Hawai’i ’78,”
initially a reflection on his father’s death, later on the passing of Hawaii’s
native culture. Best known is his medley “Somewhere over the Rainbow/What a
Wonderful World,” which played over the closing credits of the film Meet Joe
Black. –Terry Wood See all Editorial Reviews
- Audio CD (September 1, 1993)
- Original Release Date: September 1, 1993
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Mountain Apple Company
- #1 in General (CDs & Vinyl)
- #1 in Pacific Islands (CDs & Vinyl)
- #2 in Hawaiian Music
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