Israel “Iz” Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole (May 20, 1959 – June 26, 1997) (pronounced [kaˌmakaˌʋiwoˈʔole]) was a Hawaiʻian musician.

He became famous outside Hawaii when his album Facing Future was released in 1993 with his medley of “Over the Rainbow” and “What a Wonderful World”, which was subsequently featured in several films, television programs, and commercials.
Through his consummate ukulele playing and incorporation of other genres (such as jazz and reggae), Iz remains one of the major influences in Hawaiʻian music over the last 15 years

Fullblood Hawaiian born artist Israel released several CD’s and got his break in US when a Radio DJ in California played his version of the Judy Garland written song ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ from his ‘Facing Future’ album, a simple song with his voice and a Ukulele in a traditional hawaiian performance. Israel or ‘Iz’ is the most popular and legendary artist that came from Hawaii and never seem to be forgotten by the citizens.

He died 26th of June 1997 of heartfailure due to his massive bodyweight of over 900 punds (400 Kilos). Today, ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ is widely used in commercials and movies and is still popular over 10 years after since that rainy day in California where people heard it on the radio for the first time. And the album ‘Facing Future’ has sold over 1 million on world basis.

Edited by chridd on 21 Aug 2009, 22:30

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