Wednesday, 27 June 2012

'...where trouble melts like lemon-drops...'

In this video Israel Kamakawiwo'oloe sings "Somewhere over the rainbow".  I was fortunate enough to catch this on television a while back, and each time I re-watch it I admire his very special voice - and feel soothed by it.

I'm pleased to see that the recording is available for purchase via the link provided by the uploading site.

I've added this portion of the Wikipedia article about him, as it provides insight into his character and music: this man is much more than the laid-back overweight man that he may appear to be:
Kamakawiwoʻole was known for promoting Hawaiian rights and Hawaiian independence, both through his lyrics, which often stated the case for independence directly, and his life. His song Hawai'i '78 demonstrates the beliefs and hopes that he had for the people of Hawai’i: the life of this land is the life of the people, and that to care for the land (malama 'āina) is to care for the Hawaiian culture.[7] The state motto of Hawai'i is a recurring line in the song and encompasses the meaning of Iz's message: Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono (proclaimed by King Kamehameha III when Hawai'i regained sovereignty in 1843. Roughly translated: The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness).
Throughout his life, Kamakawiwoʻole suffered from severe obesity resulting from compulsive overeating, and at one point weighed 757 pounds (343 kg; 54.1 st) standing 6-foot-2-inch (1.88m) tall. He endured several hospitalizations because of health problems caused by his obesity. Beset with respiratory, heart and other medical problems, he died at the age of 38 in Queen's Medical Center at 12:18 a.m. on June 26, 1997. Kamakawiwoʻole is survived by his widow, Marlene Kamakawiwoʻole, and their daughter, Ceslie-Ann "Wehi".

The Hawaii state flag flew at half-staff on July 10, 1997, the day of Kamakawiwoʻole's funeral. His koa wood coffin lay in state at the state 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, 1997.

The funeral and the scattering of Kamakawiwoʻole's ashes were featured in the official music video of "Over the Rainbow" released posthumously by Mountain Apple Company; as of October 2012, the video as featured on YouTube has garnered over 75.4 million views.
Note: click through to the Wikipedia article itself for a more complete list of the article's references

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