Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. An amazing man. His voice was a gift to the Hawai’ain islands. He became famous outside of hawaii when his album Facing Future came out in 1993. It had his medley of “some where over the rainbow” and “what a wonderful world” on it which was featured in several movies, TV shows and commercils.
Isreal Ka’ano’i Kamakawiwo’ole (AKA Bruddah Iz) was born on May 20, 1959 at Kuakini Hospital in Honolulu to Henry Kaleialoha Naniwa Kamakawiwoʻole, Jr. and Evangeline Leinani Kamakawiwoʻole (yes I agree his fathers name is VERY long). He began playing music at the age of 11 with his brother Skippy. His instruments were ukulele and his voice.
He grew up in Kaimuki were his parents had met and married. In his early teens his family move to Makaha, Hawaii. There he met his soon to be band mates Louis “Moon” Kaukahi, Sam Gray and Jerome Koko. Him and his brother Skippy formed a band with these other four men and called it The Makaha Sons of Ni’ihau. Throughout 1976 to 1980 they toured throughout Hawaii and the USA and the band gained popularity. They also releasled 15 sucessful albums.
In 1982 Iz’s brotehr Skippy Died of a heart attack. In the same year Iz married his child hood sweet heart and soon after they had a daughter whom they named Ceslieanne “Wehi”.
Throughout the later part of his life Iz suffered from suvere obesity and at one point put on 769 pounds on his 6’2 frame. He endured several hospitalizations and on June 26, 1997 at 12:18 am He died of weight-related respiratory illness at 38 years old. He lives in through his wife Marlene Kamaawiwo’ole and his daughter Ceslianne “Wehi”.
Israel Kamakawiwo’ole 1959-1997