Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Israel Kamakawiwo`ole - "Facing Future"

Israel Kamakawiwo`ole is one of the most popular Hawaiian musicians of all time and this album is his most successful. This is the first Hawaiian music album to be certified Gold and eventually Platinum.

Bruddah "IZ," as he is affectionately called, first gained fame as a member of the Makaha Sons of Ni`ihau with his brother Skippy and Moon Kaukahi, Jon and Jerome Koko.
Skippy, who also had a weight problem, died of a heart attack at 28 when the group was gaining their fame in the early 1980s.

In the 1990s the remaining four members became one of the most popular bands in Hawaiian Music but IZ wanted to take the music in a more contemporary direction while the other three members wanted to keep things traditional. IZ left the group after their biggest success with the hit song "Take a Walk in the Country."

He made several solo albums but "Facing Future" released in 1993 was his biggest success. Mixing traditional Hawaiian songs with modern arrangements and contemporary songs. Of the contemporary songs "Hawaii 78" became a Native Hawaiian anthem. A Hawaii-ized version of John Denver's "Take Me Home Country Road" changing some lyrics to make the song about Hawaii instead of West Virginia is a catchy winner. The epic Jawaiian style "Maui Hawaiian Sup'pa Man" is funny. catchy and educational all at the same time, it was one of the hits off the album. A solo acoustic version of "White Sandy Beach" is also a beautiful lamenting winner.

The most popular track is the ukulele led medley of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World." This song has been used in TV shows, Movies and Commercials. The song's success is really the reason this album is the first Hawaiian music album to be certified Gold.

"Facing Future" is a winning record and the best example of all IZ's abilities and styles.