Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

Israel Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole was a popular American singer. He rose to fame with his album: ‘Facing Future’; with the song “Somewhere over the Rainbow / What a Wonderful World“.

This song, in which he accompanies himself on the ukulele, has also been used extensively in films including: You’ve Got Mail, Finding Forrester, Meet Joe in 50 First Dates in the ER series, the Scrubs series and an edited version in the BBC smells like South Pacific.


Israel Kamakawiwo’ole was born on May 20th, 1959. He passed away in Honolulu Hawaii on June 26, 1997. He was born at Kuakini Hospital on the island of Oahu, the son of Henry Kaleialoha Naniwa and Evangeline Leinani Kamakawiwoʻole.

Because the length of his name, he was very often called “Iz” or “Bruddah Iz”. He was raised in the Kaimuki community, in the suburb of Waikïkï, a district of Honolulu; this was where his parents met and got married. He started playing music with his older brother Skippy at age 11, inspired by the great Hawaiian artists of the time.

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