Facing Future

Facing Future

by Israel Kamakawiwo'oleIsrael Kamakawiwo'ole

CD

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Overview

The late Hawaiian star Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, a gentle 750-pound giant who passed away in 1997, is an unlikely candidate for a career renaissance. But thanks to popular films such as Finding Forrester and Meet Joe Black and TV shows from Party of Five to Picket Fences, the music of the man called Iz lives on. Recording with his brother Skippy in the '70s as the Makaha Sons, Iz's high tenor and fluttering falsetto -- think Roy Orbison in a sarong -- accompanied simple melodies plucked on ukulele. His solo career began after Skippy's death in 1982, and while his lyrics remain Hawaii-centric (and often in Hawaiian) and he is usually backed with uke and slack-key guitar, Facing Future moves in more contemporary directions. Iz's version of "Take Me Home, Country Road" owes more to Toots and the Maytals than to John Denver, and the synth-heavy "Maui Hawaiian Sup'pa Man" shows the bluesier, gruff side of Iz's vocal talent. The highlight of the collection is the medley "Somewhere over the Rainbow/ What a Wonderful World" which Iz dedicates to slack-key legend Gabby Pahinui. Over a spare uke strum, he shows off his breathy, soulful lower register, then soars higher into a supple falsetto -- without a trace of pretense or treacle. To ears under assault from overproduced, insincere pop, that simple, joyful directness makes the music of this no-longer-obscure artist such a welcome tonic.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/14/1995
Label: Big Boy Records
UPC: 0761268590121
catalogNumber: 5901
Rank: 2036

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