Kamakawiwo‘ole, Israel (Ka‘ano‘i) [Iz]
- J.W. Junker
(b Honolulu, HI, May 20, 1959; d Honolulu, HI, June 26, 1997). Hawaiian singer and musician. Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole is the best-selling Hawaiian singer of the modern era. His music has achieved global success while resonating deeply throughout the Hawaiian community. Six feet two inches tall and over 700 pounds, Kamakawiwo‘ole sang in a smooth, full bodied tenor that worked well for harmony or lead vocals. He accompanied himself on ukulele, a common approach in Hawaii. His core repertoire consisted of Hawaiian standards and songs in English associated with Hawaii, but he was no purist. He also performed pop ballads as well as some Latin and early Jawaiian music. His sound was bright and positive with subtle undertones of plaintiveness. Some of his later recordings incorporated strings, electronics, and even a few special effects, but for the most part Kamakawiwo‘ole played acoustic music in a traditional Hawaiian string band setting....