July 20, 2004


I noticed Wired News has a story today about the resurgence of interest in Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (Bruddah IZ). The story says IZ weighed 1000 lbs when he passed away --- I'm pretty sure that is an exaggeration, although IZ was huge. For background info, read IZ's WikiPedia entry.

I originally learned about IZ in April 1996 when we visited Kauai, and the owner of the house we were renting told us about IZ. She played us some of his music and we were hooked, and went out and bought his CD's. E Ala E is one of my favorite IZ tunes.

I was fortunate to see IZ in Oct. 1996 when he made a rare concert appearance in San Rafael, CA, at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Marin County Civic Center (the buildings portrayed as an academy in the feature film GATTACA). The IZ concert was hands down the most extraordinary stage event I've ever experienced. Once all the warmup acts (and there were a bunch of them) were done, the curtains opened and sitting in the middle of the stage was this completely square shaped being (it took several moments to realize this was a human -- I simply could not recognize any features that made my brain say, "that's a human over there"). He had an oxygen tube going to his nostrils, and he never got up or moved. Only his arm moved, to strum a tiny ukelele. His voice, and his humor, were just amazing. He had incredible charisma. He owned that audience, and his enjoyment at being there and performing was palpable. I'll never forget it. After the concert, I splurged and bought a $25 baseball cap: all black, with a bright red "IZ" logo on the front. I wore that hat for years. RIP, brudda IZ...

Perhaps this iTunes-based resurgence in IZ will spread to other Hawaiian artists, such as Gabby Pahinui, to name but one of the greats.

Posted by brian at July 20, 2004 03:52 PM


IZ was a childhood friend of my cousin, Darcy Kuewa O' Kamohoalii Lariosa the were both great souls with tons of love and mana. I will miss them both dearly.

-T.C. Kapono

Posted by: Trex at July 21, 2004 01:43 PM

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