Renown Hawaiian Musician Heard Throughout the World
Hawaii has produced many wonderful musicians and singers, but none more famous or popular than Brudda Iz (1959-1997).
Israel Ka‘ano‘i Kamakawiwo‘ole began his musical career with the Mākaha Sons of Ni‘ihau, which eventually released ten albums and toured the US. They also hosted an annual concert every Memorial Day at the Waikiki Shell – this concert was known as the Makaha Bash.
Israel began a solo career in 1993, and released the album Facing Future, which soon was the most popular album, and Iz became the most popular Hawaii entertainer. Facing Future was the first album from Hawaii to sell more than 1 million copies in the US.
Israel’s 1997 release of the album N DIS LIFE garnered him numerous Na Hoku Hanohano awards including Favorite Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist.
Israel married Marlene Ku‘upua Ah Lo, his childhood sweetheart, and they had a daughter named Ceslieanne Wehekealake‘alekupuna “Wehi” Kamakawiwo‘ole. The Hawaiian actor and musician Moe Keale was Israel’s uncle.
In 1997, Israel passed away due to respiratory failure – he was 38. A memorial was held at the State Capitol Rotunda and Israel’s ashes were scattered offshore at Makua Beach.
Israel’s music remains as Hawaii’s top selling music, and is famous all around the world. In 2001 a new CD, Alone in IZ World, was released and immediately became a top seller, and subsequent albums also have topped the charts. A pure-blooded Hawaiian, Israel is said to be the ali‘i, or royalty, of the people of Hawaii.