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Alone in IZ World

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Album Review

The late Israel Kamakawio'ole, known to his many fans simply as Iz, was a consummate Hawaiian with a wonderful voice and accomplished ukulele technique. This posthumous release of some unplugged performances, enhanced arrangements, and previously unreleased songs is definitely for his legion of admirers. While best known for his native Hawaiian songs, Iz covered a lot of ground, and three of the most affecting tracks here are standards: his take on "Mona Lisa," starting alone, then with a full arrangement behind him; the nursery rhyme "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"; and a most unusual version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" which shouldn't work in his style, but quite stubbornly does. His angelic pipes seem capable of working around any material and doing it justice (although it should be noted "Starting All Over Again" and "In This Life," with full-on synths behind him, definitely go for saccharine overkill). But he's perhaps at his best when he's at his simplest — just him and his ukulele — whether on the strummed "Panini Puakea" or the delicate and mysterious "La Elima," which relies on his gentle picking. On the classic Hawaiian song "Opae E," the guitar backing fleshes out his work without overpowering it, a gentle filigree around his voice. To those who love Iz's albums, whether his solo work or as part of the Makaha Sons of Ni'ihau, this stands — certainly for the most part — as a wonderful, thoughtful addition to his catalog, highlighting most the stunning purity of his voice.

Customer Reviews

amazing person.....

Isreal Kamakawo'ole (IZ) is an amazing person. I first listened to him in my school and it was like magic. My teacher played it whenever she could and she was hawaiian too. His story is actually quite depressing. The maximum weight of himself was 750 lb. To listen to his singing and you look at him you say "Is that sound coming out of such a huge man?" His voive is strong but not over powering and is easy to listen too.


The entire album is one of those rare jewels where every song is a pleasure to listen without having to FFWD. This Gentle Giant of Hawaiian music embodies that island spirit I miss enormously.

somewhere over the rainbow!

this is such a great song. i walked down the isle of my wedding to it, crying the whole time!!! thank you for such beauiful music!


Born: May 20, 1959 in Honolulu, HI

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

The most popular entertainer in Hawaii until his tragic death in 1997, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole formed the traditional Makaha Sons as a teenager in the mid-'70s, went out on his own in more of a contemporary style by the 1990s, and released four immensely popular recordings before passing away just after the release of 1996's N Dis Life. Born in the Honolulu suburb of Kaimuki, Kamakawiwo'ole later moved to nearby Makaha. In allegiance to his new home, Israel formed the Makaha Sons of Ni'ihau with brother...
Full Bio
Alone in IZ World, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
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Customer Ratings