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Facing Future

Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

Before his death in 1997, from complications due to his excessive weight (occasionally topping 750 pounds), Israel Kamakawiwo'ole was the most popular singer in Hawaii. The rest of the world got to know him because of his haunting cover of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." This album shows it to be just a taste of his talent. Facing Future was his love song to the islands he called home, an expression of hope that Hawaii's native culture would thrive and grow, and not be swallowed by commercialism and gentrification. Even if you sense crashing surf and swaying palms in the music, moments that might seem as plastic as swizzle sticks in another artist's hands resonate here with truth and pride. With his signature ukulele and a perfectly pitched tenor, Iz created music here so beautiful even his Hawaiian ancestors still cry tears of joy. So will you.

Customer Reviews

One of Hawaii's Greatest Artists

This is Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's best album and arguably one the best albums in Hawaiian music. Regardless of whether you've followed Braddah Iz (as he's more affectionately known in Hawaii) from his days with the Makaha Sons of Ni'ihau or if this is your first foray into Hawaiian music, this is an excellent addition to any music collection. Facing Future is composed mainly of traditional Hawaiian music with a few Jawaiian songs thrown in for good measure. Although things start off a bit somber with the opening selection, things quickly pick up in tempo with "Ka Huila Wai" and continue on with notables like "Kuhio Bay", "White Sandy Beach of Hawai'i" "Henehene Kou 'Aka", and "Kaulana Kawaihae". It's not until near the end of the album that you find the medley that Iz is best known for: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What A Wonderful World". Overall, the album takes you on a journey through some of Iz's life and the issues that were important to him, specifically the Hawaiian movement and native Hawaiian culture, which is poignantly reflected in the closing track "Hawai'i '78". Braddah Iz was big in life, not only physically but also spiritually, and his legacy in Hawai'i will continue on through his music. If there's only one Hawaiian album that you own, this should be it.

Subtle and Soaring

Like a lot of people, I've been aware of of Iz's "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" for some time. Today, I heard this album while sitting in a coffee shop. I'd planned on having a steaming cuppa joe and heading on my way -- instead, the melody of "Hawai'i '78 Introduction" captured me from the shop's sound system and I found myself sitting through the entire album. I was both enchanted and transported by music so powerful at moments it almost moved me to tears, so delightful at others that I found myself grinning at strangers. This music is both subtle and soaring, profoundly uplifting but with a melancholy edge. I couldn't get home to purchase my own copy fast enough.

Haunting

I'm not one for music that ventures far from the norm. But Israel Kamikawiwo'ole has created music that is definately not mainstream, but it is so wonderful that words cannot express it. I remember a few years ago someone played a song of his and showed me the cover of the album "Facing Future." Truth betold, it was quite alarming. But I had forgotten about him until I was cruising iTunes and came across his name, which stuck out to me because of it's length and its non-English name. I saw the album cover again, and was again taken aback. I listened to the most popular song, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World, and took a leap of faith and bought it just for the album cover. That was one of the best decisions I ever made. I have listened to that song about 50 times, and it has still retained its effect. I finally got my hands on the whole album, and while not every song is as haunting as Somewhere Over the Rainbow, they are all special in their own way. Israel Kamikawiwo'ole is one of the most versatile artists I have heard. Some of the songs are bright and cheery pieces, while others are 80's rock. But by far the best songs are the melodic Hawai'ian songs that seem like lullabys. Those are the best ones on the album, and the others aren't bad either. But the real genius behind his music is that when I really listened to even the rock & roll tunes, underneath they were still as haunting and stirring as the rest. Buy the whole album, and listen to it closely. It will make you mourn for the lost culture of ancient Hawai'i.

Biography

Born: May 20, 1959 in 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
Facing Future, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
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  • $11.99
  • Genres: World, Music, Rock
  • Released: Nov 01, 1993

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