About Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
Israel Kamakawiwo'ole is an iconic figure in Hawaii, a full-blooded Hawaiian singer who supported the independence movement and released a slew of wonderful albums before his untimely death at age 38. Kamakawiwo'ole started his career with the Makaha Sons of Ni'hau, a traditional band he formed with high school friends. Fifteen years and 10 albums later, Kamakawiwo'ole went solo, much to some fans' dismay. But he continued to find success with his mix of traditional Hawaiian music and American standards. His medley "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World," off 1993's Facing Future, made it into several film soundtracks. Sadly, after a lifetime spent struggling with weight issues, Kamakawiwo'ole died in 1997.