Monday, May 12, 2008

Mahalo, Iz

Whenever I sit in front of the computer and hit the shortcut to You Tube in the Google toolbar, I feel that there is always something that I have pushed at the back of my mind to look up later -- maybe a song, or a particular video. But once the page opens, and I start the first search, it is guaranteed to take me away to other things to see and watch --so I pretty much skipped a lot of stuff that I should have looked up.

The other night, a friend sent me a link to the song 'White Sandy Beach' by Israel Kamakawiwoole (Bruddah Iz), which I loved right away. When I saw the video and the HUGE guy in it, I was blown away. And knowing later that the Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World medley version that I love was also performed by him, just left me speechless.

I am pleased to be introduced to Iz' music - - the sound of his ukulele blending very well with his gentle voice. I couldn't believe at first that such sweet, gentle male voice was coming from a guy of such huge frame. (Oh well, people who know Charice Pempengco, the 15-year old Filipina singing sensation, would surely agree that her Whitney Houston voice is unbelievably coming from a diminutive body of a teenager)

Enormous is an understatement to describe Iz' physical weight but it is definitely far more than enormous to feel the effect of listening to IZ' songs. There is something difficult to describe about his voice and I would not dare attempt to put my own wild guesses why his voice seems to haunt, caress , soothe, amaze and touch at the same time. I don't know the guy enough to say that there are pains hidden in his voice ~~ that thought is most likely coming only from my general view about someone his size who surely was physically challenged to live a normal life. But who am I to say for sure?

From my limited knowledge of Iz, and from the stuff I saw on the net about him - about people whose lives he touched, about people who saw and listened to him perform , about people who he shared his warmth and wisdom with - - I am convinced that Iz is a good man.

It is sad that he lived a short life -- 38 years. He died in 1997 and I regret that I "discovered" the man and his music only now.

I quote here the opening of an article about him : "IZ will never be WUZ" . I agree, totally. His voice is a personification of something Divine.


Here is a vid of "White Sandy Beach"

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