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Facing Future

4.7 out of 5 stars 890 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 1, 1993
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  • Facing Future
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  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow: The Best of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Iz's breezy Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World medley brought legions of new fans to this 1993 album when it appeared on several TV and film soundtracks years later. His second solo album also features Kuhio Bay; Ka Huila Wai ; his take on Take Me Home, Country Roads , and more!

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To gauge the magnitude of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's popularity in his native Hawaii, consider this: following his death in 1997 (at age 38, attributed to his profound obesity), Kamakawiwo'ole's body lay in state in the state capitol, only the second person to receive such an honor. Kamakawiwo'ole's appeal lies in his love for prestatehood, precondominium Hawaii and the expressiveness of his gently passionate voice, which can float through higher registers with an ease that brings Johnny Mathis to mind. Several selections ("Ka Pua U'i," "White Sandy Beach of Hawai'i," the sun-kissed "La 'Elima") feature Kamakawiwo'ole in a traditional mood, using only his ukulele to adorn the charm of his native lyricism. Others, such as the Jimmy Buffett-like "Maui Hawaiian Sup'pa Man" add playful contemporary touches that suit Kamakawiwo'ole's style. Most touching are the string-backed laments that open and close the album, "Hawai'i '78 Introduction" and "Hawai'i '78," initially a reflection on his father's death, later on the passing of Hawaii's native culture. Best known is his medley "Somewhere over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World," which played over the closing credits of the film Meet Joe Black. --Terry Wood
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 1, 1993)
  • Original Release Date: September 1, 1993
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Mountain Apple Company
  • ASIN: B00000JFG3
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (890 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #424 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Last year, I saw an etoys commercial that began with a boy chasing fireflies and ended with his wise and loving father ordering a firefly 'kit' from etoys. It was a good ad, but what made it great was the music --- someone playing a 4-string ukulele and humming.
It was the oddest thing. Every morning this commercial ran on the 'Today' show, I'd get....misty. Without a word, the music generated pictures of home and love and security --- images of a world in which everything works.
I mentioned this commercial to others. They also had noticed the music and had been moved by it. But no one knew who the singer was.
Then a colleague quietly played a CD in her office: the soundtrack of the Sean Connery film, 'Finding Forrester. And along came this song. Its title: 'Over The Rainbow/Wonderful World.' The singer: a Hawaiian named Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, who, as a quick Web search revealed, had died in 1997 at the age of 38.
I read up on IZ, and learned IZ called his producer and said there was a song he had to record. He showed up at the studio at midnight with his ukulele -- and, in 5 minutes, created "Over The Rainbow/Wonderful World."
In 1996, National Public Radio did a piece on IZ and played 'Over the Rainbow.' Listeners called in; sales shot up. And music insiders like Jimmy Buffett, Paul Simon and Bette Midler were no longer alone in their admiration for IZ.
The following year, when IZ died, it was clear that he was the Bob Marley of Hawaii. His casket lay in state at the Capitol, and 10,000 fans came to say goodbye. The next day, friends paddled a double-hulled voyaging canoe into Makua Bay, where IZ and his friends had camped out and played music over the years.
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Format: Audio CD
I work in a large chain record store near a movie theatre. Everynight we would have 2-3 people coming in looking for the "Finding Forrester" soundtrack. I finally asked someone what was so special about it. I was told they wanted it for the song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" that plays during the closing credits. I didn't know anything about IZ before then. The next day I saw an article about him and heard the song for the first time... I was blown away. I bought "Facing Future" and "IZ in concert" the next day! Since then I have bought every CD that's available. I can't stop listening to him. I'm listening to "N Dis Life" as I type. I'm constantly telling people about "Brotha IZ". His music is so pure and simple, yet so complex and amazing. I still can't believe that such gentle music can come from such a large man. In a time where corporate music is shoved down our throats by radio and TV, IZ is not just a breathe of fresh air, he's the only thing worth breathing. IZ the man may be gone, but his music has made him immortal. May he live on and bring some culture and peace to mainstream music.
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Format: Audio CD
"Cry for the Gods, cry for the people, cry for the land that was taken away...and then yet you'll find, Hawai'i."
A few years ago when I was a serviceman stationed in Hawaii, I first heard this beautiful, haunting song, and was first exposed to the incredible voice of Israel "IZ" Kamawiwo'ole. Already sobered by the song's theme...the regret of native Hawaiians over losing their sovereignty...I was further saddened to learn that "IZ" had died in 1997. Like his father, and his brother, Skippy (also a recording artist), IZ had died of medical problems associated with obesity (he weighed as much as 760 pounds at one time). But thankfully, IZ left a legacy of recorded music, both as a solo artist and as a member of the Hawiiana band "Makaha Sons of Niihau". And thanks to the airplay received by "Over The Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" on the TV show ER, the movie soundtracks "Finding Forrester" and "Meet Joe Black", and commercials for E-Toys, thousands of mainstream listeners on the mainland have now discovered IZ for the first time.
In many years of listening and collecting, I've never found an album like "Facing Future" that has such a universal appeal. Kids love it, teens love it, grandparents love it. A certified hard rocker myself (check my reviews of bands like Tool and Type O Negative), I consider "Facing Future" one of the top five CDs in my extensive collection, and rarely do I go more than a couple of weeks without giving it a spin.
Every track on the CD is wonderful, and if you skip over any, it will be just to get to the album's best two tracks, which are near the end: "Rainbow/Wonderful World" and "Hawai'i '78".
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By A Customer on March 17, 2001
Format: Audio CD
While visiting Hawaii recently I wanted to take home some music to listen to. I bought a CD "E Ala E" and I can truly say I was fortunate in choosing it. I had no idea what I had chosen until I got home. I have listened to it many times. I told my husband that if ever I could attend a concert by Iz, I would do anything to attend. I looked up his name on the computer and was shocked to find that he died in 1997. What a tragic loss! I am now going to purchase all his music and have a complete collection for my listening pleasure. He moved me emotionally and I feel blessed to have found his recording. His voice remains with me as I go about my day and I find much comfort and peace. Israel was truly gifted and I am grateful to have the chance to hear his voice and experience his artful display of what was in his heart. Yes, his music will be an important part of my life. Thank you, Israel, for your gift to all of us.
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