Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Somewhere Over the Rainbow What a Wonderful World

I first heard this song in a gentle Adam Sandler/Jodie Foster movie, set in Hawaii, called 50 First Dates.  The artist singing this unusual mashup version of a pair of pop tunes was a gentle giant of a man Hawaiian song-writer Israel "Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole. The song is a plain unadorned medley of what I think are the masterpiece songs of two other singers - Judy Garland and Louis Armstrong. The only accompaniment is Iz strumming gently on his ukulele.

Iz kind of mangles the lyrics if you're a music purists. If you're an old folkie like me, however, Iz shows us the folk music process, drawing from the song the bits he likes in the order that, to him, best says what he wants it to say. The result is a gentle musical idyll that takes you to the beach by a campfire with stars overhead and invokes an appreciation for the wonderful world God has made and the world that is to come some day, over the rainbow.

Iz did a lot of sweet music over his short life. He, like his father, died young. I look forward to seeing Iz again in the New World, healed of his infirmities and forever young. For Israel Kamakawiwo'ole was a Christian I discovered. He embraced Christianity while very much maintaining his connection with his Hawaiian heritage.  His music is peaceful and lovely; something we need in this hard old world sometimes.


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