Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Hawai`i '78

During the commute this morning I was flipping between radio stations and found one playing the song "Hawai`i '78" by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, or "Bruddah Iz" to the locals. It's a beautiful and very moving song, I often get "chicken skin" when I hear it. I've even learned how to pronounce his name because his music is so wonderful!

When I first arrived in the islands one of the first things I did was visit a local music shop and asked if they would sell me a few CDs that were representative of Hawai`i and Hawai`ian music because I really didn't have much of a clue about local culture. I got one awful one which I've since lost (how did I manage to do that?), a couple of slack key CDs which are fantastic and one by Kamakawiwoʻole that blew me away, at least some of the songs did - the album was "Facing Future".

Israel Kamakawiwoʻole is a legend in Hawai`i. Sadly, he passed away in 1997 at the age of 38 just a few months after I arrived but I was struck by how much he meant to the people here. Of course he was a great singer and ukulele player, but he meant so much more to Hawai`ians. He was a believer in Hawai`ian independence yet held no animosity towards us haoles, indeed he simply seemed to love everyone. His importance to the Hawai`ian people was demonstrated at his funeral which was attended by thousands of people. The Hawai'i state flag was flown at half-mast that day and his coffin lay in state at the Capitol building on Oahu. He was only the third person in the state to be given this honour.

This evening I found this on youtube and hope you enjoy it. Some of the pictures and video aren't so good, but the song is wonderful.

Oh, and Hau'oli La Ho'omakika'i to everyone, or, in English, Happy Thanksgiving!

PS. My second favourite Iz song.

1 comment:

Zuzana said...

This is very beautiful; it is always so fantastic to be exposed to new music. I completely understand that you like it. Both the music and the lyrics are interesting.
Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving.;)