09 July 2007

Monday's mp3: The Wonderful World of Iz

Israel "Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole is one of those artists whose name you may not recognize, though you likely have heard his achingly earnest ukulele-backed medley of "Over the Rainbow" and "What a Wonderful World" (watch video). Known for his positive attitude, big heart, and bigger body (he once weighed in at 758 pounds/343 kg), Iz is beloved by Hawaiian music fans everywhere.

Like other great artists who've passed to the great beyond, Iz somehow keeps releasing music. A new album just out commemorates the 10th anniversary of his death by remixing his vocals with backing by a full orchestra. Is it an enhancement of his remarkably warm vocals, or a travesty of greedy marketing? I'm not convinced that it's an improvement -- are violins really needed to enhance a fine ukulele? But listen and judge for yourself.

[mp3] Israel "Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole: What a Wonderful World
from the album Wonderful World



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