Israel Kamakawiwo'ole Biography
Israel Ka'ano'i Kamakawiwo'ole was born at Kuakini Hospital in Honolulu The son of Evangeline Leinani Kamakawiwo'ole (aka Keale) and Henry Kalei'aloha Naniwa (aka Tiny).
He lived the first 10 years of his life in Palolo Valley on O'ahu. Then the family moved to Makaha.
Young Israel was surrounded by music, his uncle was Moe Keale, a well-known musician, and his parents worked at a Waikiki bar where many of the legends of Hawaiian music performed.
At age six, Israel learned to play the ukelele after watching and listening to his mother, his older brother, and his uncle. His first performed publicly at around age eleven when he and Skippy, his older brother, were called up to the stage by bands that played regularly for tourists at their parents' workplace.
The Makaha Sons of Ni'ihau
Together with his brother Skippy, Israel started his first band, the Makaha Sons of Ni'ihau, Other members were Jerome Koko, Louis "Moon" Kauakahi and Sam Gray.
The Makaha Sons released five albums, the first of them was No Kristo which was recorded in 1976,
Skippy's death from a heart attack in 1982 affected Israel deeply, Still The bank stayed together, and became one of the most popular bands in Hawaii, with albums like Puana Hou Me Ke Aloha (1984) and Ho'ola (1986).
On 1990 Israel Kamakawiwo'ole decided to start recording on his own.
His first record, Ka 'Ano'i, became the most popular Hawaiian album of 1990,
His second solo album, Facing Future, was released in 1993, and in 1995 the album E Ala E featured a duet with Skippy (using special studio effects). His next album N Dis Life(1996) continued to sell very well.
Throughout his last years, Iz suffered from severe obesity, at one point carried 769 pounds (350 kg).
Israel died of weight-related respiratory illness on June 26th, 1997.
Over 10,000 people attended his funeral on July 10th 1997, The wooden coffin lay at the Capitol building in Honolulu. He was the third person in Hawaiian history to be accorded this honor (the other two were Senator Spark Matsunaga and Governor John A. Burns)
His ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean at M'kua Beach on July 12, 1997.
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