A recent whale watching excursion in Charlevoix led us to recall a similar experience in Hawaii. And Hawaii, as it always does, reminded us of IZ, the late great singer/songwriter/ukulele player and local treasure more formally known as Israel Kamakawiwo╩╗ole. (VIDEO).

IZ sadly and literally was too big for this world, leaving us in 1997. Nevertheless, his memory and legacy remain throughout Hawaii and through his songs, none more compelling than his unique mix of Somewhere Over the Rainbow and What a Wonderful World.

Haunting yet uplifting, the medley found its way into countless films, TV shows and commercials, giving Kamakawiwo╩╗ole a measure of fame beyond the islands, where he has been named “The Voice of the Islands.” If you’ve somehow managed to miss it since it’s release in 1993, check it out here, and think of Hawaii, and IZ.

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