By Wayne Harada
This is the 20th anniversary of the late Izrael Kamakawiwo’ole’s “Facing Future” CD. And the future is "wow."
The 1993 Big Boy album, distributed by the Mountain Apple Company, has been a blockbuster over the past two decades; Bruddah Iz’s “Future” has been a groundbreaking disc, the first island CD to achieve platinum status, selling 2 million copies in the U.S. The core and catalyst of his popularity has been that medley of “Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” featured on the disc — which became a tidal wave of a signature when featured on TV shows like “ER,” films like “Meet Joe Black” and sundry commercials on TV.
To commemorate the two decades, Mountain Apple has remastered the music and reissued the album with a fresh new cover. It’s already on sale here.
Iz died on June 26, 1997 but lived long enough to enjoy the initial popularity of “Rainbow/World.” But he would never have imagined the kind of incredible response from a national and international audience.
And Iz’s global impact goes up another notch this week, when Sarah Brightman — the original Christine in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” — does a duet with Iz, thanks to the magic of technology, on “Hawaii ’78,” on her latest release, “Dreamchaser,” which will be available exclusively at Target stores beginning Tuesday (April 16) as a “bonus” tune. The hypnotic Hawaiian anthem, part of Iz’s legacy in life and in memorium, already has rolled out in Europe, where Brightman’s vast fame will further re-introduce Iz to global listeners still eagerly anticipating a follow-up to his signature “Over the Rainbow” hit.