Tuesday, 15 March 2016

CULTURE: A life lived heroically

How Israel Kamakawiwo'ole recorded "Somewhere Over The Rainbow":

It began at 3 in the morning. Milan Bertosa was at the end of a long day in his Honolulu recording studio.

"And the phone rings. It was a client of mine," Bertosa remembers. The client rattled off Israel's unpronounceable name and said he wanted to come in and record a demo. Bertosa said he was shutting down, call tomorrow. But the client insisted on putting Israel on the phone. "And he's this really sweet man, well-mannered, kind. 'Please, can I come in? I have an idea,' " Bertosa remembers Israel saying. 

Bertosa relented and gave Israel 15 minutes to get there. Soon, there was a knock at the door. 

"And in walks the largest human being I had seen in my life. Israel was probably like 500 pounds. And the first thing at hand is to find something for him to sit on." The building security found Israel a big steel chair. "Then I put up some microphones, do a quick sound check, roll tape, and the first thing he does is 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow.' He played and sang, one take, and it was over."

His brother Skippy died from complications of obesity, as had almost all of Israel's immediate family. He knew he was destined for a brief life... 

 "I was scared when I lost my mother, my father, my brother, my sister," Israel told de Mello. "I guess this is gonna sound kind of weird, but I'm not scared for myself for dying. Because I believe all these places are temporary. This is just one shell. Because we Hawaiians live in both worlds. It's in our veins."

- http://www.npr.org/2010/12/06/131812500/israel-kamakawiwo-ole-the-voice-of-hawaii

"Brudda Iz was the common people's Ali`i (high Chief), and they came out by the thousands (at least twenty thousand) to pay homage to a person that touched their hearts and spoke their language and said what was in their hearts and minds. They came to honor someone who came from "humble beginnings", tried everything good and bad, then became a powerful spokesman against drugs, youth gangs, and promoted non violence and the pursuit of the Hawaiian Culture and Self-determination in the form of Sovereignty."

- http://www.moolelo.com/iz.html

"Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono ["The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness"] has been a motto of Hawaii for over 160 years. It is generally claimed that it became the motto of the Kingdom of Hawaii when King Kamehameha III spoke the words on July 31, 1843. This was the day that sovereignty was restored to Hawaii by proclamation of Queen Victoria following a five-month-long rogue British occupation. "

- http://www.netstate.com/states/mottoes/hi_motto.htm

Sovereignty is still a live issue:

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaiian_sovereignty_movement

October 2015: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/10/30/historic-election-could-return-sovereignty-to-native-hawaiians.html

November 2015: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-34680564

November 2015: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/supreme-court-halts-hawaiian-election_us_5658c6e8e4b08e945feb3ecc

- and there are activist blogs and sites running, e.g. http://www.hawaiiankingdom.info/

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