Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

Iz: The Man Behind the Music [Video]

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In the last couple of decades, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole rose to become the undisputed star of Hawaiian music, and arguably personified Hawaii at large. Iz: The Man Behind the Music documents his career, but moreover his life. The film is comprised primarily of interviews with relatives and friends (and a few notable fans), moving from Iz's childhood through his days with the Makaha Sons to the peak of his popularity and his early death. While spending some time on the musical aspects of his career, the film also takes pains to detail Iz's struggles with his family, with his weight, and with drugs, ending with a look at the massive island-wide mourning for the gentle giant upon his passing. Surprisingly poignant in its coverage, the film also contains short clips of Iz's performances throughout the islands and across the years, showing his development from traditional to contemporary music. Also included on the DVD is a music video for his megahit cover of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and concert footage from a prison show. Worth a thorough viewing for fans of Iz, though newcomers should perhaps start with the music itself.