My sister, Kristine Marie Mijares Lazaro Recabarren, DESERVES the BEST of everything! Everything about "Somewhere Over the Rainbow / What a Wonderful World" is beautiful, just like my sister. And, though I can't do the song justice the way that Iz did, I'm dedicating this beautiful song to a beautiful person: my sister. "I love you Kristine!"
Israel "Iz" Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole (May 20, 1959 June 26, 1997) (pronounced [kaˌmakaˌʋiwoˈʔole]) was a Hawaiian musician.
He became famous outside Hawaii when his album Facing Future was released in 1993. His medley of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "What a Wonderful World" was subsequently featured in several films, television programs, and commercials.
On October 26, 2005, Facing Future became Hawaii's first certified platinum album, selling more than one million CDs in the United States, according to figures furnished by the Recording Industry Association of America. On July 21, 2006, BBC Radio 1 announced that "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World(True Dreams)" would be released as a single in America. Kamakawiwoʻole's recording of "Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" reached #12 on Billboard's Hot Digital Tracks chart the week of January 31, 2004 (for the survey week ending January 18, 2004), and passed the 2 million paid downloads mark in the USA as of September 27, 2009.
Through his consummate ukulele playing and incorporation of other genres (such as jazz and reggae), Kamakawiwoʻole remains one of the major influences in Hawaiian music since the mid-1990's.