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The first time I listened to this song, I had never heard of the artist. I was captivated by his melodious voice, as well as this unique version of an iconic song.
In case you’re not old enough to remember (I’m not either), the song Over the Rainbow was written for the movie The Wizard of Oz in 1939. As Dorothy from Kansas who became stranded in Oz, the late actress Judy Garland sang the song which won an Academy Award and is “one of the greatest movie songs of all times.”
Unlike Dorothy, Israel kamakawiwo’ole was not from Kansas, far from it. He was a native and life-long resident of Hawaii. (I have been to both places ;they could not be more different.)
He was a popular and beloved citizen and celebrity there and his music represented and extolled the island geography and culture.
Unfortunately, he developed morbid obesity. At a reported height of 6’2” (1.88 m) and weighing 757 pounds (343 kilos), his body mass index (BMI) was 97. (BMI over 30 is called obese). I have discussed BMI and obesity in a previous post What is obesity and why does it matter?
As a result, his health suffered from lung and heart problems which eventually caused his untimely death at only 38 years old. All of Hawaii mourned his passing.
Fortunately, he left to Hawaii and the world a wealth of music to enjoy.
Several years ago my husband accompanied me to Hawaii to attend a medical conference. (If you have to sit and listen to medical lectures all day, that is definitely the place to do it)
Hawaii, the 50th state added to the United States of America, is made up of 6 major islands. The conference was on the Big Island, which is also called Hawaii. One of the largest and most active volcanoes in the world is there at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park , so it is a must see . And we did.