One man’s gorgeous rendition of this classic song has garnered over a billion views. And once you hear it for yourself, it’s not hard to understand why,
When someone mentions the song “Over the Rainbow,” what do you hear? Maybe the strumming of the ukulele with a high-pitched ringing of the strings? Or maybe the soft crashing of the waves against the shore? Or the warm soulful voice of a Hawaiian singer?
For those who were born after the era of the Wizard of Oz and Judy Garland’s version of the song, this might be the only rendition we know – and it endured because of its timelessness.
The iconic version was sung by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. The rendition has also seen covers upon covers and it might be one of the most popular songs to learn for those who picked up the ukulele.
This version sounded of peace, calmness, and of hope. And for those who worked with IZ, as he is known in the industry, this energy was natural to him. Musician Del Beazley can attest to this.
“In Hawaii, we talk about this thing we call mana,” he said to NPR, “Mana is like an energy that you get. We believe we get ours from the elements first, the Earth, your sky, your ocean, your God, and all that is inside of us. And when we open our mouths to speak, to sing, or to play, that’s what we let out. But it’s that that makes him [Israel] special because his mana always came out.”
Beazley grew up with IZ and wrote two of his songs. They were at a graduation party when IZ showed up with his brother Skippy.