Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole’s 1993 single “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What A Wonderful World” is among the latest titles inducted into the National Registry of the Library of Congress.
The Hawaii artist’s song joins other groundbreaking sounds of history and culture among the latest titles inducted into the registry. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden last week named 25 recordings as audio treasures worthy of preservation for all time based on their cultural, historical or aesthetic importance in the nation’s recorded sound heritage.
“The National Recording Registry will preserve our history through these vibrant recordings of music and voices that have reflected our humanity and shaped our culture from the past 143 years,” said Hayden. “We received about 900 public nominations this year for recordings to add to the registry, and we welcome the public’s input as the Library of Congress and its partners preserve the diverse sounds of history and culture.”
The newly registered recordings bring the number of titles on the registry to 575, representing a small portion of the national library’s vast recorded sound collection of nearly 4 million items.
“Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole, or ‘Bruddah Iz’ or ‘Iz’ as he was also known to his fans in Hawaii, created this medley of two classic pop standards. But in it, he stayed true to his vision of creating contemporary Hawaiian music that fused reggae, jazz and traditional Hawaiian sounds. Driven primarily by Iz’s angelic voice and ukulele playing, the song is melancholic and joyous at once,” the registry states. “Taken from Iz’s album ‘Facing Future’ — the first Hawaiian album ever certified platinum — this single was an international hit, and it has had a sustained life through its use in motion pictures, television programs and commercials.”
Kamakawiwo‘ole’s widow, Marlene, finds these accolades “a blessing for my ohana, and we are so happy to share his magic with the world.”
“Our wish is that Iz was here to witness the joy the song brings to the world” said producer Jon de Mello of Mountain Apple Co.