The group that shaped the 'voice of Hawaii'
“Somewhere over the rainbow…”. If you know this song, you have certainly heard of the great Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, the one who is also known as the "Voice of Hawaii". One cannot retrace the history of the group Makaha Sons of Ni'ihau without delving (with great respect) into the past of this illustrious Hawaiian singer and ukulele player. The reason is quite simple: he is one of the founders.
It all started when IZ and his family moved to Makaha. It was there that he met Louis "Moon" Kauakahi, Sam Gray and Jerome Koko with whom he quickly bonded. The band, joined by Skippy (IZ's brother), decided to form a musical group which they dubbed "Makaha Sons of Ni'ihau". The group, formed in 1976, first made their mark at a party at a small local nightclub. The mix of contemporary and traditional musical styles immediately won over the audience. Things then changed rapidly. The “Makaha Sons of Ni'ihau” are growing in popularity. They start producing in Hawaii and then in the continental United States. Their great tour took them to many American cities.
The group released fifteen successful albums and won several trophies, including the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards and the Hawaii Music Awards. The “voice of Hawaii” began to gain recognition around the world. The Makaha Sons of Ni'ihau have become a benchmark in the world of traditional Hawaiian music. In 1993, the group changed its name to “Makaha Sons” after Israel Kamakawiwo’ole abruptly decided to leave it. The "sons of Makaha" continued to produce for many years in their native land. They have also supported young artists in their careers. In 2004, they decided to create the Makaha Sons Foundation. The latter is known worldwide for its various community and charitable actions.
Reference titles in the ukulele universe
With their original musical style mixing contemporary and traditional, the group Makaha Sons of Ni'ihau / Makaha Sons have inspired many artists and musicians, especially ukulele players. Even today, their songs are considered true references. They are also frequently taken up and performed.
If you have decided to learn to play the ukulele, we recommend a quick overview of the famous "Pas de Kristo", "Kahea O Keale", "Keala", "Mahalo, Ke Akua", and "Puana Hou" Me Ke Aloha ”, some of the band's best known albums.