Google honors Hawaiian music legend Israel Kamakawiwo’ole with Google Doodle

National News

HONOLULU (KHON) — The late Hawaiian music legend Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s music lives on and now, Google is doing its part to honor the musician.

“Every year we go through thousands and thousands of submissions from Google and people external about who to honor,” said Jessica Yu, Google Doodle team lead. “We try to get a mix from folks but we moreover want to continue to surprise and delight and inspire people with our choices and I think he just fits that.”

Google is celebrating the life of Bruddah Iz with a Google Doodle on what would have been his 61st birthday. The animation includes his popular rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as well as many personal touches.

“So obviously, one’s like Diamond Head, but the Hawaiians will notice things like Makaha Beach and the Waianae Coast and his memorial journey on the Hokulea,” Yu said. “Just lovely moments like his family life as well. They told us he was like this human jungle gym for the kids in his family and his neighborhood, so we tried to depict that.”

The Google team says the project was a year-long process and they spent months researching, illustrating and speaking to Kamakawiwo’ole’s loved ones.

“We had early on a really great long conversation with John, his producer and his widow Marlene,” Yu said. “They just walked us through everything from his favorite places on Oahu and Hawaii and what he loved to do in his spare time and what his legacy was like, what he would want his legacy to be.”

Google hopes the animation will bring a smile to your face just as the music of Bruddah Iz continues to do for many around the world.

“We’re really anchored by the idea of bringing delightful moments to people that they weren’t expecting during their day. So we hope that especially right now with what a lot of people are going through, particularly hard times and different times, that people can take a moment and enjoy and smile.”

VIDEO: Grammy-nominated reggae band Common Kings pays tribute to the legendary Israel Kamakawiwo’ole on his 61st Birthday.

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