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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bruddah Iz's voice lives on, now in a new book

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Columnist

Bruddah Iz

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Ben "Buddy" Bess

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Andrew Meader

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John Mount

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BOOK 'EM: Watch for Iz, The Book. You've already adored "Over the Rainbow," the song, thanks to the late Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's still-selling CDs and mounting exposure in TV shows, feature films and a parade of commercials. Bess Press is launching what likely will be its biggest book endeavor, "Iz: Voice of the People," a coffee-table volume by Rick Carroll. It's due in book shops Tuesday.

Those who've seen the early copies are buzzing about the abundant memories through text and more than 200 photographs of Bruddah Iz as a child, as a youth, as a member of The Makaha Sons and more. Iz's widow, Marlene K. Kamakawiwo'ole, provides the foreword; in a jacket blurb, his producer, Jon de Mello, says stories shared by Iz's friends and 'ohana "will make you laugh and cry." Indeed, Iz's journey has been compelling and inspiring; his music legendary and lasting. Publisher Ben "Buddy" Bess' initial run of 25,000 volumes is approaching the 20,000 level in pre-release orders, so he's already printing 20,000 more copies.

Carroll, a photojournalist who lived here for 15 years and now lives in North Carolina, will do a West Coast and Hawai'i tour for the book in September. For details, visit www.besspress.com. ...

BEHIND THE SCENES: Andrew Meader will guest-direct "Urinetown," Manoa Valley Theatre's season opener, bowing Sept. 6. Mike Durpe plays the lead, Bobby Strong; the ensemble includes R. Andrew Doan, Danel Verdugo, Lisa Konove, Matthew Pennaz, Jamie Rolfsmyer and Katie Beth Hicks. Ahnya Chang choreographs, Phil Hildalgo conducts the orchestra. ...

You might say things are mounting at Army Community Theatre's "Sweeney Todd," which opens Sept. 7 at Richardson Theatre. John Mount, University of Hawai'i professor and head of the opera program, has been cast as Judge Turpin. His wife, Lorna Mount, will sing the role of Beggar Woman and co-directs the music with Lina Doo while the latter is in Argentina on a Fulbright award. Daughter Megan Mount also is in the show, as Johanna, but only because she withdrew from the overlapping KHPR art-song contest. ...

At the Honolulu Theatre for Youth, a monumental task is under way for "A Thousand Cranes," a drama that opens Jan. 19 at Tenney Theatre. Volunteers have been busily folding origami paper cranes at the behest of set and props designer Johanna Morris 2,000 are needed. Folks like Carolyn Kishi (HTY volunteer director), Sara Grove (box office manager), Hermen "Junior" Tesoro, Dusty Behner and Stephanie Kuroda (all actors) and Aubrey Hawk (publicist), along with daughters Kelly and Maddie, have been folding paper cranes with devotion. ...

ON THE RECORD: In conjunction with the Aug. 20 Slack-Key Guitar Festival at Kapi'olani Park, producer Milton Lau anticipates releasing three ki ho'alu CDs shortly, by Paul Togioka, Ledward Ka'apana and a compilation of 15 artists including Jack Johnson, the Island son who has a burgeoning career of his own but continues to hone his skills on slack-key guitar. ...

Ledward Ka'apana's "Grand Master Slack-Key Guitar" CD, due shortly, should be a sizzler. First off, it's half instrumental, half vocal. Among the contents: "Mokupuni Nui," a 1978 Keith Haugen composition, which will be the third time in 15 years Ka'apana has recorded the song. In 1991, it was on "Nahehane"; in 2000, it was on "Black Sand." Composer Haugen has not heard the latest track but loved the arrangement when Ka'apana played it live at The Royal Hawaiian hotel. ...

Na Leo's "Where I Live There Are Rainbows" should be a highly anticipated release, due Sept. 19, and part of their Hawaiian Platinum Collection. ...

Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom returns to the Mountain Apple Co. fold with the Aug. 22 release of "Generation Hawai'i," a CD of traditional and contemporary Isle music. ...

And that's Show Biz. ...

Show Biz is published Tuesdays and Thursdays. Reach Wayne Harada at 525-8067, wharada@honoluluadvertiser.com or fax 525-8055.