I’ve always thought that “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” would make a perfect “Parent Dance,” but the original Judy Garland version is too much of a diva performance song, that would bring more attention to the singer, than to the groom and his mother or the bride and her father. I first heard this arrangement by Hawaiin singer Israel Kamakawiwo’ole in the closing credits of the movie “Finding Forrester” and fell in love with it. I heard it again in the Brad Pitt movie “Meet Joe Black.”
I always thought the lyrics to the song could easily be interpreted as a parent advising their son or daughter to always reach for the dream of living the most beautiful life they could envision, with the rainbow representing any possible obstacles that may get in the way. At a wedding, the message is even more appropriate than ever, because the bridal couple will be searching for that special place together.
The simplicity of the solo ukulele with a quasi-reggae back-beat accompanying Israel’s soft, “island-breezy” voice is the perfect version of this 1938 Harold Arlen’s great American classic.
Give a listen, and let me know what you think.