Sunday, December 16, 2012

Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World

Written by Rick Dalton about the performance he and Meghan Conley did at the season 2 premiere party for Ragged Isle.  Thanks for recounting this Rick!  It was a real highlight that night.

Why this song? Because it's beautiful, for one. This version is of course inspired by the great Israel "IZ" Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole, one of the sweetest voices the world has ever known. I first heard this song ten years ago on the show “E.R.” It was featured during an incredibly beautiful and heart wrenching moment toward the end of an episode called “On The Beach” (Season 8, Episode 21). It played during the last moments of Dr. Mark Greene's life. I was so into that show, the guy felt like my old, dear friend. I just watched it again and cried my eyes out. It's one of the finest moments in television history, in my opinion, especially if you followed the character and story. I remember one time, at my friend Jason's wedding reception, a number of people, myself included, gathered around the P.A. speaker when this song started playing. All of us admitted that we were drawn together thinking the same thing, the death of this fictional character. We all loved Dr. Greene. Great stories are human kind's favorite thing, right?

The show led me to track down the song on mp3, and find out about the singer. If you haven't heard of Israel Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole, you should search him out, hear more of his music, and learn his story. He had an amazing life, and has become the best selling Hawaiian musician of all time.

I've wanted to sing this song since I heard it, ideally just like IZ, with nothing but vocals and ukulele. Barry Dodd had the Ragged Isle Season 2 Premiere Party coming up at Geno's in Portland, with musicians from the RI cast and crew performing, and I badly wanted to be a part of it. I tried to find a karaoke version of the song because I can't play ukulele, but there wasn't one to be found. I noticed the word “ukulele” in a post on Facebook, from my friend Meghan. I have known Meghan for many years, and have been in the same place at the same time as her many times, but we had only actually talked on a few occasions in all those years. I instant messaged her on the old FB, and it looked like this:
Luckily, she had a rehearsal space. So, I rigged up a makeshift P.A. with a mike and a Sirius boom box, and we had a number of rehearsals. We both had a lot of fun working on the song and chatting it up, and have since become closer friends. Meghan is one of the most intelligent, interesting, and enjoyable people I know, one of my top faves, and we came together through a song. Now we enjoy regular visits and great conversations. She calls them “walks” and they seem to involve movement, and being outside without a computer screen. It takes great conversation to get me around the block without taking a cab.

There were lots of great performances the night of the premiere, and a great time was had by all in attendance. It was such a thrill to finally get to perform Somewhere Over The Rainbow live. Meghan kicked ass. Thank God she tackled the tougher job. And of course, it was pure magic to watch the Ragged Isle Season 2 premiere on the big screen, and see everyone cheering the battleships and aircraft carriers!


Rick Dalton

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