A couple of seasons ago, St. Clair Productions produced a show with a Hawaiian Slack Key guitarist named Jeff Peterson whose is booked Pasifika Artists Network. At the time, I checked out some other musicians on the roster, including Makana. I thought ,“Wow, he’s amazing.” Then I forgot about him that is until I received an e-mail from a volunteer who was visiting Hawaii. She said she had just been to a concert by Makana and I really should have him be part of my series. So, not knowing if anyone here had ever heard of Makana, I took a chance and added him to my concert series. Turns out many people know who he is and have already bought tickets.
Makana performs on Friday, November 14, 8 p.m. at the Unitarian Fellowship, 87 4th St., Ashland. Tickets are $20/advance, $22/door, $10/12-17 and free under 12. Tickets are available at www.stclairevents.com, the Music Coop or by calling 541-535-3562.
The following morning, Saturday, November 15, Makana teaches a Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar workshop 10 a.m-noon. Cost is $35. Register at www.stclairevents.com or by calling 541-535-3562.
Described as “dazzling” by the New York Times, Makana is an internationally acclaimed Hawiian Slack Key guitarist, Hawaiian singer, and composer of original music and is widely known for lending his musical talent for social change. His guitar playing is featured on three Grammy-nominated CDs, including the soundtrack of the Academy-Award winning film “The Descendants”. In 2011, at the apex of the “Occupy” movement, Makana’s song “We Are the Many” went viral on YouTube garnering more than half a million views and was coined the “Occupy Anthem” by Rolling Stone Magazine.
A protégé of several Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar legends, Makana has dedicated his life to perpetuating and evolving the art form. He has evolved his own dynamic, high-octane style, coined “Slack Rock”: slack key infused with elements of bluegrass, rock, blues and raga.
In 2008, Makana was second runner up in Guitar Player Magazine’s Guitar Superstar competition. In 2012, he was awarded one of Hawaii’s top musical honors: a Na Hoku Ki Ho’alu (Slack Key) Legacy Award (Hawai’i’s “Grammy”) by the Hawai’i Academy of Recording Arts. Makana was honored with the Artist for Peace Award in 2005 by the city council of Kaua’i.
When he’s not onstage, Makana is a strong anti-GMO activist, as well as helping others on a number of important causes. Makana founded I Ho’ili Kamali’i: In Leaving a Legacy for the Children of the Land, a movement to introduce and strengthen culturally oriented music in Hawaii’s classrooms through the playing of slack key, nose flute, and other instruments.
Makana’s concert and workshop are funded in part by The National Endowment for the Arts and the Western States Arts Federation.