Makana is the "banyan tree" of Hawai'i's musical heritage: his roots go deep into the lineage of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Masters, by whom he was taught the incredibly sophisticated yet subtle indigenous Hawaiian approach to the guitar; and the branches of his creativity and musical exploration reach well into the realm of the pioneer. Makana's music is a sublime marriage of timeless folk tradition with the modern quest for emotional immediacy, the foundation of which is his inner sense of alluring melody supported by a natural oneness with the guitar.
A performer of 21 years and guitarist of 17 years, at 28 years of age, Makana's experience in music and its industry as a truly independent artist is vast. He has 4 albums out, each in a different genre, all on his own label Makana Music. Makana means "gift", and he spends a large amount of his year donating his music and performances to many community, family and environmental causes. Last fall he was awarded the first "Artist for Peace" award by the County of Kaua'i for all of his contributions to the people of Hawai'i.
Makana has opened for Sting, Santana, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, Baaba Maal, Elvis Costello, Andreas Vollenweider, No Doubt... quite a diverse roster, as is reflected in his music. For more information on Makana and his art, visit www.makanalive.com.
Makana performs in various live configurations, depending on circumstance and vision. Solo, duo (with percussion), or trio (with drums and bass). The trio can also scale up with a variety of instruments depending on the scale and style of performance. Other ethnic instruments are sometimes incorporated (didgeridoo, 'ukulele, gu zheng, etc). On most shows, he has his guitar tech with him. (3 piece band + tech=4)
"Makana", self-titled debut, 1999
"Koi Au", 2002
"Ki Ho'alu: Journey of Hawaiian Slack Key", 2003
"Different Game", 2006 (release date Oct. 17)
(plus a whole slew of compilations in Japan and the US)
My sets change every show. I have over 100 originals I draw from, a large catalogue of Hawaiian songs and slack key instrumentals, and I often slip in covers with my own interpretations by artists such as Tim Buckley, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Sting, and many others. The trio strikes a balance between delivering powerful songs and exploratory instrumentation- we love to jam. Serious players. When I perform solo, my acoustic guitar (due to both my style and some technical innovations) sounds like a giant wave of ALOHA. hehe It sounds HUGE, bigger than any single acoustic guitar in the world, like a symphony.