Gig Seeker Pro



Band World Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Greatest Living Player"

“Slack key guitar music, indigenous to Hawai’i, has been around longer than the blues, and Makana is considered the greatest living player.”
- Esquire Magazine, March 2003
- Esquire Magazine

"Kirk Hammett's Comments on Makana"

"I've been deep into classical music and Hawaiian slack-key guitar. I've gotten way into Andres Segovia, and this Hawaiian guitar player called Makana"
- Kirk Hammett interview, Guitar World January 2006 (Lead guitarist for Metallica)
- Guitar World Magazine

"BBC News Review Makana's performance at WOMAD Festival"

“Back on the main stage, one-man Hawaiian band Makana captivated the audience with a high voice, personal songs and powerful acoustic guitar.”
– BBC News, on the WOMAD Festival in Reading, England
- BBC News

"An Aura about Makana..."

“There is an aura about Makana while he is on stage. His heart is completely apparent in his music and this transcends into a command of his audience.”– Scott Macgowen, Oahu Island News

- Oahu Island News

""A world-class talent""

“…Clearly, he’s a world-class talent” – John Berger, Star Bulletin - Star Bulletin

"Groundbreaking Guitarist..."

“An immensely gifted artist, Makana’s instrumental brilliance bears comparison with the work of such groundbreaking acoustic guitarists as John Fahey and Michael Hedges.”
– Jon Woodhouse, Maui News
- Maui News

""I didn't want to miss anything..""

“As one audience member said after the show, “I’ve had to go to the bathroom for a half hour, but I didn’t want to miss anything.” – Damon Orion, Good Times Santa Cruz - Good Times, Santa Cruz


Albums Released
"Different Game"- 2008
"Ki Ho'alu: Journey of Hawaiian Slack Key"- 2003
"Koi Au" -2002
"Makana" - 1999 ("Only You" #1 in Hawaii)
Countless compilations, US and Japan



A slacker is one thing you could never call Makana. But you can call him a slack-rocker. The young singer-songwriter-musician fuses slack key guitar virtuosity (a style that sounds like three guitars in one) with elements of rock, folk, bluegrass and blues—all within poignant, original message songs. In fact, Makana just got 2nd RUNNER-UP in GUITAR PLAYER MAGAZINE'S 2008 GUITAR SUPERSTAR COMPETITION!

Building upon his roots as the keeper of Hawaii’s slack key flame, Makana takes the centuries-old tradition and blasts it into the 21st century, much in the way that rock bands of the ’60s and ’70s updated traditional genres like blues and country music. But although slack key forms the basis of Makana’s music, he’s not stuck in the past. Transcending labels and moving forward has always been his prime motivation, and Makana ‘s music sublimely dresses incredible complexity in simple melody and heartfelt delivery.

Hailing from the isle of O’ahu, Makana—whose name means “a gift given freely”—began singing when he was 7 years old, took up ‘ukulele at 9 and began learning the ancient art of slack key at 11, studying under the legendary master, Sonny Chillingworth. By 14, he was already performing professionally, and before long playing four nights a week. His reputation as the youngest master of slack key spread like molten volcanic lava throughout the islands. With each successive year, more and more music fans—both on and outside of the islands—are experiencing the Makana phenomenon. In addition to his own headlining tours, Makana has opened shows for the likes of Sting, Santana, Elvis Costello, Paul Rodgers, Chris Isaak, No Doubt, Jason Mraz, and Jack Johnson and he’s wowed even those hard-to-please audiences every time out.

Makana has (self) released 5 albums to date. Each record has sold in the 8000-10,000 range. On myspace, he typically gets 350+ plays per day. His current distributor in the US is ADA (American Distribution Alliance), a division of Warner.

Makana has the ability to channel a massive sound and presence even as a solo artist. When he walks onstage and begins playing, the audience is immediately engaged and enthralled by the magic he does with his fingers, hands, and even arms & legs (!), and the purity of his voice. The “Ace Card” Makana drops at every show is his amazing demonstration of what “slack key” is to the audience; this serves to pull them into his world and creates a deeper appreciation for his talent through their understanding, resulting in standing ovations at almost every show. Having the ability to communicate clearly and effectively to his audience, as well as such strong traditional roots, gives him a great foundation from which to share new and original music to even those who are witnessing him for the first time.

The traditional Hawaiian music masters of Ki Ho'alu (Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar); the musicians of the second Hawaiian renaissance; the contemporary Hawaiian musicians Willie K. and John Cruz; the original steel guitar legends Andy Iona and Tau Moe. Hawaiian Kupuna (elders) and Kumu (teachers); Lao Tzu, Krishnamurti, Martin Luther King Jr., Yashua, Russian authors Rand and Zamyatin, Khalil Gibran, Paulo Coelho, Hafiz and Rumi. Nature- Hawaiian sunsets and waves breaking only steps from home. Musicians- Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Tim Buckley, Andreas Vollenweider, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Eno and Lanois (as producers), Alan Parsons, The Chieftains, Van Morrison, Dylan, Richard Thompson, Tchaikovsky, Jimi Hendrix, My Bloody Valentine, Smashing Pumpkins, Eddie Vedder, Tracy Chapman, Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond, The Police, Dick Gaughan, Nick Drake, Robert Johnson, The Stones, Beatles, Ravi Shankar, Elton John, Bob Marley, James Taylor, David Bowie, Greg Brown, Bjork, Stephen Inglis, Sam Cooke, Nat King Cole, and Dead Kennedys, to name a few. Styles- Cubano and Portuguese music, Chinese and Bulgarian melodies, culturally and spiritually rooted chanting, and Aboriginal storytelling and song. While the influence of media and pop culture exists (haven't had a TV for over a decade), as does corporate image building and social indoctrination, I try to balance my exposure with emersion in natural Hawai'i. These days, less music; just sounds: quiet, wind, waves, voices. The greatest influence comes in dreams; hearing the non-existent and then giving it sound; lyrics that move the soul, not just validate it, and melody that transforms matter to resonance.

Makana’s performances and music appeal to every age, gender and nationality. He knows how to connect. Some of Makana’s heroes, including Eddie Vedder, Kirk Hammett and Paul Rodgers are fans, and have show up to his gigs in support and with a curiosity toward his unique approach to guitar.

Contributed opening song on the 2006 Grammy Nominated Album “Hawaiian Slack Key Kings”

Multiple Na Hoku Hanohano Award nominations

"Best World Music Album" at