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Mojomana @ Charley's Restaurant

Paia, Hawaii, USA

Paia, Hawaii, USA

Mojomana @ Lilikoi Grill, Haiku, HI

None, Hawaii, USA

None, Hawaii, USA

Mojomana @ Lulu's Lahaina Surf Club

Lahaina, Hawaii, USA

Lahaina, Hawaii, USA

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



If you seek a dose of melodic, psychedelic folk-rock, then look no further than Café Marc Aurel this Saturday night. Mojomana's influences are apparent. From their generally upbeat tunes you can pick up bits and pieces of the Velvet Underground, Mazzy Star, the Doors and, to some degree, the Grateful Dead. Singer Melissa M.'s vocals are comparable to those of (former Mazzy Star vocalist) Hope Sandoval, which is not a comparison/compliment I just throw around. Guitarist Rodney K's snaking leads also invoke Mazzy Star, though I'd even compare them to the Doors' Robby Krieger's bottleneck slide leads (think "End of the Night" or "Moonlight Drive"). What distinguishes these guys from the above-mentioned baroque pop mainstays is their backbone, also known as drummer Dan Minichiello. His upbeat style gives the music an element of danceability. Quite a rare sound that I wholeheartedly recommend you check out. Free.

- Mauitime

Mythological sirens embody shameless self-promotion. They did, after all, lure ships to shore with their irresistible song, to the ultimate detriment of sailors. The shameless self-promotion I am about to exact upon the reader has a much more savory intent. Saturday's Sirens of Rock Maui Brewfest After Party, you see, will feature a number of Maui musical acts with female vocalists. I am one of those, and will be opening the show with an acoustic set of mostly originals and perhaps a Ten Years After cover (of course I'd be including this show as a Pick even if I wasn't on the bill—I mean, have ya met me?). The tough-as-nails Throwdowns, fronted by Erin Smith, play second. Headlining is Mojomana, which has a dynamite psychedelic-surf-blues sound enhanced by Melissa M's super-sweet vocals. If brewfest wasn't enough for you, this will be an excellent event at which to carry on with the consumption of delicious beers. So, you know, yay. A steal at $10.

- Mauitime-Kate Bradshaw

The band is forever reaching to boldly go where no band has gone before, and in February, Bradshaw wrote that they “invoke various types of scenery, some nameless force that pushes the music into another dimension.”
- Mauitime-Anu Yagi

A Maui Grown group of down-to-earth musicians that reflect the surf and the island in their Hot Original Sounds!

Mojomana is a 4-piece band incorporating multi-national and multi-cultural roots from mainland Americas to Europe and Africa.

They play locally at restaurant and nightclubs as well as being featured at non-profit events and private parties. -

Whereas Catholicism’s Limbo is on the outskirts of Hell, the comparatively preferable Trinidadian limbo is a hike-up-your-skirt kind of contra dancing that’s known the world over. Everyone knows there’s no sitting in limbo, but if you can go low, show off your stuff at Mojomana’s big Casanova show, this Friday (June 17). Prizes include custom-carved tiki trophies by Toddzilla and over $1,000 in prizes. While that’s way cool, those are just the perks. Because the night is all about the music. Frontwoman Melissa M. calls her new lineup—with Toddzilla and Handsome J—a “high speed, low drag trio.” Augmenting their American pop/surf culture music—shaken with a Hawaiian-style twist—is guest percussionist Berto, and opening up the show is DJ EdaKit - Mauitime-Anu Yagi

Rock hard at Hard Rock Cafe Maui’s Cancer Benefit concert with live local music by red-hot Mojomana and other bands — all donating tunes for a good cause — from 9 p.m. to close Friday in Lahaina. Cover is $10. Mojomana includes Todd Mego (from left), Melissa M and Ancil Clancy.
Xenia Productions photo

- Mojomana: Cancer Benefit Concert

One of music’s most important functions is enhancement of landscape. Part of the appeal of a record like, say, Getz/Gilberto lies in its ability to define a moment and become inseparable, at least in memory, from a physical setting. (Think early evening, Makena, champagne, Getz. Damn.) Some artists’ compositions just have an unquantifiable ability to invoke various types of scenery, some nameless force that pushes the music into another dimension. Haiku-based Mojomana does this without overdoing it.

And they know how to party.

“I aim for infamy,” drummer Dan Minichiello tells me over an assortment of flavored cleaning products at a cafe in Paia. His first concert was Cream, he says, and he recalls a lethargic and bone-thin Ginger Baker mounting the stage, later coming alive for a 45-minute drum solo. Magic.

Singer/guitarist Melissa M., who writes most of their songs, says that she often breaks strings from playing too hard, from trying to convey the gestalt of whatever musical picture she has in mind.

It’s no wonder geography seems to play heavily into their sound: M. grew up in New Mexico and went to college and grad school in Flagstaff, AZ. She’s been on Maui for nearly a decade. Not a bad record as far as inspiring locales go.

M. employs chord progressions that are simple and pretty catchy, but often dramatic (with a few blues structures here and there), and lead guitarist Rodney K. overlays them with stretchy, psychedelic solos (I would like to stress here that they’re not quite a jam band). Bass and drums (furnished by Dino Segovis and Minichiello, respectively) give M.’s dreamy compositions a dance-inducing bounciness.

The band assembled in 2005, and debuted at an Iraq War veterans’ benefit concert. Now in a slightly different configuration, they gig a few times a month, and play at Eha’s this Saturday.

M. says Mojomana has gotten comparisons to the likes of the Cowboy Junkies and Mazzy Star. While bands with female vocalists tend to get compared to other girl-fronted bands simply by virtue of plumbing, these comparisons actually have merit. Here’s my comparison: The Velvet Underground plus The B52s, four hours into an acid bender in the desert.

They do surf versions of “Walkin’ After Midnight” and “Tracks of my Tears” and a blues version of “Gin and Juice.” Lyrically, M. explores an array of physical and psychological landscapes. “A lot of it is really somewhat of a stream of consciousness,” she says.

M.’s vocal style is striking. She’s on the low end of mezzo-soprano with a breezy, slightly frail sound that never becomes nasal. She sometimes goes a little flat, but in a way that totally works; the way Liz Phair used to do before selling out.

So what about the name? M. says they came up with it while trying to describe what mana is to someone—kind of like mojo, but then again pretty different. It is at the intersection between mojo and mana where their music lies—music that is more conjured than crafted. MTW

- by Kate Bradshaw


(Single) The Wedding Song
Released: September 13, 2010
Label: Bellstone
Formats: CD, download

2011 Demo Mojomana
Released: June 22, 2011
Label: Bellstone
Formats: CD, download

Released: December 11, 2011
Label: Bellstone
Formats: CD, download



MOJOMANA is an original power trio from the isle of Maui. The band's name is composed of two words which represent what music and performing are to the group.
mojo /Noun: 1. A magic charm, talisman, or spell. 2. Magic power.
ma·na /Noun: A supernatural force believed to dwell in a person or sacred object. That which is an indigenous Pacific islander concept of an impersonal force or quality that resides in people, animals, and inanimate objects.
Mojomana conjure a unique musical experience, their sound comes alive with a true island inspired spirit. The bands front woman Melissa M established the band in 2005. Her many talents are the heart and soul of the group. The rhythm section, Handsome J on drums with bassist ToddXilla, create the skeleton of Mojomana. Their sound is a driving vehicle that takes you to a new sonic landscape. Singer/guitarist Melissa M employs chord progressions that are catchy, amd often dramatic. Her striking vocal style is on the low end of mezzo-soprano with a breezy soulful essence. Bass and drums give the compositions a dance-inducing bounciness while keeping connected to their rock roots. Mojomana is a unique island rock experience.