Maui News


January 28, 2009, 6:00 AM HST
* Updated January 28, 2:40 PM
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Slack Key protégé, Makana returns to the MACC for an intimate Valentine’s Day concert.  The show will run two days only at the McCoy Studio Theater on Saturday and Sunday, February 14-15, at 7:30 pm as part of “The MACC Presents…” 2008-09 Mele Series.  Due to popular demand, the second show on Sunday was just added!

One of the hottest young musical artists to emerge from Hawai`i, on both the slack key and world music charts!  Makana is considered a pioneer in his own style of contemporary world rock and has released four highly acclaimed and diverse albums; in fact, his self-titled debut album was voted “Best World Music Album” at the Hawai`i Music Awards. Makana has opened for greats like Sting and Santana.

With a firm foundation in the traditions of ki ho`alu-Hawaiian slack key guitar-Makana adds the influences of folk, rock, ethnic, bluegrass, jazz, traditional, ambient  and classical music to create a style all his own. Known as a musical world time traveler, channeling inspirations from many places and times through his voice, fingers and guitar, Makana brings them together as one, with new works and reanimated classics. His music transcends category and trend by integrating eclectic elements from diverse musical sources into his traditional Hawaiian slack key, to create his arrangements. The result is pure innovation.

Tickets for Makana are $30 (half price for kids 12 and under), and with a discount available to MACC annual donors. Visit the MACC Box Office or call 242-SHOW (7469) to charge by phone Monday through Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm. For patron convenience 24 hours a day, purchase tickets online at

Supported in part by National Endowment for the Arts, State Foundation for Culture and the Arts, County of Maui and KPOA Radio.


Makana’s music transcends category and trend by integrating elements of folk, rock, ethnic, classical, bluegrass, jazz, traditional, ambient and Hawaiian slack key in gentle to commanding arrangements. The result is innovation and the charting of new sonic frontiers with deep ties to tradition. Ki Ho`alu, or “slack key,” is the indigenous Hawaiian art form that is the foundation upon which Makana creates ground-breaking original music and reanimates classics. He attributes his command of the guitar to over a decade of soaking up the licks and influence of Hawai`i’s treasured Masters of an art form older than the blues.


Makana was born and raised on the island of O`ahu in Hawai’i. He began singing at age 7 in the Honolulu Boy Choir, then picked up the `ukulele at age 9 as a student of the Roy Sakuma `Ukulele School. At age 11, Makana began his journey with Hawaiian slack key guitar under the guidance of Bobby Moderow (protégé of slack key master Ray Kane). His first public slack key performance, age 11, was at the Palisades Elementary cafeteria talent show. Appeared on “SuperKids of Summer” TV show, age 12. Awarded grant from The State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to study under legendary slack key master Sonny Chillingworth, age 13-14.


Makana began his first professional gig at age 14 at the Pier Bar in downtown Honolulu. He played solo, and by age 15 was gigging 4 nights a week! With a beginner’s mind and a lot of playing and stage time, Makana soon developed the foundation for his own style of Slack Rock, known for its “huge” sound and surprisingly dynamic range of expression.

Makana has toured England, Japan, China, Germany, Canada, Tahiti, Bali, and throughout the U.S., has headlined at Bumbershoot (Seattle) and WOMAD Reading, and is regularly featured at Slack Key Festivals and as a headliner throughout the Hawaiian Islands. He performs solo and with a band, sharing Hawaiian/World music, and modern contemporary original rock. His music has been featured in major motion pictures and independent films, as well as innumerable environmental and educational documentaries. Makana has opened for talents such as Sting, Santana, Elvis Costello, No Doubt, Jack Johnson, Michael Franti and Spearhead and Baaba Maal and shared the stage with Andreas Vollenweider, Braddah Iz, Keali`i Reichel, Clay Walker, Jason Mraz and Raul Midon.

Makana started his own artist label Makana Music in 2002 and enjoys the freedom of creative independence and the ability to share his music with a multitude of fans as well as non-profits, educational institutions, environmental and social organizations, and communities worldwide. Makana currently lives at Diamond Head, and enjoys spending his free time at the beach, doing qi gong, yoga and the continuous process of learning new things.


(Posted by Wendy OSHER © 2009)  (Photo courtesy:  Maui Arts & Cultural Center & Chris Voelker)

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