Makana Concert
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Makana concert in Portland: an evening of Slack Key Guitar mastery, Hawaiian songs, and stories of Hawai’i

If you’re looking for a unique and unforgettable musical experience, you should consider attending the Makana concert in Portland on Wednesday April 27, 2022.

Makana is a world-renowned musician who celebrates the rich heritage of Slack Key, ‘ukulele, and Hawaiian song. His performance at the Alberta Rose Theatre will be an evening of Slack Key Guitar mastery, Hawaiian songs, and stories of Hawai’i that date back to ancient times.

What is slack key guitar and how is it different from other styles of guitar playing?

Slack key guitar is a type of solo guitar playing characterized by an open tunings and slide or bottleneck guitar techniques. It originated among Native Hawaiians in the late 19th century and is commonly associated with the Hawaiian music genre known as Slack-Key Guitar. The term “slack key” comes from the fact that the strings are “slacked,” or lowered in pitch, in order to make it easier to play certain chords. The technique can be applied to any tuning, but is most commonly heard in tunings that are based on major chords, such as C Major, G Major, and D Major. While slack key guitar is typically played on acoustic steel-string guitars, it can also be played on electric guitars and other types of guitars. The sound of slack key guitar is often described as being warm, mellow, and relaxing, making it a popular choice for background music or for use in film and television.

How did Makana come to be a world-renowned musician?

Makana began playing music at a young age, taking up the ukulele at nine and slack key guitar at eleven. He is a protégé of Bobby Moderow Jr. and the late Uncle Sonny Chillingworth. Slack Key Guitar is a Hawaiian music style that has been practiced for centuries and has been handed down from generation to generation. Slack key guitar, as it has evolved over time, influenced by other musical genres like bluegrass, rock, blues, and raga. From this tradition came Makana’s own unique style: slack key guitar with accents of bluegrass, blues, rock, and raga.

From Wikipedia:

Born and raised in Hawaii, his guitar playing has been featured on three Grammy-nominated albums, including the soundtrack of the Academy-Award winning film “The Descendants”, starring George Clooney. In 2008, he was second runner up in Guitar Player Magazine’s Guitar Superstar competition eliciting praise from judges Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Elliot Easton.[4] In 2012, he was awarded a Na Hoku Ki Ho’alu (Slack Key) Legacy Award by the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts.

On November 12, 2011, Makana, who had performed previously at the White House,[6] turned a gig performing at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation dinner in Honolulu, attended by President Barack Obama and the leaders of 18 other nations, into a political protest. He started out his performance by playing traditional Hawaiian music, which then started to veer gently into more controversial territory. When nearing the end of his set, he opened his suit jacket to reveal a T-shirt with the words “Occupy With Aloha” handwritten on it and proceeded to play a song he had recently written called “We Are the Many”, a folky protest song expressing Makana’s dissatisfaction with the current disproportion of wealth and failure of democracy and his support of the Occupy movement. “I started out very cautiously because my intention was not to disrupt their dinner. My intention was to subliminally convey a message that I felt was paramount to the negotiations,” Makana told CNN. “Eventually I got enough courage to go into it for an extended period of time. And I ended my show with the line ‘the bidding of the many not the few.’ I sang it about fifty times in different ways for them to hear”, resulting in a song that lasted 45 minutes. Rolling Stone Magazine went on to call “We Are the Many” the “anthem of the Occupy movement.”


He is a musician, activist, and environmentalist whose songs have been played hundreds of millions of times online. He has used his music and platform to fight biotech firms like Monsanto and Syngenta in Hawaii; raise funds for services for the homeless; protect vital coastlines like Kaiwi Coast’s coral health through Reef Check; and support land trusts across Hawaii.

He has supported Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (He set a piano on fire in the desert and played it in this music video); traveled to Moscow to sing in a nuclear bunker to raise awareness around nuclear proliferation; rode the Shinkansen across Japan to interview hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bombings) in their 80s; donated my music to television campaigns in support of marriage equality for our LGBTQIA community in Hawai’i; fundraised for schools across pae ‘āina and brought musicians, poets and dancers into schools after arts funding was cut; advocated for the protection of Hawaiian monk seals and Mauna Kea; funded voter initiatives like Got Kuleana; served as spokeperson for mental health advocacy campaigns as well as Kaiser Permanente’s Suicide Prevention Program.

Makana Concert in Portland OR

Makana In Concert! Hawai’i music celebrating the rich heritage of Slack Key, ‘ukulele and Hawaiian song. The Alberta Rose Theatre, Portland OR, Wednesday, April 27, 2022 @ 8:00pm. Makana shares an evening of Slack Key Guitar mastery, Hawaiian songs and stories of Hawai‘i dating from ancient to contemporary inspired by the music legends and featured in his new album Pūlama: Legacies of Hawai’i.

Buy tickets here:

Makana Concert in Portland OR

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