Thursday, March 17 | 7:30 p.m.
Winter/Spring 2016 Concert Series
sponsored in part by:
Described as “dazzling” by the New York Times, Makana is an internationally acclaimed guitarist, singer, and composer who is widely known for lending his musical talent for social change. His guitar playing has been featured on three GRAMMY-nominated albums, including the soundtrack of the Academy-Award winning film The Descendants. In 2011, at the apex of the “Occupy” movement, Makana’s song “We Are the Many” went viral on YouTube garnering more than half a million views and was coined the “Occupy Anthem” by Rolling Stone Magazine. His performance of the song at an APEC World Leaders’ Dinner hosted by the Obamas also went viral and became the #1 news story on Yahoo worldwide for two days, garnering appearances on CNN, BBC, ABC, Democracy Now!, Sean Hannity, and other major news outlets. Makana’s captivating and wide-ranging performance style has led him to share the stage with Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson, open for music legends Sting, Carlos Santana, and Elvis Costello, and perform in venues ranging from Asian and European opera houses to The White House.
Born and raised in Hawai’i, Makana grew up on the shores of Waikiki amid the likes of legend Don Ho and young Elvis-impersonator Bruno Mars. Makana- whose name means “a gift given freely”- began singing when he was seven-years-old, took up ‘ukulele at nine, and began learning the ancient art of slack key at eleven. By fourteen, he was performing professionally, and before long playing five nights a week. His reputation as the youngest virtuoso of slack key spread like molten volcanic lava throughout the islands. A protégé of the Hawaiian slack-key guitar legends, including Bobby Moderow Jr. and the late master Uncle Sonny Chillingworth, Makana has dedicated his life to perpetuating as well as evolving the traditional Hawaiian art form. From this tradition Makana has evolved his own dynamic, high-octane style, coined “Slack Rock”: slack key infused with elements of bluegrass, rock, blues and raga. Makana is considered one of the “greatest living players” (Esquire Magazine) whose “instrumental brilliance bears comparison with the work of such groundbreaking acoustic guitarists as John Fahey and Michael Hedges” (Maui News).
Praised for her originality in song composition and ability to stir the deepest emotions with spellbinding and soulful vocals, Paula Fuga has established herself as one of Hawai’i’s most respected live performers. At an early age, she faced the vulnerabilities of living homeless on the beach, seeing the destruction of drugs and violence. Despite having overcome such adversity quite successfully, she is living her career with much gratitude and humility. Fuga relentlessly strives to inspire youth across the world, sharing her story of perseverance and hope. She makes countless efforts to participate in various community projects focusing on protecting the environment and spreading the fundamental values of her native Hawaiian culture. Starting off as a poet, she bloomed into a songwriter when she began playing the ukulele in High School, studying under master instructor Roy Sakuma. Upon the release of her debut Album Lilikoi, Fuga was awarded the Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Most Promising Artist.
Since the release of her latest recording, the EP “Misery’s End,” which featured guest appearances by Ziggy Marley and Jack Johnson, she has headlined the Alma Surf Festival in Sao Paolo, Brazil, performed with Jack at Madison Square Garden and the Sydney Opera House Forecourt. She was featured on the song “Love Will Find a Way” with Nahko Bear and Trevor Hall for the album of her lifelong collaborator and guitarist, the musical genius Mike Love. She was honored to be a part of the 52nd Annual Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, performing alongside the Hawaiian cultural icon, Kaumakaiwa Kanakaole for the winning group Hula Halau O Kamuela. She is among distinguished artists honored to perform for the President, having been invited for the 3rd time to the White House. Currently, Fuga continues to widen her fan base as she embraces different genres of music with her signature entrancing vocals. She hopes her new album, entitled “Rain on Sunday”, will be out before the end of 2016.Back to Concerts