PODCAST: Makana evolves slack-key guitar style with a powerful instrument ... his voice

Hawaiian artist Makana recently put out new music based on slack-key guitar stylings, but he...
Hawaiian artist Makana recently put out new music based on slack-key guitar stylings, but he continues to evolve his sound.(Lexi Mackenzie | Makana)
Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 11:36 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaiian artist Makana recently put out new music based on slack-key guitar stylings, but he continues to evolve his sound.

Makana’s latest album “Pulama: Legacies of Hawaii” is inspired by his heroes from the Hawaiian music renaissance, including George Helm, Gabby “Pops” Pahinui and Dennis Kamakahi. But the new music is also deeply personal.

“It’s also honoring the legacy of my parents who both passed away during the pandemic,” Makana said. “So this is a profound expression of love.”

The whole album was created in one session with no edits or overdubs.

“This record is totally honest — it’s just the kika and the ukulele and my voice, nothing else, no edits, nothing else. So it’s just totally from the heart,” he said.

During the pandemic, Makana continued to create music, but he also wanted to expand his sound with his voice. So he took lessons from Broadway star Kristian Lei.

Makana said there was a point when he realized he was hiding behind his guitar, but there was something powerful about being able to share music with his own voice.

“You know, we look at artists as these icons, you know, and they just pump out music, but artists are, are art,” he said. “I think our real job is to be as human as possible.”

He calls this album a new chapter.

In the latest episode of Hawaii News Now’s podcast Island Beat, Billy V chats with Makana all about this album — as well as who brought him to Bobby Moderow Jr. to learn slack key, when music started for him and who his other teachers are.

Makana will be performing at the Waikiki Aquarium on Thursday. Click here for details.

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