Makana gets national attention for pro-Sanders ballad

Published: Feb. 12, 2016 at 3:08 AM HST|Updated: Feb. 12, 2016 at 10:31 AM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
Makana (Image source: YouTube)
Makana (Image source: YouTube)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Local musician Makana released a new music video on Wednesday. But you're more likely to see it on CNN before it plays on MTV.

It's a video supporting Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and it's going viral.

"Right now, within 24 hours, we've had 25,000 views," Makana said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles.

The video, dubbed the "Fire is Ours," comes as Sanders is surging in national polls.

"I've been involved in politics and have been an activist for a long time," Makana said. "Bernie's message ... is what I've been singing about for years. It makes sense for me to put my art behind him."

While the video urges viewers to vote for the liberal Democrat, Makana said his work is not connected to the Sanders campaign.

"It's totally unofficial, man. I'm just an artist. I spent $11,000 of my own money in a month and I went and made this because I became inspired," he said.

The video, which is reminiscent of Billy Joel's 1989 hit "We Didn't Start the Fire," is also meant to encourage people to register to vote.

"I hope it gets people to get out to vote, to care, to exercise their democratic right," he said.

The award-winning singer and slack key guitarist said that voters feel disconnected with candidates like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, who many believe are too cozy with Wall Street and the big banks.

The song's opening lyrics are a nod to this cynicism:

"I've been lied to, misled, built up by with what they said, lifted only to be let down," the song begins.

The lyrics also include this gem -- "feel the burn" -- an homage to Sanders' popularized hashtag, #FeeltheBern.

Political experts said both the video and Sanders message strikes a chord with young voters.

"A lot of these voters grew up during the recession. So Sander's message really resonates with them and I think this video is exactly the type of advertising he's looking for," said Colin Moore, Hawaii News Now political analyst and a political science professor at the University of Hawaii.

Makana is no stranger to political protest.

Back in 2011 during a performance a dinner attended by President Barack Obama in Honolulu, he wore a t-shirt that read "Occupy With Aloha." He also performed the pro-Occupy Movement tune "We are the Many."

"When I do something like this, it's a big risk for me. I make new friends, I lose some friends, people get very emotional. But I'm an artist but my job is not just to use art to validate people but it's there to challenge them and make them think outside what they usually do," he said.

Copyright 2016 Hawaii News Now.  All rights reserved.