Hawaiian slack key guitarist Makana coming to the Sea of Glass

Sea of Glass Center for the Arts, 330 E. 7th St.,Tucson, AZ (west of 4th Avenue)
Wednesday, March 16
7:00 pm
Advance Price                                       Day of Show Price
Regular Ticket $20.00                        $25.00
Teen (12 – 17) $17.00                           $22.00
Children (11 and under )$4.00          $4.00
“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.”

Described as “dazzling” by the New York Times, Makana is an
internationally acclaimed guitarist, singer, composer and activist who
is widely known for lending his musical talent for social change. He
has been a TEDx talk presenter, and 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 Wall Street” movement, Makana’s song “We Are The Many”
went viral on YouTube garnering more than half a million collective
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. He
has released 8 records to date and most recently a music video anthem,
“I was inspired to write ‘Fire is Ours’ as a response to mainstream
media’s attempt to distract voters from issues of real importance. The
song encourages people to look beyond personality, party, race and
gender, and to recognize the actual forces that all-too-often shape
who wins the presidency: Big Money and Big Media. The music video is
bookended by a scene in a voter booth- something everyone in America
can relate to. The entire story takes place in the voter’s
imagination- that timeless moment when we look at the ballot and
review our options. What do we see? Large, powerful corporations
literally running for office.”
“Why do I support Bernie? Before anything, he’s a humanitarian. He
lifts people, he humanizes them. He cares. He speaks the truth on
issues that affect us all, unabashedly, regardless of what is
‘politic’. His funding doesn’t come from banks, super PACS or large
corporations looking for government favors- it comes from individuals
and unionized workers. He wants to hold Wall Street accountable. He
wants to level the playing field in a highly rigged economy. And we
need that- America’s wealth is being siphoned out of the middle class
and into the pockets of very few.”
“The video was directed, shot and edited by Zac Heileson. The two of
us found a used piano in the classifieds that some guy was trying to
give away, borrowed Zac’s dad’s truck and spent an hour struggling to
lift the 700 lb. beast into the truck bed. Then we drove out to a camp
site and filmed in icy, snowing conditions. I was freezing until we
lit the piano, then I was cooking! We only had a brief 8 minutes or so
before the smoke and flames completely engulfed the piano so we had to
move fast. Luckily we got what we needed on the first take. I’ll never
forget that day. We didn’t have any crew but somehow we managed to
pull it off.”
Lydia Sherwood, Presto Public Relations, 360 733-2149


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Carolyn Classen
Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for Tucsoncitizen.com for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, www.southernazjapan.org (since Jan. 2013).


  1. Terrific 2 hour concert by slack key guitarist Makana, who sang in Hawaiian and English, and spoke Hawaiian Pidgin too. Enjoyed his wide range of music including the song from the movie “Descendents”, as well as “Pua Sadinia” about his Mom’s favorite flower, “Seabird”, and as a Hana Hou treat, he sang Bernie’s song “Fire is Ours” on piano. What a versatile, talented young Hawaiian performer. I was impressed, and sat with John Putnam, DJ of Saturday’s morning show “Mele of Hawaii” on KXCI community radio (and his girlfriend).

  2. Makana’s a tremendous musician and a fine young man. He performed at the Bernie for President GOTV rally in Phoenix on Sunday afternoon, then at the Aloha Festival at Tempe Beach Park.

    If you can make it to his Tucson performance, you will be impressed.

    • Mahalo for the comment Steve. Hope to get a chance to see this show on Wed. at Sea of Glass in Tucson.

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