Paul Booth talks to Musician, Makana…

Planting seeds of knowledge through Music to sustain a better World. Power of Perception and Language. Facilitate it in a better direction.

PB: How do you feel about being labeled a musician and activist? Do you have a goal when asked to sing at a Rally?

Makana: “I am both a musician and an activist; my feeling is that both expressions serve to activate people to respond to their deepest sentiments. I find that beautiful and inspiring; to do so is my passion. I am often asked to sing at rallies for community efforts (i.e. legislative action, etc), and I truly enjoy applying my art in a fashion that supports and amplifies the voice of the people.”

PB: What do you feel is your musical job with the audience?

Makana:“As a music-maker, my role is to reach deep into my own being, look at myself with penetrating honesty and articulate what I perceive in a song, so that when I share that song, it awakens a fire in other listeners, because I am just like them- I have the same needs, dreams and desires- we are all human. Often, my songs are inspired by a single theme: “everyone’s thinking/ feeling it but no one’s saying it”.

PB: You have helped raise education about GMO’S, why do you feel this is so important?

Makana:“The monopolization of the right to grow food, along side the insertion of viruses and bacteria into the genetic code of the foods we eat, are the biggest issues of our time, in my opinion. It is a grand mythology that any sort of verifiable safety standards have been achieved regarding this technology. Essentially, war chemical companies shifted their focus to agriculture as a way to create new markets for their chemicals, discovered ways to genetically engineer plants to withstand copious amounts of their chemicals, and altered the genetic code of common plants in order to claim patent on what should belong to humanity. Sadly, Hawai’i is the world’s top exporter of genetically engineered seeds- we are virtually a toxic chemical dump site/ laboratory for these multinational biotech firms. And people have the right to know.”

PB: How much do you feel food has to do with our inner consciousness or soul?

Makana:“The old saying “you are what you eat” is no mere metaphor; it is literal fact. Our cells require constant transport of nutrients in and toxins out in order for us to live as we were intended: disease-free. I feel that eating- not sex- is the most intimate act a person can engage. Society imposes strict rules regarding physical intimacy, whilst engendering an environment of cheap and flavor-enhanced “food” as acceptable, when in actuality, the very act of eating is extremely intimate- the food becomes you! If relationships, physical intimacy, our general day-today situation, have any influence on our consciousness- the filters through which we perceive- then certainly food has a major influence on such a thing. How could it not- we are our cells, and the bacteria, and both of those are directly affected by the food we consume.”

PB: You will be speaking at UC Santa Cruz during this tour? What is the topic and where else have you spoken?

Makana:“At UCSC I’ll speak on art and activism and the relationship tween the two. I have spoken at most of the university campuses in Hawai’i, and on numerous TV and radio programs worldwide. I blog often at”

PB: What cities are you looking forward to on the tour? You get to play Seattle, LA and San Francisco, then nice smaller communities like Napa and Nevada City, Ca.?

Makana:“I’m really excited about Napa~ I have not yet been there! And in Nevada City I have some dear friends I always love seeing. I like the small towns~ there, and my favorite small town on the west coast~ Cayucos, which is in San Luis Obispo. The one venue I’m most excited about is Benaroya Hall in Seattle~ it is an honor to be playing at such an acoustically-pristine theatre.”

PB: Do you have a personal mission in helping others discover moments only they can discover? Like finding the beauty they have to share.

Makana: “I think the beginning of self-discovery (and when I say “self” it can also be translated to include all that one perceives) is the transcendence of fear. To look within, free of any imposition or projection, just to see- just look- and discover. If one can let go of the fear that one might see something unacceptable- something one doesn’t want to see- than one can actually see clearly. And if one sees clearly, and I mean without imposing any preference or judgment- than one can perceive a beauty that is inherent within one’s self, essentially inherent within all Beings.”


PB: You are rooted in slack key, do you love pushing other boundaries of Music too?

Makana: “I love pushing boundaries! Yes! My music is like a banyan tree~ because I water my roots, I love them, I honor them- the Hawaiian slack key guitar masters, the blues legends, the folk troubadours- I am able to reach into other realms effortlessly, it comes very naturally to me. It is a joy to treat music as a language rather than some sort of genre-bound expression. We are complex creatures; why should we exude only one emotion? One sound?”

PB: Why the title RIPE?

Makana:“Back in the day my good friend John Cruz (popular musician from Hawai’i) used to say “eh boy you good but you only half ripe- da mango still not ready yet for pick”.. it was a joke, meaning you have maturing to do.. my music is maturing now in a very organic way. This album plays like a mix tape of multiple artists, but it’s only one- I LOVE diversity. The sounds and songs featured on RIPE are of a different caliber from my previous work. Of course, working with legends like Ron Nevison, Mitchell Froom and Jeff Bova brought immense talent to the project, and it was an incredible blessing for me to work with them.”

PB: I’ve heard a good pre-buzz about the song Manic, when did you write it?

Makana:“I wrote Manic on NYE 2012. I’d decided to stay at home and meditate quietly, but around 1am I started to feel restless, and I started receiving a ton of texts etc from friends who were raging (partying) and I was like, “why the hell did I stay home and waste NYE again??” So I got depressed suddenly. And then this song came… “sittin’ all alone on a Saturday night at home…” and it told the story of going from being totally fine to feeling totally depressed, all in a moment and really for no reason at all. The song, in a light-hearted way addresses the highs and lows of everyday life, and I think that’s something we all experience.”

PB: How would you describe your place in music?

Makana: “My music is like Willy Wonka chewing gum. Like an ice cold Nectarine on a hot summer day. Like teleporting from a NYC subway to the beach at Pipeline. It’s just what the naturopathic doctor ordered LOL.”

Interview by Paul Booth

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