Makana is a composer, singer, slack key guitar master and pioneer of the “slack-rock” guitar style. Born and raised on the island of O'ahu, Makana began singing at the age of seven and at nine, took up the 'ukulele. At 11, he began his journey into slack key guitar — by the age of 14, he had already turned professional, playing gigs four nights a week throughout Honolulu.
His debut album Makana was released in 1999 and won the Best World Music Album Award at the Hawaii Music Awards. It was followed by Koi Au in 2002, which The Star Bulletin called, “a landmark musical statement,” and then by Ki Ho’alu: Journey of Hawaiian Slack Key in 2003.
Makana contributed to the Grammy-nominated albums Hawaiian Slack Key Kings I & II. In 2008, his first all-original release, Different Game, came out, and in 2009 he released a 20th anniversary slack key guitar instrumental compilation, Venus, and the Sky Turns to Clay.
In 2012, Makana was recognized for his work in slack key guitar with a 2012 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award (Hawai‘i’s version of a Grammy Award) and the Kī-Hō‘alu (Slack Key) Foundation Legacy Award, a tremendous honor for one so young.
The National Geographic Society recorded Makana in concert for their “Geo Sessions” series and stated, “With five albums to his credit, he has taken this centuries-old tradition and blasted it into the 21st century.”