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Performance turns into pro-Occupy statement

By Mary Vorsino


<br /><br />A screen shot of a video taken Saturday at the APEC dinner at the Hale Koa Hotel shows Makana in his "Occupy with Aloha" shirt.<br />

Guitarist and singer Makana used his performance at an APEC dinner Saturday night with President Barack Obama and other world leaders as a chance to broadcast his support for the pro-Occupy Wall Street movement.

Makana, 33, wore a T-shirt that read "Occupy with Aloha" under a black blazer as he sang his newest song, "We Are the Many," billed as an anthem of sorts for Occupy protesters.

Makana's song begins, "Ye come here gather 'round the stage; the time has come for us to voice our rage."

Makana said he sang "We Are the Many" for about 45 minutes during his 21⁄2-hour performance at the leaders' dinner, changing its pacing because he "had to be subtle about it."

He segued into the piece by first performing "Kaulana na Pua," a Hawaiian protest song, then moving to Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" and Sting's "Fragile."

"I didn't want to get shut down," said Makana, who was asked to play background music at the dinner.

Though he said some attendees at the dinner appeared to catch the message behind "We Are the Many," no one stopped him. He said the president and other leaders did not appear to notice.

Makana estimates he sang "We Are the Many" as many as 50 times.

"My intention wasn't to disrupt them or be rude," Makana said. "The primary message was in the lyrics of the song, that they are not representing the people they purport to represent. My message to them was that they are occupying Hawaii right now, and they need to do it with aloha and not just say it. I followed my heart. I wrote a song that I feel strongly about."

The dinner, held at the Hale Koa Hotel's luau garden, was hosted by the president and the first lady and included the leaders and representatives of 20 other Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation nations.

Despite tight security, and a warning from the U.S. Secret Service that mobile devices being used to capture video would be confiscated, Makana's guitar technician was able to use his cellphone to record video of the performance.

Portions of that video, along with a message from Makana, were posted online Sunday and were quickly circulated.

By midday the story had appeared on cable television's CNN International and Huffingtonpost.com, and hundreds of people had watched the video and left comments — most of them supportive — on Makana's Facebook page.

Makana said he was initially afraid about singing the piece and wasn't certain he should go through with it. But once he started singing, he realized that the dinner's attendees weren't paying much attention to the lyrics.

"They don't really know what happened, and that's the beauty of it," he said.

To pull off the stunt, Makana partnered with Yes Lab, which works to help activist organizations get their message in the media, and Occupy the Boardroom, according to a news release.

"Makana really raised the bar by delivering the Occupy message inside what is probably the most secure place on the planet," Mike Bonanno of Yes Lab, said in a news release.

Makana had performed for the president before. In 2009 he was invited to the White House to perform at a holiday reception.

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tim5fl wrote:
I agree with kennie1933, just pure BAD manners,a reflection of his upbringing.
on November 14,2011 | 07:34AM
innocentBystander wrote:
He is a brave and good man...
on November 14,2011 | 07:42AM
Pacej001 wrote:
Could have titled his song: "Whada We want? We Don't know! When Do We Want It? NOW!"
on November 14,2011 | 07:42AM
waikiicapt wrote:
"THIS GUY" playing at this venue???? Are you kidding me? That's the best entertainment they could dredge up in all of Hawaii?? Who planned this!?
on November 14,2011 | 07:45AM
Hookup wrote:
"Makana had performed for the president before. In 2009 he was invited to the White House to perform at a holiday reception." I'm guessing he won't be invited any time soon.
on November 14,2011 | 08:24AM
akuman808 wrote:
Respect is something this individual has no clue about. Respect for the President, first lady and their guest was of no importance to this self serving protestor disguised as a performing musician. If he got paid he should return the money or donate to the 99%!
on November 14,2011 | 08:28AM
copperwire9 wrote:
His actions were not taken lightly. They were done thoughtfully and appropriately. He presented his message respectfully. . . . .He acted as our nation's underpinnings require, by taking responsibility as a citizen and not just taking privilege. . . . .He sang truth to power, and I am grateful that he did.
on November 14,2011 | 08:56AM
Graham wrote:
Classless, rude and idiotic.
on November 14,2011 | 09:28AM
Rickyboy wrote:
He was asked to perform because of his "talent" at this reception. If he has reservations about APEC or whatever he could have boycotted or leave the stage instead !
on November 14,2011 | 09:31AM
jusmetwocents wrote:
The folks who are getting the free stuff, don't like the folks who are paying for the free stuff, because the folks who are paying for the free stuff can no longer afford to pay for both the free stuff and their own stuff. The folks who are paying for the free stuff want the free stuff to stop, and the folks who are getting the free stuff want even more free stuff on top of the free stuff they are already getting! Now... The people who are forcing the people who pay for the free stuff have told the people who are RECEIVING the free stuff, that the people who are PAYING for the free stuff, are being mean, prejudiced, and racist. So... The people who are GETTING the free stuff have been convinced they need to hate the people who are paying for the free stuff by the people who are forcing some people to pay for their free stuff, and giving them the free stuff in the first place. We have let the free stuff giving go on for so long that there are now more people getting free stuff than paying for the free stuff. Now understand this. All great democracies have committed financial suicide somewhere between 200 and 250 years after being founded. The reason? The voters figured out they could vote themselves money from the treasury by electing people who promised to give them money from the treasury in exchange for electing them. The United States officially became a Republic in 1776, 235 years ago. The number of people now getting free stuff outnumbers the people paying for the free stuff. We have one chance to change that. In 2012. Failure to change that spells the end of the United States as we know it. ELECTION 2012 IS COMING A Nation of Sheep Breeds a Government of Wolves! I'M 100% for PASSING THIS ON!!! Let’s take a stand!!!
on November 14,2011 | 09:48AM
can wrote:
Rude?! Not so fast. Remember that the current occupier of the White House supports the occupy movement. The entertainment act would have been hauled out pdq if that were not the case. Truth is, our intelligent leader and the other smart English as a First Language staff undoubtedly picked up on the lyrics on the 5th or 6th go. I think the President might have had a chuckle at the not so subtle stunt. I know. Incredible. :-(
on November 14,2011 | 12:41PM
Peacenik wrote:
Shows he can't be trusted. Who manufactured his guitar, who signed him up to produce records, who produced computers so he could market himself, who manufactured the car he drives, who grows, package and market the food he eats. He don't like corp., boycott them, don't buy their products. Simple.
on November 14,2011 | 03:39PM
false wrote:
Makana doesn't do stunts or tricks... he tells the truth... and he is probably the best and most gifted slack-key musician and singer in Hawaii... and he just risked his career to deliver a message to the President and the other leaders that they really really neeeeed to get. Mahalo Makana!
on November 14,2011 | 08:53PM
Anonymous wrote:
I don't get the 99% thing. I'm definitely not in the 1% but I don't share the views of the people who are claiming to represent the 99%. What gives them the right to claim that they represent me? Plus, if the 99% was truly such a unified block, wouldn't it be more effective to just vote out the politicians who share your views and elect leaders who do share your views?
on November 14,2011 | 10:06PM
Anonymous wrote:
...vote out the politicians who DON"T share your views....
on November 14,2011 | 10:07PM
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