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Makana serenades APEC leaders with pro-Occupy protest song

By Mary Vorsino

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 07:01 a.m. HST, Nov 14, 2011


Slack-key celebrity Makana used his performance at an APEC dinner last night at the Hale Koa Hotel as an opportunity to get his pro-Occupy Wall Street movement views out to President Barack Obama and other world leaders.

Makana wore an "Occupy with Aloha" t-shirt under his black blazer and sang his newest song, "We are the Many," an anthem of sorts for Occupy protestors.

The lyrics include, "Ye come here gather 'round the stage; The time has come for us to voice our rage."

Makana said he sang the song for about 45 minutes during his 2 1/2-hour-performance at the official dinner, changing its pacing because "he had to be subtle about it."

"I didn't want to get shut down," said the 33-year-old, adding that though some people at the dinner appeared to catch on, no one stopped him. He said the president did not appear to notice.

This morning, Makana said he was initially afraid about singing the piece, but decided to do it anyway because he believes APEC's leaders are not representing common people.

"It was my message that they are occupying Hawaii right now and they need to do it with aloha and not just say it," he said. "I don't personally feel they've done that. They are not representing the people they purport to represent."

He added that he wanted to send his message without being disrespectful or rude. 

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

Makana posted a video on Youtube.com this morning explaining his decision to perform the song. The post includes shaky video of Makana singing at the APEC dinner at Hale Koa.

The video had more than 300 views by mid-morning. And more than 45 people had left comments on Makana's Facebook page, most applauding his decision to sing the song.

 






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Performance turns into pro-Occupy statement




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Leewardboy wrote:
Makana - Thank you!! Beautiful use of culture as a means to get an important message out. "It was my message that they are occupying Hawaii right now and they need to do it with aloha and not just say it," he said. "I don't personally feel they've done that. They are not representing the people they purport to represent."
on November 13,2011 | 11:38AM
Squidy wrote:
This guy is just a self-promoter who used the sacrifices of the real people involved with the Occupy Movement on the streets to advance his own commercial interests. The media in Hawaii are a joke to play into his transparent PR scheme.
on November 13,2011 | 06:04PM
Eradication wrote:
What use of culture? Kiho`alu? Did he express the culture using Olelo Hawai`i? Was his attire culturally appropriate? Makana is a wonderful musician and a very nice young man but I do not think he did anything culturally appropriate.
on November 13,2011 | 09:37PM
st1d wrote:
300 hits . . . yawn . . . must have been the 300 apec protesters . . . yawn . . . even the old couple trying to figure out how to use their computer's camera had more than 8,800,000 views . . . and they showed more integrity in their clip than this fraud. . .
on November 13,2011 | 11:37PM
Shawn211 wrote:
What a "JERK" !!!! Typical "wanna be "HAWAIIAN". Change back your name don't represent rest of us true "HAWAIIANS". You we're given a once in a life time chance and you used it for your "OWN" benefit!!!!!
on November 13,2011 | 11:50AM
kapoleitalkstory wrote:
How does supporting others equate to his " own benefit"? You are not part of the 1 percent but yet you fight for them and that is sad!
on November 13,2011 | 12:02PM
kapoleitalkstory wrote:
You are my hero!
on November 13,2011 | 12:04PM
Shawn211 wrote:
Hero?????? He just blew-it for all the local musicians here in Hawaii. You think anyone is going to ask any local muscian anymore to perform for heads of states????? If he was strongly against APEC why did he elect to perform.........PERSONAL GAIN !!! Which he got. for one thing obviously he was that good to begin with if the audiences wasn't listening, 2nd he muddled the words to his song?????? Hero??????.......I don't think so!!!!!!
on November 13,2011 | 03:51PM
kainalu wrote:
Way to go, Makana! If only everybody had the fortitude! Mahalo!
on November 13,2011 | 12:05PM
Hahaione2000 wrote:
i dont see how the attendees would not have caught on with that message on the shirt
on November 13,2011 | 12:06PM
keys4me wrote:
your clueless as to how commerce works. Have you ever owned your own business with employees? If you think all should be shared, lets see you pull out your wallet and give some money to the homeless. and I dont mean a few dollars. like how about 30% of your income. They dont have half the luxuries you enjoy, now fork it over.
on November 13,2011 | 12:26PM
M75 wrote:
Way to go Makana!!! that was truly genius of what you did at the APEC luau last night use your music and fashion to express your beliefs and do it in a classy fashion what do you expect? This is the USA that is freedom of speech right? You knew you had an opertunity to perform infront of 19 world leaders to not be afraid and express your beliefs in song that is genius, genius, genius, THANKS MAKANA!!!!!. And best use of beautiful Hawaiian music and expression.
on November 13,2011 | 12:28PM
Eradication wrote:
E kala mai, what Hawaiian music? He could have sung Kaulana na pua and gotten the same message across.
on November 13,2011 | 11:59PM
bobjones wrote:
Yeah, but if you mumble a song in a crowded, noisy room and no one even notices, what's the point?
on November 13,2011 | 12:29PM
Kawipoo wrote:
Makana who? Like anybody will remember a nobody.
on November 13,2011 | 12:45PM
AniMatsuri wrote:
I think most musicians know that people barely pay attention to dinner music and this pretty much proves it.
on November 13,2011 | 01:04PM
nitestalker3 wrote:
now, if this was a song about religion or conservatism, everybody would be pi$$ed. but since it's a song that refers to people who have had deaths, rapes and murders in their ranks, as reported by almost all the news media, to include this paper, it's considered ok. also, what a way to greet people that you're trying to influence, accusing them of occupying this place. rather embarassing since they were invited by the president. given a chance to provide music that would enhance aloha or even the hawaiian sovereignty movement (which i don't agree with), he blew it. how does he know who these leaders represent. has he been to all these 21 countries. the pm of thailand didn't come due to the flood ravages in her country and the hurt of her people...that's not looking out for the little guy? the president of mexico didn't come to provide stability to his country on the death of his #2 in a helicopter crash...that's not looking out for the little guy? this guy is 33 years old and doesn't even know how to respectfully act on the world stage. for shame, for shame...bradda, you blew it.
on November 13,2011 | 01:27PM
maafifloos wrote:
Typical "no class" act.
on November 13,2011 | 01:44PM
stanmanley wrote:
C'mon Makana, if you don't support APEC just say "I don't support it and proudly wear that t-shirt in front of the President and his delegates and get your message across." If that is truly you intention, do it! Don't say "I didn't want to get shut down." or I don't want to be disrespectful. The fact you hoped no one noticed is downright disrespectful and frankly, you're a hypocrite.
on November 13,2011 | 01:54PM
cojef wrote:
Guess the comment so far are not in favor for Makana's performance. Whomever hired him for this gig should not pay him as he was disrespectful to the President, and dishonest by sneaking his personal agenda, for which he was not paid to do. That is a very mean thing to do to our President. I am not Democrat, but he is our President, and although you may disagree with his politics, he entitled to the respect of the position he holds. No class act, just like some ----- words cannot express my disdain for this nothing, who claims to be a human being, 1st Amendment nothwithstanding. pau
on November 13,2011 | 02:24PM
TeamVision wrote:
They say we have freedom of speech, but that is not entirely true. Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time can get you into really big trouble.
on November 13,2011 | 03:00PM
Anonymous wrote:
From the song, "Ye come here gather 'round the stage; The time has come for us to voice our rage." I imagine some people thought he sang "the time has come to voice our AGE," which is his case isn't 33 but rather about 11, at least maturity-wise.
on November 13,2011 | 03:05PM
Pookie_Baby wrote:
Sounds like this was Makana's last "big" gig. I would have to say the person responsible for hiring him is done too.
on November 13,2011 | 03:07PM
admiral wrote:
It's wonderfully inspiring that Makana is idealistic and patriotic enough to sing this song and believe that in America speech truly is free. What is sad and demoralizing is to read the comments of people in this forum who would deny Makana his right to free expression--especially since, unless they are corporate multimillionaires, they and their children are going to be badly hurt by the deals that are being cooked up at APEC. Read the powerful story by Lori Wallach in Saturday's Star-Advertiser to get some inkling of deals already in the works from NAFTA and APEC that are undermining local zoning laws, bans on toxic materials, consumer protections, and much more...all to benefit no one except those who profit from corporate greed and exploitation.
on November 13,2011 | 03:51PM
kainalu wrote:
Very well put, Admiral. Either they get it, or they don't.
on November 13,2011 | 03:54PM
Shawn211 wrote:
Yeah and you probably buy your goods from major retailers who in turn but their goods from these countries, so really you do support the intiatives off APEC. So you're really benefitting and supporting "corporate greed".
on November 13,2011 | 03:56PM
stanmanley wrote:
To some, what Makana did is inspiring and to others it's the opposite. While I understand Free Speech enables Americans to voice one's opinion, I find it disrespectful to do it at the expense of the world leaders. It's like going to a wedding and finding out the bride is an hated ex-girlfriend and saying something awful to her. Free speech allows one to voice but It's disrespectful to the groom, bride and all in attendance. As a second generation American, I live the life that many envy. The freedom to make choices within the laws is something I don't take this for granted and is worth fighting for. My great grandfather had his land taken away from Communist China and no law was there to protect him. Voicing your opinion in China, if exercised, will endanger you and your family.
on November 13,2011 | 05:02PM
stanmanley wrote:
To some, what Makana did is inspiring and to others it's the opposite. While I understand Free Speech enables Americans to voice one's opinion, I find it disrespectful to do it at the expense of the world leaders. It's like going to a wedding and finding out the bride is an hated ex-girlfriend and saying something awful to her. Free speech allows one to voice but It's disrespectful to the groom, bride and all in attendance. As a second generation American, I live the life that many envy. The freedom to make choices within the laws is something I don't take this for granted and is worth fighting for. My great grandfather had his land taken away from Communist China and no law was there to protect him. Voicing your opinion in China, if exercised, will endanger you and your family.
on November 13,2011 | 05:02PM
quint34 wrote:
Love is everything all else is propaganda. From his website!!!
on November 13,2011 | 03:59PM
Loki wrote:
Hypocrite!
on November 13,2011 | 04:59PM
kalaoa wrote:
Does Makana think he is the "common people". Give me a break. An entertainer not part of the business establishment? LOL!!
on November 13,2011 | 05:05PM
Squidy wrote:
What a pathetic self promoter. If he really wanted to make a statement in support of the Occupy Movement he would have made a scene and gotten himself thrown out. As the video shows, no one was paying any attention. Purely a publicity stunt and the SA fell for it.
on November 13,2011 | 05:08PM
copperwire9 wrote:
Great job!
on November 13,2011 | 05:21PM
Bdpapa wrote:
What a aʻ hole! He takes the money then insults his audience!
on November 13,2011 | 07:05PM
Sat wrote:
I would never buy or listen to any of his albums. He violated a basic trust given him by an invitation to entertain Hawaii's guests by his uncalled for act of protest. If he wanted to protest the APEC, it is his right. But to do what he did is the highest insult he can hand to those who invited him with Aloha. I would never be able to trust him for what the most immature and childish act I have seen in a long time. His parents should be embarrassed for what his did. Shame on him.
on November 13,2011 | 07:43PM
Udaone wrote:
Yo Makana. You such a beautiful friend that I would never want. Mrs. Obama befriended you to help in your career and that is the way you treat her. I don't think you'll find too many jobs from now as I don't think the person hiring you would want you to spoil their special occasion because you didn't like someone at the party. If you felt the way you did, you should have approached her in a professional manner, which I guess is not in your blood, to discuss it before bringing it out in public. Karma is the word.
on November 13,2011 | 07:54PM
4r3A1 wrote:
Artistically, Makana was pretty good. He will, nonetheless, NEVER perform at any of my parties, nor will I or many of my friends buy anything he tries to sell for this idiotic stunt.
on November 13,2011 | 08:11PM
Eradication wrote:
Makana is a very talented, versatile young musician. One of his early mentors was the great Sonny Chillingsworth. His cultural and musical foundation are well-established. I hope that he consulted with his kupuna before carrying out this performance. Personally, I believe that he should have asked permission from his host to sing his song. That would have been the "pono" way of doing things. If the program organizer said, "no", then the "pono" thing to do would be to respect the wishes of his host. Too many Hawaiians are becoming indistinguishable in their actions from the people who are not maoli and do not understand what 'pono" means. "Sneeking in" his song and his t-shirt hidden under his coat tells me that his conviction to the "cause" did not include the courage to be honest and up front. That is what being "pono" is all about. I believe that he has done more damage for Hawaiian musicians than good. He certainly will not be invited to another gig like this and neither will other young and upcoming musicians, I fear. Maybe the title of his next song should be "Pono `ole".
on November 13,2011 | 09:33PM
OldFut808 wrote:
Sorry but that was an absolute opportunistic thing to do. Why would you perform at a function with people you don't agree with? Why didn't you just give this fantastic opportunity to another local talent who would've been happy to perform with an open heart? Was it to make yourself the 'darling' of the occupy movement? You've just shown everyone what little integrity and character you have. Hope no one hires you after this stunt, because you can't be trusted. Shame on you! Be a part of the solution, not the problem!
on November 13,2011 | 09:36PM
star08 wrote:
We are the many not the few. It's sad to hear that when a courageous musician sings words of truth and power to the 1%, so-called freedom loving citizens criticize that music and those actions. OTOH, joy is ringing in the hearts of thousands and millions inspired to conscious evolution. "Here are the facts: He wasn't paid, he didn't commit to play any specific material, he didn't violate any contract, he didn't disrupt the proceedings and they actually asked him to play a little longer. But he did put his message out there for the world leaders to feel and hear."
on November 13,2011 | 10:15PM
Eradication wrote:
Here are some other facts: he video-taped the performance, meaning that he planned to post it on the internet to promote his actions. He sang a song he wrote and recorded when he could have sung kaulana na pua, a song of protest from long ago. This would have avoided the impression of self promotion. While he may not have specific material to play I think the program organizer trusted that he would play music that would appropriate for a dinner. He will no doubt get national attention as it is already posted on Yahoo. This should help with CD sales...
on November 14,2011 | 12:11AM
Tarakian wrote:
Makana...you lost my respect. What would you do if you invited a musician to play at your daughter's birthday party and rather they sing Happy Birthday, they sing a protest song about children starving in Africa! Think about it!
on November 13,2011 | 10:37PM
Dianekkdi wrote:
Bravo! We loved it. We thought Makana sounded like a young Arlo Guthrie. Our friend Dean thought you sounded like Bob Dylan with a voice. A voice!! Beautiful. Welcome! Great job. Great song. --A whole bunch of us from stateside NJ--
on November 14,2011 | 11:34AM
High_Society wrote:
What a dork!
on November 14,2011 | 06:11PM
foliefolie wrote:
DISRESPECTFUL! If he was against APEC, when they asked him to perform, he should have turned the gig down.
on November 14,2011 | 10:28PM
51butterflies wrote:
Imua, Makana. You exercised free speech, was courageous, not pretentious.
on November 14,2011 | 10:47PM
Anonymous wrote:
Makana's words in the song were not violent. They were a listing of past and present events, happenings. The messages are those of many citizens, nationwide and worldwide. They were a narrative, put into song. Better in song than violence on the streets. As far as leaders not paying attention to the messages in the song, just goes to further prove the lack of focus/ the turning of deaf ears, of these leaders on the cries of the citizens whom these leaders are supposedly representing. As I read and hear the name-calling and accusations made of Makana, in comments, I am reminded that these are true of many of the powerful people and their corporate creations to serve the benefit of themselves, not the majority. Think about it. Makana had the courage to stand-up and express himself, as one person( not with a group). All this talk over his protocol will get the message out. I commend you Makana. Personally, I feel you acted professionally. p.s. Makana I recall you coming to our school, years ago, when you were just beginning your musical profession and speaking thru song to our children about caring for all living creatures, e malama ika aina, e malama ike kai , and following one's dreams.
on November 14,2011 | 11:44PM
nowayjose wrote:
There’s a time and place for everything. Makana’s protest music (if you can call it music) belonged on the sidewalk with all the protestors. Plain and simple – you get invited to a high-class event and get paid, you better perform at that level. And what was that nonsense his was mumbling? “Ye come here…etc, etc.” He wasn’t even singing Hawaiian music. If you’re not gonna sing Hawaiian music get of the stage! Too bad for him, he won’t be singing for the President of the United States any more. Instead he’ll be singing on the sidewalk - where he belongs. That was a no-class act!
on November 16,2011 | 02:00PM
stinky wrote:
This is why, after 20 years in the public eye as a local musician, performing at Farmers Markets and releasing numerous Cd releases, his peers have not awarded him ONE Na Hoku Hanohano Award. Speaking from personal experience, he is an arrogant, double-minded person who's deep pathos for attention is only overshadowed by the fact that the music he calls "original" is derivative, not celebratory. APEC dinner musician? No class, no brains, and worse, no respect for the first President from Hawaii, here in his home State, 5 miles from where he grew up, having to play host to the leaders world. One friend said : "No worries, Obama and everyone else in the room was talking at the top of their voice and not listening to the bad background dinner music."
on November 17,2011 | 01:47AM
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