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Hawaiian Slack Key Guitarist Makana/NuclearWakeUpCall.Earth
by Lydia Sherwood (presto.ls [at] gmail.com)
Friday Jan 25th, 2019 10:44 AM
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.
Recently he toured Russia and recorded "Mourning Armageddon" in a newly decommissioned nuclear bunker in Moscow. He is performing at Yoshi's on February 21.
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.

A highlight of 2018 includes his first tour to Russia, where he served as a cultural ambassador for Hawai’i, and performed in venues ranging from world-renowned jazz clubs to schools and universities to forums with many of the mayors and governors of Russia in attendance.
While there, Makana filmed the music video “Mourning Armageddon” (https://vimeo.com/310276887) in a recently decommissioned nuclear bunker in Moscow as part of his volunteer work to raise awareness about the present, unchecked nuclear arms race between the US & the Russian Federation.

https://www.nuclearwakeupcall.earth

As one of over a million people in Hawaii who were told in January, 2018 that they were about to be hit by a nuclear missile, renowned Hawai’i artist Makana said,

“Waking to an alert of a nuclear attack in Hawai’i got me thinking. Why is this even a possibility?”

When Makana found out that the US and Russia possess over 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons, he was inspired to travel to Russia:


“I wanted to experience this other country, people and land first hand. This journey led to the creation of relationships and then art to share with the public on both sides of the ocean. My intention is to inspire and remind us all to humanize one another, to dignify and be curious about each other. The conversations that do get broadcast are political conversations, of threat, of geopolitics. But those conversations have virtually nothing to do with the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people in our two nations. We need to create direct relationships. It’s the only way that we – nationally and individually – will ever achieve security and peace.”


Makana performed benefit concerts for audiences in Moscow and St. Petersburg organized by Bruce Allyn and Cynthia Lazaroff, who, after also experiencing the gut-punch of the Hawaii Missile Scare, founded NuclearWakeUpCall.Earth to awaken people to today’s unprecedented nuclear danger.


Russian friends told tour organizers about Bunker 703, a recently declassified, once top-secret and now deserted nuclear bomb shelter deep underground in Moscow, formerly a repository for the Soviet Foreign Ministry’s archives, disguised as a chocolate factory during the Cold War.


Led by a Russian soldier, Makana was the first American ever to descend into Bunker 703. Makana was inspired to improvise a song on the spot. What we witness in the video is the process of lyrics and music being created and sung for the very first time.

“Standing in the tomb-like space, my soul began to cry in the form of song,” says Makana.

The moment was captured on film with a hand-held camera and microphone.

In one take, Makana created the haunting ballad, Mourning Armageddon, both a song of mourning and a call to action.


Mourning Armageddon was all shot on location in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Images inside the bunker are otherworldly, indelible. The surreal acoustics reverberate inside a chamber, hermetically sealed and deep enough to withstand a nuclear blast--evoking the sound of a kind of nuclear chamber music, a post-apocalyptic “wake for the world.”

NuclearWakeUpCall.Earth was founded as a nonprofit, nonpartisan initiative to catalyze efforts in US-Russian relations to reduce the escalating nuclear danger and move towards a world without nuclear weapons.


About NuclearWakeUpCall.Earth Founders:



Bruce Allyn https://www.pon.harvard.edu/faculty/bruce-allyn/

Cynthia Lazaroff https://www.cynthialazaroff.com/about-us




Makana 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.

In 2016, he wrote “Fire Is Ours” specifically with Bernie Sanders’ run for the White House in mind. Makana is quick to point out that there is also a larger significance embedded within, that the song could be applied easily to any agent of change whose concern is the greater good. “Fire Is Ours” speaks to freedom of speech, artistic expression and who we are and want to become as a people."

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