Sunday May 11
ARTISTICALLY SPEAKING, Hawaiian son Makana is more accomplished than most musicians twice his age. At 29, the Oahu native is considered one of the greatest living players of slack key guitar, a style of music indigenous to Hawaii and older than the blues. Like most child prodigies, Makana's desire to cultivate his talent led him to enroll in music school at the tender age of 9. But forget institutions like Berklee and Juilliard—Makana received his training from the one and only Roy Sakuma Ukulele School. At age 11, he took his act public, performing at a school talent show, and let's just say the other little kiddies felt a little less talented after Makana's act. A year later, he was featured on a local TV show, and by 14, Makana had landed a regular gig at the Pier Bar in downtown Honolulu. Now Hawaii's rising star has earned deep respect from mainstream artists, opening for big-name acts like Sting, Santana, Elvis Costello, Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz. Though his music transcends classification by mixing elements of pop-rock, folk, classical and jazz, to name a few, Makana's Hawaiian roots run deep, resulting in a breathtaking fusion of world sound. If you're thinking of making the trip over the 17, be prepared for a dazzling display of guitar mastery, island style— Makana's remarkable showmanship and diverse repertoire (which features everything from slack key standards to a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Going to California") deserves one great big mahalo (thank you).