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Makana, born Matthew Swalinkavich, is an award-winning slack-key guitar player, singer, and composer. Born and raised in Hawai'i, his guitar playing has been featured on three Grammy-nominated albums, including the soundtrack of the Academy-Award winning film "The Descendants", starring George Clooney. In 2008, he was second runner up in Guitar Player Magazine's Guitar Superstar competition eliciting praise from judges Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Elliot Easton. In 2012, he was awarded one of Hawaii's top musical honors: a Na Hoku Ki Ho'alu (Slack Key) Legacy Award (Hawai‘i’s “Grammy”) by the Hawai'i Academy of Recording Arts.On November 12, 2011, Makana, who had performed previously at the White House, turned a gig performing at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation dinner in Honolulu, attended by President Barack Obama and the leaders of 18 other nations, into a political protest by opening his suit jacket to reveal a t-shirt reading "Occupy With Aloha" and singing his song, "We Are the Many," for 45 minutes, in support of the Occupy movement. Rolling Stone Magazine went on to call "We Are the Many" the "anthem of the Occupy movement."Makana began singing when he was seven years old, took up 'ukulele at nine and began learning the indigenous art of slack key guitar at eleven. A protégé of slack key guitar legends, including Bobby Moderow Jr. and the late master Uncle Sonny Chillingworth, Makana has dedicated his life to perpetuating as well as evolving the traditional Hawaiian art form of slack key guitar. From this tradition, Makana has evolved his own dynamic, high-octane style, coined "Slack Rock": slack key infused with elements of bluegrass, rock, blues and raga. Makana's playing has garnered praise from such guitar luminaries as Kirk Hammett (Metallica) and Pepe Romero (Spanish Flamenco Master).His debut album “Makana” was released in 1999; it won the Best World Music Album Award at the Hawai’i Music Awards. It was followed by “Koi Au” in 2002 (“A landmark musical statement” – Star Bulletin) and “Ki Ho’alu: Journey of Hawaiian Slack Key” in 2003. Soon thereafter 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”.His latest album Ripe was released in 2013 and funded by fans through the online crowd sourcing platform Kickstarter. It was produced by multi-platinum producer Ron Nevison (The Who, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones) and renowned producer Mitchell Froom (Crowded House, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt), with arrangements by Grammy-award winning keyboardist, composer, and arranger Jeff Bova (Celine Dion, Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton).Makana has toured with or opened for acts such as Jason Mraz, Santana, Elvis Costello, Paul Rodgers, Sting, No Doubt, Jack Johnson, Chris Isaak, John Legend and more.


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