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. He 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. Makana’s captivating and wide-ranging performance style has led him to share the stage with Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson, open for music legends Sting, Carlos Santana and Elvis Costello, and perform in venues ranging from Asian and European opera houses to The White House. He has released 8 records to date and most recently a music video anthem, “Fire is Ours,” for Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
John Cruz grew up in Hawaii in a home immersed in music; he performed with his father and brothers from a young age. His move to the East Coast in 1983 enabled him to develop his own style as a singer songwriter, performing everywhere from New York’s coffeehouses and bars to clubs and local haunts from Martha's Vineyard to the Boston area. Returning to Hawaii, he released his first album Acoustic Soul in 1996, to artistic and commercial impact. It spawned the radio hits "Shine On," "Sitting in Limbo" and "Island Style," which has become a local anthem known around the world (including President Obama’s iPod songlist) and won two Na Hoku (Hawai‘i’s “Grammy”) Awards. In 2005, John added a Grammy Award to his list of honors, as part of the compilation CD Slack Key Guitar Volume 2, which won the first Grammy ever awarded for Hawaiian music.
John's touring has included Byron Bay Bluesfest in Australia, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennessee, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Summerstage in New York's Central Park, Carnegie Hall and prominent venues up and down both coasts. He played 14 shows at the prestigious SXSW (South by Southwest) music festival. He was named Best Singer Songwriter by Hawaii Magazine in 2008. His 2nd album One of These Days debuted at #2 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart and #6 on the Billboard World Chart, earned the Na Hoku Award for Contemporary Album of the Year, and was named one of the "Top 25 Greatest Hawaii Albums of the New Century" by Honolulu Magazine in 2012. "John is a great songwriter and a great singer...he's one of the best." -- Jackson Browne
“A dynamic force within the style [of slack key]…dazzling” – The New York Times
“… soulful, folksy, bluesy and technically superb, yet seemingly effortless.”--Honolulu Magazine