The Venus & the Sky Turn to Clay album is the first totally instrumental release of Makana, a young Hawaiian maestro of slack key guitar. While his vocal recordings do not do him justice, Venus and the Sky Turns to Clay shows Makana at his best, combining tradition and experimentation.
Makana’s technique includes playing both rhythm and melody simultaneously. His musical influences are global, ranging from Hawaiian roots to American bluegrass, classical music, blues, Indian raga and Spanish flamenco. Even though most of the melodic pieces are acoustic, Makana switches to electric guitar in one piece, creating fascinating explorations.
Makana was born as Matt Swalinkavich. He started his professional career as a guitarist playing at Duke’s Canoe Club in 1993. Initially, he was using the name Ki Ho’alu Kid, but he later changed his artistic name to Makana, which means "gift" in Hawaiian. In 2000, his first album, titled Makana, won the Best World Music Album category at the Hawai’i Music Awards. It was also voted "Best CD" by the readers of the Honolulu Weekly. Makana’s previous recording, Different Game, which features vocals, received the 2008 Hawaii Music Award for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year.
In addition to his solo albums, Makana has participated in two albums: "Hawaiian Slack Key Kings" Volumes I & II. This summer Makana performed at The Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Concert Series at The Napili Kai Beach Resort, Maui on July 29, 2009.
Venus & the Sky Turn to Clay is a sultry collection of guitar music by one of the masters of slack key guitar.
Buy the CD or MP3 download:
- In North America: Venus & the Sky Turn to Clay: the Instrumental World Of Makana. Other titles available: Hawaiian Slack Key Kings, Vol. 2-Hawaiian Slack Key Kings Master Series, Koi Au, Different Game, Ki Ho’alu: Journey of Hawaiian Slack Key, Makana
- In Europe: Venus and the Sky Turns to Clay: The Instrumental World of Makana. Other titles available: Ki Ho’alu: Journey of Hawaiian Slack Key, Different Game, Makana
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.