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Venus and the Sky Turns to Clay - The Instrumental World of Makana

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Album Review

Makana established his bona fides as a Hawaiian slack key guitarist with albums like Ki Ho'alu: Journey of Hawaiian Slack Key, playing the traditional repertoire. On his last album, Different Game, he took a left turn, making like a 1970s folk-rock singer/songwriter. To announce to fans that's he back from trying to be the new John Denver, he puts a legend at the top of the cover of Venus and the Sky Turns to Clay that reads "the instrumental world of" above his name. It's a signal that there are no vocals on this disc, and that it's just Makana playing the guitar. But anyone who thinks that means he's going back to tradition is mistaken. The album is Makana's statement about the possibilities of acoustic guitar playing, and while Hawaiian slack key is one of the styles, he is also cognizant of such masters of the form as Leo Kottke and Will Ackerman. Folk and country styles come in here and there, as well as new age and bluegrass elements. And he even throws in bits of flamenco and nods to the jazz guitar of Django Reinhardt. And then there's "A Touch of Deviance," which finds his guitar going off into space, with echo effects and other electronic treatments. Makana clearly wants to try different things on his different albums, and even if he has returned to solo guitar work for this one, he really isn't retracing his steps; once again, he's going in new directions.

Customer Reviews


I have enjoyed listening to this album so much today. This is truly a brilliant musician and these tracks are heartfelt. Think of someone you love and give "Walking With You" a listen. See if you don't get a little choked up. Thank you Makana!

Back to Basics

I love this album. The first CD I received of Makana was his Kiho`alu album. Loved every song, especially because its strong Hawaiian feel. This album is a good reminder of why I like Makana. He is a talented slack key musician. It's always good when you go back to basics and remember your roots.


Outstanding, Makana keeps getting better and better. He will surely become a slack key legend.


Genre: World

Years Active: '00s

Hawaiian slack key guitarist Makana was born on the island of Oahu. He began singing at the age of seven. At nine, he took up the ukulele, adding the slack key guitar when he was 11 and studying with Sonny Chillingworth. He had already turned professional by the age of 14. His debut album, Makana, was released in 1999; it won the Best World Music Album Award at the Hawaii Music Awards. It was followed by Koi Au in 2002 and Ki Ho'alu: Journey of Hawaiian Slack Key in 2003. In 2006,...
Full Bio

Customer Ratings