Among his lyrics:
Ye come here, gather 'round the stage
The time has come for us to voice our rage
Against the ones who've trapped us in a cage
To steal from us the value of our wage...
We'll occupy the streets
We'll occupy the courts
We'll occupy the offices of you
Til you do
The bidding of the many, not the few...
“I was glad that (the President) was not paying attention. Because if he had been, I might not have been able to keep singing it,” said Makana, who goes only by his first name. “President Obama's guests got it. But because of (diplomatic) protocols, no one could ask, ‘What is this guy singing?’ It was totally providential.”
Makana, who was wearing an “Occupy with Aloha” T-shirt, did not play the full five minute version of his song. Rather, he wove ‘We Are the Many’ during his 2 hour-plus performance.
Then, it was time to return to every day life. Like Kevin Kline’s “Dave,” no one would ever know. Only Makana’s friends – the ones with whom he wrote music and surfed and grew organic vegetables in his backyard – tweeted on his epic adventure and e-mailed friends. Finally, the White House Press Corps, which had been banished from the dinner, learned that they had missed the real scoop and belatedly reported that yes, this singer had really sung his Occupy song at the dinner. CNN reported on it, as did the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, as did the New York Times.
Any performer dreams of such publicity. A two minute excerpt of Makana’s APEC performance, taped by friends,got over 120,000 rounds on YouTube. Then Makana’s five and a half minute song, featuring him in front of the American flag, got another 230,000 hits.
Nor did the adventure end there. Makana’s phone went crazy. Two calls from this reporter dead ended up in full box was full with no room for additional messages, while my e-mail to Makana got buried among 4,000 others.
“I followed my heart, and it seems to have inspired a lot of people. It was harmless, but powerful,” said Makana when we finally connected – as he rushed off to perform at a Marianne Williamson lecture. (And yes, the best selling author and Course in Miracles guru knew just who she was getting).
“The song has resonated with people,” he said. “I’ve received letters from Russia and Germany. People were singing it as a choir in (San Francisco’s) East Bay. UC Davis students played it after being pepper sprayed by police in a videotaped incident seen worldwide.
Makana also heard from the heroes of the 60’s and 70’s upon which the 33-year old had modeled his life. Makana’s all time hero is Arlo Guthrie, whose “Alice’s Restaurant” became an anthem of the anti-Viet Nam war movement. “You’ve got some guts and a heart to go beyond internal fear,” Guthrie e-mailed him.
Buffie Saint-Marie (“Universal Soldier”); Joan Baez, (“Diamonds and Rust”) and Bonnie Raitt (“Something to Talk About”) forwarded his song to his fans. “This whole experience has been life changing,” said Makana. “Before this, I might have questioned what I was doing. No longer.”
Meanwhile, the Occupy movement spreads worldwide, with a song in its heart.By Joseph Hanania, Aslan Media Columnist