Donate to Hip Agriculture Button

9TH ANNUAL ʻĀINA FEST

MUSICAL LINEUP

Nahko

Nahko

My Name Is Bear

It sounds like the logline for a classic sixties film…

An Oregon native leaves home at 18, follows love from Alaska to Louisiana only to learn about heartbreak the hard way, meets his birth mother for the first time, eventually settles in Hawaii, and launches a successful band. It isn’t the fulfillment of some loose end in Easy Rider or Five Easy Pieces though. It’s the origin story of Nahko captured on his 2017 solo offering, My Name Is Bear [Side One Dummy]. The album predates his rise to mythos among diehard fans in Nahko and Medicine for the People, and it’s an important piece of the puzzle that is Nahko.

Collecting music he penned between the pivotal ages of 18 and 21, the musical maverick appropriately describes the 16-track journey as “a prequel.”

“It’s the first chapter,” he elaborates. “I leave home at the beginning. On the back end, I meet my birth mother at 21, everything changes, and the Medicine for the People catalog begins. It was about coming of age and shedding that skin. When you’re on your own, those are the first steps to freedom. You have to take care of yourself and survive in a world with the tools you have. For me, those tools were my guitar, my songwriting, and my thumb to hitchhike. 95% of the tracks were written during or about psychedelic trips. There’s a tinge of real mystical revelation as I went from Alaska to Hawaii. I became open to other spiritual texts, and they transformed me. I was on the road, in love, and everything was amazing, but I kept asking myself, ‘What the fuck does this all mean?’”

Read More...

My Name Is Bear might incite some of the same questions. Artfully merging rustic acoustic guitars, upbeat energy, tribal flavors, fiery percussion, and ponderous lyrics, these recordings reflect the soul and spirit fans have come to know and love from his work in Medicine for the People, while venturing into decidedly more “rocking” and “personal” territory, as he puts it.

Along the way, he realized who he was.

“I came from a broken indigenous home, but I was raised in a beautiful, privileged white home by my adoptive parents,” he says. “It was pretty confusing as I began to come of age because I knew I didn’t come from that household, but somehow through my music I was able to garner the attention of many young people going through the same thing and coming to a similar conclusion. My music did not define me at 18-21 the way it does now. It was my comfort zone. I turned to it to get me through all of the transitions. I had no definition of life at the time. Music is my language, that is certain. It is my way to get in, out, over, and under. It’s my bridge. I can connect with people and many other things with it.”

Strengthening that connection, Nahko introduces this collection with the lead-off and first single “Dragonfly.” Fingerpicked acoustic guitar builds into an unshakable melody punctuated by an African-style beat and chirping birds as he carries the chant, “To my former dragonfly, I resist and I survive.” The companion video, starring Nahko’s friend Paris Jackson, brings the narrative to life vividly.

“I wrote that at 18,” he recalls. “It’s a special one about following my heart in relation to a first love. I was very enamored with her. We met in Alaska, and she had a similar story to my birth mother. I followed her to Louisiana by way of a very long road trip. We spent four months in a house in the Deep South hanging out. It came from surviving that first year away from home. It was a special piece for me.”

He pays homage to the influence of Ram Dass’s Be Here Now with the swaggering electric guitar, groovy bass, and bright horns of “Be Here Now”—originally penned upon his arrival in Hawaii. The gorgeous conclusion “Die Like Dinoz” nods to his experience in a Hawaiian treehouse at the base of a volcano as it compares two lost dinosaurs to lovers who lose their way.

As much as My Name Is Bear serves as a prequel to Medicine for the People, it can certainly be construed as the foundation for meeting his mom as well. To rewind even further, Nahko’s birth mom gave him up for adoption as she was just 15-years-old. She would be thrust into unthinkable circumstances but managed to send letters and photos until he turned five. At 17, his parents handed over the correspondence. In 2007 following his return to Portland from Hawaii, he Googled her name on August 6. Turns out, his birth mother lived 15 minutes away.

“I drove there and, there she was, my mom,” he continues. “My two sisters, their kids, my two brothers…everyone. Mom was crying. I was crying. The first thing she asked was ‘What do you do?’ I shrugged and said, ‘I play music.’ It literally happened like that—all by divine intervention. I picked up, left Hawaii, and came home to not so randomly discover my mom lived basically down the street from where I grew up.”

Consequentially, this transpired towards the end of the period chronicled on My Name Is Bear. He penned “Early February” about it.

“It’s the only song that has anything to do with my birth mother or my family,” he says. “It’s about identity. That link ties to my other records, because they’re full of stories. My Name Is Bear celebrates becoming a man.”

Finger-snaps set the stage for a delicate and heartwarming narrative about the birth of his brother’s first child on “Call Him By His Name.” Strings underscore the emotional heft of the soulful ballad “Susanna,” which relays the journey from home towards love. Meanwhile, the shimmering piano of “Alice” echoes with lively and lush melodies.

During 2016, Nahko began combing his catalog for choice tunes from that crucial period. In the midst of that process, he uncovered a box of tapes where he audio journaled his travels. Those comprise the four “Interludes.”

“This was long before Notes on the iPhone,” he laughs. “I would literally record a daily log on a RadioShack tape recorder. It’s a time capsule through California, my first Burning Man, busking from Portland to Maine, and picking up hitchhikers. The tapes couldn’t have been more perfect for the album.”

In the title, he also subconsciously embraces his given moniker Nahko, which means “bear.”

“I reclaimed the name at this time,” he goes on. “I was going by my adopted name of David until I got to Hawaii and a friend encouraged me to go by Nahko. It’s a statement to myself. I’m no longer a little bear. I’ve reached a place where I’ve progressed through this journey of music. I can share these songs from a very specific period today.”

At the end of the day, this prequel sets the stage for a whole lot more from Nahko though.

“To be honest, I decided to make this last year as the world was changing,” he leaves off. “I know I could go deep on Medicine for the People, but I had to go back in time for myself, clean out the closet a little bit, and give listeners something that feels good, but makes them think. I hope in making them feel good for an hour; it makes them feel better. That’s how I feel.”

Follow Nahko on social media: Website / / Facebook / / Instagram / / Twitter

Contact

Paul Freundlich
PFA
212-334-6116
paulf@pfamedia.net


Alicia Brown
PFA
212-334-6116
abrown@pfamedia.net

Paula Fuga

Paula Fuga

Exquisite vocals, powerful lyrics and gorgeous melodies have earned Paula widespread critical praise and an incredibly dedicated fan base. Paula Fuga is a musician on a mission and music is her vehicle.

She is complex, intelligent and real, with the depth and passion to become an icon. If you had to peg Paula Fuga into a certain music genre, it would be almost impossible. Some have called her music modern Hawaiian soul, praising her deep intensity and emotion with a personal style that is widely appealing and accessible.

A blend of tradition and evolution, her music features soul and jazz–infused lyrics, with that laid back island rhythm, seamlessly mixing English and Hawaiian languages, supported by traditional Hawaiian instruments like the nose flute and ‘ukulele, she is all feeling with a voice filled with so much soul, you are guaranteed to become a fan.

Paul Izak

Paul Izak

Paul Izak’s unique style of music can best be described as a blend of Folk/Blues/Rock and Reggae. Born and raised on the island of Oahu, Paul has a deep rooted connection and love for the Hawaiian Islands and you can hear it in his music. His passion for gardening/farming and yoga are integrated into his musical message to inspire a healthy and conscious lifestyle. He loves collaboration, spontaneous jamming and music with a message of awareness and positive forward progression. Paul is also the founder of the organization Yogarden based on the Island of Oahu. Yogarden has a farm in Waimanalo, they offer Farm to table dinners and live music yoga classes to the local community. For more Information on Paul’s music and Yogarden visit www.paulizakmusic.com and www.yogardenhawaii.com.

Ok2Change

Ok2Change

Jay and Imani of OK2Change met in 2009 working on a fundraising campaign for human rights. Sharing the same sense of humor and passion for activism and music, they formed a band called Weekly Chaos. An opportunity arose to move to Hawaii, and the change in lifestyle and musical content induced the birth of Ok2Change. With a new perspective and fresh drive in less than a year, they've released a debut EP, started recording a full album, were a featured performance in Flow Festival 2017, are playing Blessed Coast Festival in Canada and Project Earth Festival in Minnesota summer 2017, and have built up fan bases in San Diego, LA, Seattle, and the Big Island of Hawaii. With years of musical experience, hours of original material, catchy rhymes, and beats to make you dance, Ok2Change is rising rapidly in the wake of hard work, dedication, and pure love of music.

John Keawe

John Keawe

John Keawe is a songwriter and slack-key guitarist who was born on the Big Island of Hawaii, in the little town of Hawi in North Kohala. Of all his recordings, eight were nominated for Na Hoku Hano Hano Awards. The CD “Hoʻonanea” won that award in 1994 for best instrumental performance. At the 1998 Hawaii Music Awards, John won best slack-key artist for his ”Mana`olana” CD. In 2003, John received a Hawaii Music Award for “Aloha Kaikuaʻana.” He also won a Hoku Award for Ki-ho`alu, a special award given to an artist for perpetuating the art of slack-key guitar. In 2005, John was honored as a contributing artist on Hawaii's first Grammy Award for Best Hawaiian Music Album titled "Slack-key Guitar Vol. 2" by Palm Records. 2009 was a monumental year in John's career as he was the recipient of the first Na Hoku Hano Hano Award for Slack-Key Album of the Year for the CD "Hawaiʻi Island...Is My Home."

Kaʻahele

Photo: Jill Ranieri

Kaʻahele

Kaʻahele is a Hawaiian word for “Journey” and the musical name of Kelly Hyde. Her lyrics are clever, uplifting, and comical, bringing awareness and at the same time making light of the human situation. Her music covers an array of “island folk”, reggae, bluegrass, and her own special flavor. Her songs are full of food for thought, and her melodies are soothing and creative. Listeners may feel inclined to laugh or be brought to tears.

“Kaʻahele oozes talent, without the pretense. Her open-ended lyrics spark fantasy and ideas at the same time as being very earthy and real. The musical arrangements and vocals are a sound to behold” -Kyle Brothers

Ydine

Ydine

Ydine is a soulful songstress based out of Hawaii. She performs throughout the islands as a solo artist and with her band AnOtherEvolution, an ever-evolving ensemble of local musicians. The beautiful compilation of a Cuban mother and Norwegian father, Ydine has cultivated a uniquely diverse musical style that cannot be defined by any particular genre. Her family origins and experiences thus far, such as sailing extensively throughout the South Pacific, traveling abroad, and living on farms throughout Hawaii, have heavily influenced all aspects of her music. Her lyrical poetry calls upon humanity to reach its fullest potential: to preserve our delicate ecosystems for future generations, to cultivate empathy and hold space in our hearts for those around us, and to go through this life fostering inquisitive and inspiring minds. She is currently recording her first album, Belly of the Whale. Learn More...

Markus Mars

Markus Mars

Markus Mars is the space to earth musical manifestation of an ongoing celestial journey throughout the furthest reaches of the cosmos with terrestrial origins in the volcanic jungles of Hawai’i Island. An interdimensional entity, equipped with a 5-string electric violin, a telescopic didgeridoo, and a loop station starts live streaming Space to Earth vibes straight into your auditory canals. His unique style is a well-balanced blend of improvised performance, inspired by elements of his musical career and iconic artists, such as Jean-Luc Ponty, Andrew Bird, Johann Sebastian Bach, Steve Reich, Jimi Hendrix, and Miles Davis. Learn more....

hawane.jpg

Hāwane Rios

I come from the small country town of Waimea on Hawai'i Island, nestled in the protection of the majestic and sacred Mauna Kea. My roots stretch from the rolling hills of Kohala to the sandy beaches of 'Ānaeho'omalu. My connection to the Earth Mother is deep and true for my family, Pua Case and Kalani Flores have raised my sister Kapulei and I to know that the Earth is as much a part of us as we are a part of it. The beautiful power of the elements has served as inspiration for my musical compositions strengthening my connection and respect for this land as I continue to sing my praises for this world. The gentle breeze that touches my skin to the comforting feeling of the seas embrace captures my heart and inspires me to honor them with song. I have learned that music sends out a kind of healing vibration that holds the power of change in its core. It is never ending and travels onward touching souls one chord at a time. My hope is to write and lift my voice in honor of those who came before, those who live now, and those who are yet to come.

Sierra Marin

Sierra Marin

Sierra Marin comes from San Diego, Ca and is a traveling troubadour spreading love and inspiration through music wherever she goes. She channels divine truth in her songs as a reminder of the power of unconditional love. Music is medicine for the soul and a powerful tool for our liberation as individuals as well as for the entire planet. Sierra Marin's mission is to remind humanity of their divinity and perfection. To remind the people that WE are the ones we've been waiting for. That collaborative community and care for the planet are where we need to be putting our energy! It's up to us to remember who we are and to be the change we want to see in this world. The time is now to be all of who we are!

Drew Daniels

Drew Daniels

Originally rooted in New Jersey and Philadelphia, where he fronted prog-ska band Tsunami Rising, Drew Daniels is now living on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi where he is strengthening his connections to land, source and family. His lyrical folk songs are heavily influenced by early reggae rhythm, punk rock ethos and hip hop cadence. His songs, while stimulating both mind and heart, deliver a call to action around personal, political and spiritual revolution.

Noelani Love

Noelani Love

Hailing from North Shore, Oahu, in Hawaii, Noelani Love brings soft melodies and her sweet ukulele sounds to the yoga and spiritual music world. Noelani finds much of her inspiration in the ocean through free diving and surfing. She spends her free time reading, writing, practicing yoga and cooking with her 10 year old son Aukai.

Finding her voice as a young mother through home birth has been instrumental in her development as a singer, and she thrives with grace through the challenges that life brings as a single mother and entrepreneur.

Her jewelry line, Noelani Hawaii combines intentional and healing stones to inspire women to feel beautiful and empowered across the globe. She is in service to the planet and is dedicated to the rise of the divine feminine to create balance on our Earth Home. Her music can be found on iTunes, Spotify, and most major music distribution channels. Find out more at www.NoelaniHawaii.com

501(c)(3)

To practice and teach ecologically conscious agriculture, empowering individuals and communities to cultivate alternative systems of living that restore human and environmental health.

Follow Us

NEWSLETTER SIGNUP