KAILUA-KONA — In the unlikeliest of places, Hawaii musician Makana was able to find the right notes.
Last year, the Hawaii musician was the first American to visit Bunker 703 in Russia, a recently declassified, deserted nuclear bomb shelter near Moscow. He brought along his guitar with him into the underground structure, expecting an inspiration, but not an entire song.
“What happened in that bunker was the combination of being there, the amazing acoustics and the somber feeling of the intended purpose of what that place was,” Makana said. “And that combined with all the emotions I had with going through the Hawaii missile scare.”
With lyrics and music composed on the spot in Bunker 703, “Mourning Armageddon” is Makana’s newest song and music video, released Jan. 13 on the one-year anniversary of the Hawaii false missile alert.
The title of the video is tied to Makana’s feelings on how the islands handled the aftermath.
“I realized that we in Hawaii, as the people, as the government, we never created together a space to mourn this 30-minute imminent death over our heads,” Makana said. “Being in that Russian nuclear bunker, I started to mourn. This is a place that they actually built and we’re on the brink of nuclear war and we’re moving in that direction again.”
Makana was inspired to visit Russia after his experiences during the missile scare, and the research he did after that day on the history of nuclear war in the world. He found the current anti-Russian sentiment in the media to be misleading, and he decided to discover the truth for himself.
“That inspired me to go there and reach out as a cultural ambassador,” Makana said. “To share, in many different forms, our culture from Hawaii and build bridges of friendship and peace through sharing music and culture.”
Makana performed benefit concerts during his trip to Russia with the help of NuclearWakeUpCall.Earth, who, according to their website, are a “nonprofit, nonpartisan initiative to catalyze efforts in U.S.-Russian relations to reduce the escalating nuclear danger and move towards a world without nuclear weapons.”
“I went to all these schools, from elementary school all the way to universities, and performed and gave lectures,” Makana said. “I played concerts and I played in government forums I was invited to. And because I expressed from a place of respect and curiosity, I was really embraced and I had an incredible experience there. It was so life-changing to experience these people without the filter of just the media.”
Makana said he found the Russian people to be kind and welcoming, and he hopes by sharing his experiences there, he can convince his fellow Americans to look past what they see on television.
“I didn’t go in there with preconceived notions and I went there to give something back to the world,” Makana said. “I didn’t charge anything for my shows, everything was donated, and I was shown a lot of love.”
Info: Watch the video “Mourning Armageddon” at https://vimeo.com/310276887.