Maui Arts & Entertainment

Makana Among Speakers at TEDxMaui 2013

December 26, 2012, 11:59 AM HST
* Updated December 26, 3:21 PM
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By Vanessa Wolf

Organizers of TEDxMaui have announced that Hawaii-born and raised musician and composer Makana has been added to the roster of presenters.


A shot from last year’s TEDxMaui. File photo by Peter Liu.

Makana, born Matthew Swalinkavich, is a slack-key guitar player and singer. His song Deep in an Ancient Hawaiian Forest is featured on the Grammy Award-nominated album of the Academy Award winning movie, The Descendants. In 2008, he was recognized by Guitar Player Magazine as one of the top guitarists in the US.

Makana’s music ranges from instrumental to lyrical and explores a broad spectrum of themes ranging from cultural and economic to the philosophical. He has toured nationwide with Jason Mraz, and opened for Sting, Santana and Elvis Costello.

TED is an acronym for Technology, Entertainment, and Design and is a global set of conferences with a focus on disseminating “ideas worth spreading.”


In 2009, TED began granting licenses to third parties to organize independent TED-like events internationally. Per, “As of 2012, more than 16,000 talks have been given at more than 4,254 TEDx events in 1,200 cities in 133 countries.” In the July 9 issue of the New Yorker, they reported that on average five TEDx events are organized in 133 countries, every day.


This is the second annual TEDxMaui event here on Maui and brings together a diverse array of individuals from the islands and beyond. Each presenter is given 18 minutes to speak or perform on a topic related to the conference’s theme “The Dream is Real.”

Makana joins Emmy-award winning filmmaker Paul Atkins. Atkins’ first National Geographic special, the multiple Emmy-winning Hawai’i: Strangers in Paradise, dramatized the threat posed the invasion of alien species.  He served as director of photography on Michel Cousteau’s Voyage to Kure, a film that is said to have convinced President George W. Bush to designate the  Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as a National Monument in 2006.

Art by Alex Grey.

Other speakers at TEDxMaui include visionary artist Alex Grey, whose work focuses on cosmic, biological, and technological evolution; canoe caption and master of Polynesian navigation Chad Kalepa Baybayan; and singer-songwriter Rickie Byars Beckwith, who has worked with everyone from to the Dalai Lama.


Additional presenters include renewable energy pioneer Quayle Hodek; legendary big wave surfer Archie Kalepa; 16-year old violinist and composer WenLu Duffy, and Jim Channon, a man Fortune magazine declared the world’s “first corporate shaman.”

Channon is most notably remembered for creating the First Earth Battalion manual, his idea of a new military based on New Age thinking and the subject of the book (and later film) Men Who Stare at Goats. In his manual, Channon proposed that his future army would not use weapons, but would attempt to win the hearts and minds of the enemy first through positive vibrations, the carrying of baby lambs, and greeting hostile forces with “sparkly eyes.”

Jim Channon.

Tickets to TEDxMaui are still available for $100 and the day long conference is limited to 1200 participants.

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