When Hawaiian guitarist and singer Makana took the stage at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation gala dinner in Honolulu on November 12th, the audience expected instrumental background music. They got more than they expected.
Attendees at the hyper-secure dinner, which capped a summit of world leaders “included Presidents Barack Obama of the United States of America, Hu Jintao of China, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, and over a dozen other heads of state.”
Makana proceeded to unbutton his suit jacket to reveal a home-made “Occupy With Aloha” t-shirt, pick up his guitar, and spend the next 45 minutes singing a very extended version of his freshly-pressed protest song “We are the Many.” According to The Yes Lab, who together with Occupy the Board Room, provided strategic assistance to the performer: “In recent weeks, Occupy protesters have been showing up at corporate events, headquarters and even on the doorsteps of those in power. Makana really raised the bar by delivering the Occupy message inside what is probably the most secure place on the planet right now.”
Makana never expected to be allowed to continue, but the objections he anticipated never came. He recounts his trepidation: “I found it odd that I was afraid to sing a song I’d written, especially since I’d written it with these people in mind. I just kept doing different versions. I must’ve repeated ‘the bidding of the many, not the few’ at least 50 times, like a mantra. It was surreal and sobering.” The ballad includes the refrain: “We’ll occupy the streets. We’ll occupy the courts. We’ll occupy the offices of you. Till you do. The bidding of the many, not the few” For complete lyrics, plus video and more, click here.