Gifted with a wild imagination and a dry wit, Mokai can be serious or playful, as well as moving. He rouses an audience with his rapid-fire rhymes, acerbic commentary and modern fingerstyle rhythms. His distinctive, earthy sound, blending elements of roots blues, jazz and world music, is the perfect vehicle for deeply felt songs about life, about people and their struggles, deeply grooving, inspiring songs concerning these times.
Mokai's debut CD "Unearthed," released in May of 2003, features twelve of his original tunes and special multimedia Bonus Content for your computer. From authentic Folk Blues guitar chops, to raving poetics, "Unearthed" digs up a wide array of styles and perspectives. Recorded at the historic Hyde St. studios in San Francisco, the disc bursts at the seams with talent, including performances by award-winning vocalist Erika Luckett, instrumentalist Mark Growden, soloist Matt Eakle (Dave Grisman Quintet), Upright Bass phenom Todd Sickafoose (Ani DiFranco), Jazz trumpeter John Capobianco, and vocal performances by Heather Davison (Hanes Family, Loretta Lynch), and Jessie Turner.
"Unearthed" also features Bonus Content for your computer on a CD-ROM portion of the disc. It includes a five-minute video with interviews, studio and live footage, as well as alternate mixes of five songs from the CD, and lyrics for all of the songs. Historic photos of Mokai taking part in groundbreaking actions to defend Pacific Northwest forests are also included on the Bonus portion of the CD. This content works on both PC and Mac computers with adequate memory plus audio capabilities, and does not require any special installation or plug-ins.
Since the release of “Unearthed,” Mokai has made over a hundred appearances, at coffeehouses, nightclubs, festivals, house concerts and on radio stations. He was a special guest on the main stage at Reggae on the River and at the Earthdance festival, received a best song award and a best performance award from the Westcoast Songwriters Association, and was featured on the syndicated cable series “Spotlight on Performing Songwriter.” Mokai appeared at the North Beach Jazz Festival in 2003 and 2004; his monthly residency, at the Elbo Room in San Francisco, California, has been going strong for the past nine months and continues in 2005. http://www.CAUSE-music.com
Mokai is part of a vibrant, supportive community of indie musicians in San Francisco, many of whom perform regularly at the local Bazaar Café. He and several other of these artists are featured the new compilation CD, Bazaar Café Musical Stew, also available on CD Baby.
Mokai is also well known in the SF Bay Area progressive scene. His song "World Without War" has been dubbed "the peace movement's new anthem" by Medea Benjamin (Global Exchange) and is in regular rotation on Pacifica's KPFA and other public radio stations, including national program Democracy Now! Before moving to the Bay Area, he was drawn to the defense of the last wild places. Pioneering some of the first direct actions to save ancient forests in Oregon and California, he lent his body and his songs to the struggle. During one of the first ever 'tree-sitting' actions on the Pacific Coast, he came to be known as Mokai (pronounced /MO’-kI/ with a long "o" and long "i"), and his songs have since been heard at rallies and gatherings-in support of the environment, social justice, and against war.
Fans of Dave Matthews' innovative chords and styles, the intelligent poetry of Paul Simon's lyrics, or Ben Harper's powerful messages and earthy groove will enjoy Mokai's music.
Mokai has shared the stage with many fine artists, including: Michael Franti, David Lindley, Steve Kimock, Eric McFadden, Erika Luckett, David Jacobs-Strain, Garrin Benfield, Jeff Pehrson and Jim Brunberg (Box Set), AJ Roach, Austin Willacy, Shelley Doty, Etienne de Rocher, Loretta Lynch, Copper Wimmin, Joanne Rand.