Mokai's new EP is being released in celebration of the growing movement in opposition to Endless War.
These songs tap into the rage at being betrayed. It’s like a good session with Randi Rhodes of Air America Radio, set to a catchy groove that will have you dancin’ like Ellen and shouting out 'you can’t fool ME!'
Mokai has made close to 200 appearances since the illegal invasion of Iraq and the song "Criminal Behavior (You Can't Fool Me)" has become an audience favorite. This hard-hitting song details the crimes and deceptions of the Bush regime and the hypocrisy of the doctrine of pre-emptive war. Rousing audiences with rapid-fire rhymes and modern fingerstyle guitar, it never fails to delight people and get them to chant along: "You Can't Fool Me!".
"When Johnny Came Home from War" is a contemplation of the lives of disabled young veterans returning from senseless war. Mokai performed this song in front of thousands from the main stage at the rally commemorating the second anniversary of the Iraq invasion in San Francisco's Civic Center in March of 2005. Using elements of traditional Celtic music in an original way, Mokai imagines what it must be like to return from the hell of War to a "homeland" where no one seems aware that "there's a War out there".
"World Without War" -- the first song of this anti-war series that Mokai wrote, -- was dubbed "the peace movement's new anthem" by Medea Benjamin, founder of Global Exchange and Code Pink. It appears here in a new version, different from the one on the CD "Unearthed", showing how Mokai has grown into the song; a little more nuanced, a little more confidant.
It is Mokai's belief that War is always wrong. Here's Mokai in his own words: "Patriotism and Militarism have always been used hand in hand by those who profit from War...In today's modern era, War is a tragic failure of imagination. With the stakes so high, relying on violence to resolve conflicts is insane--and the price is high...the loss of our liberty and of our humanity."
Having spent time on the frontlines of many crucial issues of our times, risking his own safety -- being arrested for blockading military and government facilities, traveling to parts of the world that receive the brunt of US force, and hanging out of ancient trees threatened by logging in the Pacific Northwest, -- Mokai is committed to strengthening the voice of those harmed by the heedless march of globalization. At the same time he is a musician's musician, committed to musicality; an artist creating beautiful, moving works. Using innovative chord structures, compelling rhythms, and well-crafted melodies he gives his messages--which may be difficult for some to hear--a musical setting that draws the listener in.
The song "Criminal Behavior (You Can't Fool Me)" received an award from the Westcoast Songwriter's Association, and Mokai was invited to perform it from the main stage at some of the biggest outdoor festivals in Northern California. He has also performed it at numerous anti-war rallies. The song has been played on KPFA's news programs (Flashpoints) as well as music programs (Across the Great Divide and Sing Out), and on a growing number of college, community, and pirate radio stations.
Also included on the CD "You Can't Fool Me" is a live version of "Criminal Behavior" recorded at the famous "Freight and Salvage" coffeehouse with the audience singing and chanting along, and a live recording of Mokai's tribute to the late Judi Bari--activist, mother, & Mokai's friend.
The CD features live and home recordings of a passionate performer with a highly developed personal style. It is an intimate conversation between listener and singer, asking 'how do far away world events touch each of us, and what's at stake?' It is the kind of CD that major labels could never release, the kind of record that only comes out of the home studio, the independent musician, unconcerned with the trends in mainstream music or an increasingly shallow and homogenous culture, seeking to bond the disparate voices of those imagining a peaceful future.