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San Francisco, CA | Established. Jan 01, 2003 | SELF

San Francisco, CA | SELF
Established on Jan, 2003
Solo Americana Acoustic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Rosalie Howarth"

“Great message in a vivid, deftly expressed package! Even more incredible live...." - KFOG FM

"Derk Richardson"

“Mokai is a fine guitarist with socially conscious songs and eclectic arrangements." - KPFA FM

"Larry Kelp"

“Mokai’s music is out to make a difference in the world.” - KPFA FM

"Performer Magazine"

"Toe-tappin' blues riffs, catchy, interesting melodies, and innovative instrumentation."
- None

"Medea Benjamin, founder, Global Exchange"

"I think we’ve found the peace movement's new anthem...." - (on hearing Mokai’s song "World Without War")

"Erika Luckett"

"An original voice...earthy, authentic...steeped in truth and rooted in heart." - (award winning composer and singer/songwriter)


"Any Distraction'll Do" - 2012 full length album

Mokai's latest release, "Any Distraction'll Do", 12 tracks of folk-blues based music, is a journey from the roots of folk-blues, on the road to modern guitar. Mokai's signature fingerpicking is eerie and spell-binding on the title track, then warm and comfortable on the instrumental solo guitar pieces, on newly arranged traditional tunes, and his edgy originals.

The folk-blues idiom is teased and tugged until it yields unexpected forms. The album's lighter moments are balanced by a bluesman's unflinching look at the state of the world. The inspired production from engineer and acoustic bassist Jon Evans (Tori Amos) conveys this outsider musician's deeply honest perspective.

With lovingly recorded acoustic instruments, and powerful ensemble playing from the supporting musicians, "Any Distraction'll Do" draws from the roots of the blues, and inspiration from the artist's own path.

"You Can't fool Me" – 2005 – 5 track CD including home and live recordings

"Unearthed" – 2003, full length debut album

From authentic Folk Blues guitar chops, to raving poetics, "Unearthed" digs up a wide array of styles and perspectives. Recorded at the 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) and Upright Bass phenom Todd Sickafoose (Ani DiFranco).

Recorded in a historic studio in San Francisco, this collection is the only document of Mokai's lifelong dedication to songwriting and fingerstyle guitar and the depth of his original musical vision.

The CD received radio play throughout Northern California, including on KPFA*, KFOG, KALW*, KPIG, KVMR, KZYX*, KPOO*, KALX, KMUD*, KHUM*, KDVS, and the Pacifica Radio program Democracy Now! *indicates live studio performances



Mokai plays earthy, original music. Accompanying himself on fingerstyle guitar, he tells gripping stories, rhymes freely, and through his songs, melds the strange and beautiful into rootsy performances.

Versed in folk blues from an early age, he creates an intimate world for his audience, with his bluesy voice, engaging lyrics, and innovative fingerpicking. Bay Area DJ Rosalie Howarth (KFOG FM) commented: Great message in a vivid, deftly expressed packageincredible live!"

Mokai has made hundreds of appearances at rallies, benefits, coffeehouses, nightclubs, festivals, house concerts, in hospitals, shelters, and on radio stations.

Mokais sound can best be compared to other current Americana players who have a singer/songwriter side, such as Kelly Joe Phelps and David Jacob Strain. His original guitar style echoes his life-long love affair with the playing of seminal bluesmen like Big Bill Broonzy, and Dave Van Ronk.

His moods can be reminiscent of classic songwriters like John Prine and Townes Van Zandt, with that something raw in the vocals and lyrics. Intended mostly for acoustic music lovers, Mokais songs fit into the bigger picture alongside those of Dylan and Springsteen.

Mokai is pronounced MO-ki, long 'o', long 'i'; Accent on 1st syllable.

Some Venues & Festivals Mokai has played: Yoshi's, SF, CA Cafe du Nord, SF, CA The Independent, San Francisco, CA Red Devil Lounge, SF, CA Elbo Room, SF, CA Bazaar Cafe, SF, CA Dolores Park Cafe, SF, CA Sleeping Lady, Fairfax, CA Starry Plough, Berkeley CA San Gregorio General Store Harmony Festival, Santa Rosa, CA Aroma Roaster's, Santa Rosa, CA North Beach Jazz Festival, SF, CA SolFest, Hopland,CA Green Festival, SF, CA SF Free Folk Festival Humboldt Folklife Festival, Earthdance, Laytonville, CA

*live studio performances

Sounds Like: Mokai's music encompasses the poetic irreverence of Ani DiFranco and the grit and soulfullness of Ben Harper.

Influences: Dave Van Ronk, Big Bill Broonzy, Doc Watson, Mose Allison, Bob Marley, Fela Kuti, Gil Scott Heron, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Paul Simon.

Shared Bills with: David Lindley, Eric McFadden, David Jacobs-Strain, Garrin Benfield, Walter Strauss, Erika Luckett, Jeff Pehrson and Jim Brunberg (Box Set), AJ Roach, Austin Willacy, Shelley Doty, Etienne de Rocher, Joanne Rand, Mark Growden, Walter Strauss, Teja Gerken, James Nash (The Waybacks), Shaun Cromwell