Grantee:  Liko Martin
Native Citizenship:  Native Hawaiian
Location:  Kaneohe, Hawaii
Award:  2015 Native Hawaiian Artist Fellowship
Discipline:  Music
Web Site:

Legendary songwriter Liko Martin will complete new compositions, including a rock opera, and release new recordings with support from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation.

Liko Martin is a legendary songwriter, storyteller and folk singer whose music and personal conviction has remained for decades on the front lines of two important movements for his people – to promote a Native Hawaiian cultural renaissance and aloha ‘āina, demonstrating a deep love and respect for the land and the sea through personal and political actions.

Martin has composed some of the most famous and popular songs of Hawaii, including works for Don Ho and other notable artists. He is the founder of Mountain Apple Productions and co-founder of the Kumu Honua Hawaiian Archipelago Wilderness Society. Martin’s unique activism through music has been featured in national and international news coverage on NPR, NBC, MSN and other media outlets.

Support from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation will allow the singer to continue work on “The Song of the Sandwich Islands,” a two-hour long rock opera with a cast of 21 performers retelling the joys, tragedies, love and survival issues of the Native Hawaiian Renaissance movement. Martin estimates completing the opera will take up to eight months and he plans for students of the Kanuikapono School to perform the completed work at the Kauai Community College Performing Arts Center in 2016.

During his fellowship year, Martin also plans to write new compositions, release a recording with Laulani Teale and to issue a recording of original family compositions featuring his mother Marion Shim, Andy Cummings and Gabby Pahinui.