As one of over a million people in Hawaii who were told on January 13, 2018 that they were about to be hit by a nuclear missile, renowned Hawaii artist Makana said,
Waking to an alert of a nuclear attack in Hawaii got me thinking. Why is this even a possibility?
When Makana found out that the US and Russiapossess over 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons, he was inspired to travel to Russia:
“I wanted to experience this other country, people and land first hand. This journey led to the creation of relationships and then art to share with the public on both sides of the ocean. My intention is to inspire and remind us all to humanize one another, to dignify and be curious about each other. The conversations that do get broadcast are political conversations, of threat, of geopolitics. But those conversations have virtually nothing to do with the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people in our two nations. We need to create direct relationships. It’s the only way that we – nationally and individually – will ever achieve security and peace.”
Makana performed benefit concerts for audiences in Moscow and St. Petersburg organized by Bruce Allyn and Cynthia Lazaroff, who, after also experiencing the gut-punch of the Hawaii Missile Scare, founded NuclearWakeUpCall.Earth to awaken people to today’s unprecedented nuclear danger.
In the words of former U.S. Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, “Today, the danger of some sort of nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger… we are allowing ourselves to sleepwalk into a nuclear catastrophe. We must wake up.”
We are today in an unchecked new arms race, with decades-old arms treaties collapsing and unimaginably deadly new sci-fi weapons systems being developed. The U.S. and Russia have stopped cooperating in critical areas of nuclear risk-reduction.
Russian friends told tour organizers about Bunker 703, a recently declassified, once top-secret and now deserted nuclear bomb shelter deep underground in Moscow, formerly a repository for the Soviet Foreign Ministry’s archives, disguised as a chocolate factory during the Cold War.
Led by a Russian soldier, Makana was the first American ever to descend into Bunker 703. Makana was inspired to improvise a song on the spot. What we witness in the video is the process of lyrics and music being created and sung for the very first time.
“Standing in the tomb-like space, my soul began to cry in the form of song,” says Makana.
The moment was captured on film with a hand-held camera and microphone.
In one take, Makana created the haunting ballad, Mourning Armageddon, both a song of mourning and a call to action.
Mourning Armageddon was all shot on location in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Images inside the bunker are otherworldly, indelible. The surreal acoustics reverberate inside a chamber, hermetically sealed and deep enough to withstand a nuclear blast–evoking the sound of a kind of nuclear chamber music, a post-apocalyptic “wake for the world.”
“We’re in bed with annihilation” Makana says, “There is a phrase in Hawaiian, “Kū’ē i ka papau make” (Resist annihilation). “It’s time for people everywhere to do that.”