Mokai Biography

Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitarist
Singer-songwriter Mokai Official Bio

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 package–incredible live!”

Mokai has made hundreds of appearances at festivals, house concerts, coffeehouses, nightclubs, and on radio stations. He has appeared at rallies and benefits, and in hospitals and shelters as part of Bread and Roses.

Mokai’s 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.


What Others Say

Radio and Press Quotes

“Very 21st century lyrics to a fingerpicking style that originated from the Piedmont style of blues guitar picking. Reminds me a lot of Dave Van Ronk, of the great folk scare of the 60s.”
Kevin Vance, Across the Great Divide – KPFA


“…a fine performer and a helluva guitarist.”
Stevie Coyle – Mighty Fine Guitars


“Great message in a vivid, deftly expressed package! Even more incredible live….”
Rosalie Howarth – KFOG FM


“…jazzy, jammy, bluesy structures around earthly laments, tales of ordinary folks, and the human struggle in general.”
Kelly Vance, Stefanie Kalem – East Bay Express


“Mokai is a fine guitarist with eclectic arrangements.”
Derk Richardson – KPFA FM


“Toe-tappin’ blues riffs, catchy, interesting melodies, and innovative instrumentation.”
Performer Magazine


“You really honor the tradition of folk and songwriting.”
Anonymous Audience Member


Some Venues

Some Venues & Stages Mokai has played:


The Lost Church, SF, CA • Red Poppy Arthouse, SF, CA • Lagunitas Brewery, Sonoma, CA • Hopmonk Brewery, Sonoma, CA • Point Richmond Concerts, Point Richmond, CA • The Monkey House, Berkeley, CA • Subterranean Arthouse, Berkeley, CA • Aroma Roasters, Santa Rosa, CA • Sleeping Lady, Fairfax, CA • Bazaar Cafe, SF, CA • Cafe du Nord, SF, CA • Dolores Park Cafe, SF, CA • Starry Plough, Berkeley, CA • San Gregorio General Store.



American River Music Festival • Strawberry Music Festival • North Beach Jazz Festival • SolFest • Reggae on the River • Earthdance • Harmony Festival • San Francisco Folk Festival • Berkeley Folk Festival • El Cerrito Folk Festival.

Download this Hi-res Photo of Mokai – Michael Rauner Photography

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