Mako Willett


Mako is a traditional Okinawan music performer who plays in the NW area, primarily in Seattle.  She performs solo and also leads a group called Mako and Munjuru presenting music, dance, and story telling from Okinawa. Mako has played with the traditional Ryuukyuuan full ensemble for various events through out the Pacific Northwest,  Hawaii and Okinawa, Japan. She is a member of a musical troupe based in Honolulu called Ukwanshin Kabudan who works to help perpetuate the tradition of music and art of Okinawa.

Okinawan music and arts are closely related to Chinese; though Japanese, it is uniquely its own. The main instrument played is called sanshin, a 3 stringed lute, whose body is covered with python skin and looks more like the Chinese version than the Japanese lute. The songs/language used is an ancient language of Okinawa.  This language is considered to be one of endangered languages in the world today. As of 2009, UNESCO recognized and included Okinawan language aka Ryuukyuuan language to be protected from disappearing completely.

Watch: Mako live at Jack Straw

Artist Support Program 2019: Recordings of Okinawan music, both folk and classical, on the sanshin.

Sound Clips
  • Mako - Portal
    Mako - Nuchibana
Recent Posts
Announcing Summit Sound, a public audio gallery at the Seattle Convention Center

December 19, 2023

Jack Straw is thrilled to announce Summit Sound, an audio gallery at the new Seattle Convention Center Summit Building on Pine St. Summit Sound was envisioned by the SCC Art Program as “an outdoor space where residents and visitors can immerse themselves in one of our region’s revered creative disciplines–sound.” As the new home to […]

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Wooden bench and platform adjacent to a glass and metal building in the background. Speakers mounted on black columns over the bench.

Categories: Art and Heritage Partnerships, Artist Support Program, Writers Program, Youth Education Programs

Jack Straw Artists at Westcrest Park this weekend!

September 3, 2021

Created Commons at Westcrest Park Jack Straw Artist Performances: September 4-5, 4-8pm Westcrest Park, Seattle FREE (Donations requested for Real Rent Duwamish) As part of the City of Seattle’s Created Commons initiative, Jack Straw’s partner Lelavision has invited us to collaborate on a neighborhood celebration featuring BIPOC-centered performances, wellness offerings, and science panels utilizing their […]

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Created Commons Westcrest Park flyer

Categories: Artist Support Program, Writers Program

Support Jack Straw Artists on Bandcamp Friday!

August 7, 2020

The music-retailing website Bandcamp is waiving their fees to artists on the first Friday of every month. Here are some of the many Jack Straw artist projects you can buy, with the artists getting the full purchase price! Fox Hunt: Blue Waves C.R. Grimmer: O-(ezekiel’s wife) Mako: Portal Nic Masangkay: Dark at Dusk: The Final […]

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SassyBlack - Ancient Mahogany Gold

Categories: Artist Support Program

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