Nahko, an Oregon-native born a mix of Puerto Rican, Native American, and Filipino bloodlines considers himself a citizen in service to the planet. Disillusioned by the world around him and inspired by vagabond, Americana musicians and storytellers like Conor Oberst and Bob Dylan, Nahko left home as a teenager in search of adventure and self discovery. Armed with stories, a guitar, and a fierce set of ideals, he set out to bridge the cultural gaps dividing his own psyche. He began producing a public, musical journal of his journey toward personal, spiritual, and social healing, and thus Medicine for the People was born. Recently, Nahko discussed his successes, his philosophies, his music, and his life with Huffington Post, who called Nahko’s music “beautiful and stirring.” Nahko describes his music as a mix of hip-hop and folk rock with a world message.
The sound of his 12-string acoustic guitar is undeniable. While growing up in Australia, Makai began learning how to play the acoustic guitar at age twelve. After living in the Down Under for twenty solid years, Chase relocated to Hawaii where he met Nahko Bear. The two free-spirits bonded over their mutual love for surfing, skating and music… which facilitated them in forming the band Twisted Trees. Makai jumped on the Medicine for the People train in 2011 and the rest is history.
Wm. Justin Chittams was born in Washington, DC. His Father is a classically trained pianist and started Justin on his musical journey at a very young age. Justin started playing the trombone at age 6 and he got involved in playing in school bands and in the DC Youth Orchestra. His transition to the drums took place when he saw his older brother playing the drums at church, and followed in his footsteps. After years of gaining experience in the Church he began playing with a traveling choir that helped him expand his musicianship.
In 2008 Justin moved to Hilo Hawaii. He began studying Marine Biology, eventually switching to Music and Performing arts; which he later got his bachelor’s degree in 2013. After moving to Hawaii and graduating as a music major, music became his only focus. He began playing drums and singing with many different local rock, reggae and jazz groups such as N.Y.R, Big island swing, Wendell Ing and friends, The Steppas, Positive Motion along with many other local talents.
Justin currently works towards being a self-sustaining musician. Making music is his life’s work. He practices every day and is constantly expanding his instrumental and musical knowledge to ensure his success. Justin’s hope is that people can connect to his music and be inspired to always keep striving for their dreams and goals.
Patricio was born in Santiago Chile, carrying the indigenous blood of his Mapuche grandmother. At the age of 9, a football accident left him in bed, unable to walk for three months. His parents offered him the choice of a Nintendo or a guitar… he picked up the guitar. This was the beginning of a widely eclectic musical career that would carry him around the world from Chile, to Australia, through the islands of Indonesia all the way to Bali, where he met Nahko and played with Medicine for the People for the first time at the Bali Spirit Festival 2012.
He has played in many bands in Chile including, SantoBando, Orixango, Afrik, as well as his own projects in Bali; Gypsy Caveman and Mamba Hitam. He is a multi-instrumentalist playing instruments from around the world including the guitar, bass, percussion, piano, balafon, kora, ngoni, djembe, and anything that can make a sound.
His musical influences have varied greatly over the past 26 years with styles ranging from punk rock, metal, jazz, blues, reggae, African, and indigenous music.
The message Patricio delivers with his music is one of love, joy, and respect for all people and the Mother Earth. One that he hopes his two beautiful children, Eyebani and Antara will continue to pass along to future generations.
Berklee College of Music graduate, Max Ribner has built a solid reputation as a top-notch trumpet and flugelhorn musician. Max has been supporting Nahko Bear & Medicine for 9 years, beginning on the fertile islands of Hawaii. After graduating Berklee, Ribner began a journey, to seek music that came from a different place, music with a message & songs with deeper meaning. Once touching ground on Big Island he lived on sustainable farms to then be fireside with the bear. Before talking, Nahko & Max let the songs & melody soar to the heavens playing the horn lines that were whistled from the Bear in a call & response fashion. This was a pinnacle moment, a feeling of destiny & the beginning of a movement. From farmers markets of Portland, to troubled youth classes, schools, open mics, open lands and now across the continents, Ribner is deeply humbled by this opportunity to create with the tribe.
Thanks to the medicine, a sense of family and pack has formed not just in his life, but thousands of people across the nations. This is why he offers a piece of the peaceful bringing solid presence to the group. As the movement has grown from the ground up, Max has also formed a branch of his own music called Max Ribner Band creating community through his songs, empowering the youth & encouraging our people to discover purpose. Max has performed with such notable musicians as: Esperanza Spalding, Liv Warfield, Lettuce, Sara Tone, Everyone Orchestra, the Shook Twins, Rebelution, Ryan Montbleau, Zach Deputy, Freedom Tribe, Hassan Hakmoun, Dave Stringer, members of Tower of Power, Stevie Wonder, Prince & beyond.
Tim Snider wanted to play violin from a very early age. An Itzhak Perlman performance on Sesame Street when he was just three-and-a-half years old was his earliest musical inspiration, and it was classical music that first provided the impetus to learn his instrument. Over the years other influences came into play, from exposure to rock music (he dropped the violin and picked up a guitar), a Ben Harper gig turned him onto songwriting, and sojourns in Spain and Cuba introduced flamenco, salsa and Afro-Cuban rhythms into his repertoire. Returning to college, he spent a year studying jazz, and rediscovering his love of classical music – and went back to the violin.
While living in his van and traveling around the US in 2012, Tim first met his musical brother Max Ribner. Max invited him to come sit in with Nahko at a small 30 person capacity kava bar in Portland, OR. An immediate friendship and musical understand sparked and none of them could have known what was to come. Later Tim played strings on the Dark as Night album and is now touring the world with the band.
Tim has recorded and produced three of his own albums as well as worked with many other artists such as Talib Quali, the Trans Siberian Orchestra, Dave Eggar, Amber Rubarth, House of Waters, Saeeda Wright, Capela (Brazil), and many others.