Matisyahu Surprises Ukulele Player with Sing-A-Long and Temporary Prison Release

By Greg Olwell

The funny and strange tale of Maui ukulele player Clint Alama and reggae-rap artist Matisyahu continues to grow odder and more interesting.

Alama’s brush with fame begins in late July, when someone began to accompany him as he sung a cover of reggae artist Matisyahu’s song “One Day” in a Maui coffee shop. It turns out that the mystery audience member was Matisyahu himself, who heard his own song and began to sing along. He introduced himself after the song.


Matisyahu’s bass player Stu Brooks took a video of the performance and the special moment quickly gained the attention of the public. The video also caught the attention of local prosecutors who put out a warrant for his arrest on a probation violation after convictions for assault charges. Alama turned himself in once he heard of the warrant.

Despite this setback, Matisyahu and Brooks arranged with prosecutors to have Alama to perform with the group during its performance at the Hollywood Palladium last Friday night. The duo arranged form Alama to have a “supervised release” which permitted him to fly to LA to perform the show and to return to Maui for his prison time.

“It was easy to see that this was a nice young man, simply playing music to help spread a positive message and to help buy his next meal,” Brooks told Billboard. “I could see kindness in his eyes. I think this is a chance to change someone’s life.”