Merrell Fankhauser


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The band MU was formed in 1969 when Merrell Fankhauser teamed up with Jeff Cotton of Captain Beefheart’s band. Both of them had had successful careers in the surf music craze of the mid-60s.

MU’s first album was released in 1971 and became an instant hit on FM radio in Los Angeles and numerous major cities across the United States. MU was heralded by critics and reviewers as one of the most innovative groups of the 70´s. They began playing clubs and concerts in Los Angeles and became popular at the famous Coconut Groove and the Century Plaza Hotel. But instead of staying in the secure atmosphere of the elite Hollywood crowd they decided to turn elsewhere for their artistic inspiration.

When it was discovered that the Hawaiian Islands could have remnants of the sunken Mu civilization, the band decided to move to the island of Maui. In 1974 Merrell Fankhauser was living in a jungle shack on Maui with his group MU and violinist Mary Lee. Their lifestyle was mystically oriented and they followed a vegetarian diet.

Around this same time the Tibetan Lama Kar Mapa came to the island for a meditation retreat that was sponsored by one of Merrell’s neighbors in the jungle. Merrell and Mary thus became the first westerners to play modern music for the Lama. The unique quality of the songs came through and has passed the test of time.

Merrell’s music is gently flowing and filled with love. It conjures up images of a Polynesian paradise isle with shimmering waterfalls, waving palms and mysterious ruins.. The perfect sounds to warm up a cold winter night.