Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Jake Shimabukuro

I just got back from seeing Jake Shimabukuro at the Ordway in St. Paul, and it was by far one of the most spectacular shows I have ever seen - the level of talent that Jake has is bar none. The man is witty, smartly calm and collected, and just amazing at rockin' out a ukulele (pronounced oo-koo-LAY-lay) all the while being aware of what his fingers are doing when they are strumming at roughly 1000 mph. For those of you unaware, Jake's the Yo-Yo Ma of the ukulele, and has in fact played with Yo-Yo Ma in addition to touring with Jimmy Buffet and Bela Fleck & the Flecktones. This Hawaiian native learned his first ukulele chords at the age of 4 and has been hooked ever since, eventually taking his skill to the level of complex covers and compositions on the ukulele to nations around the world. He asked local ukulele player Lucy Michelle of Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapells to play prior to him, which I thought was a wonderful way to spread the ukulele cheer in Minnesota. My favorite Jake performance of the night is difficult to pin down, as the "Piano Forte" brought me to tears (a very rare Lise reaction), and the George Harrison cover received the greatest audience approval due to the perfect rendition of a sacred classic, but I think I'd have to go with the ridiculous "Me & Shirely T.", a song dedicated to the high level of sugar-induced craziness he approached when he drank too many Shirley Temples as a child. His latest release is called My Life and he's coming out with a new CD of live performances that'll be released in the mainland on April 14th. If he comes to your town, you and everyone you know need to be there. Trust me.


Lo said...

Thanks for posting. I had never heard of this guy before and I was really impressed!

ukejon said...

Jake is an amazing talent and an even more amazing person. Truly a generous soul. His energized music turned me from a lifelong guitar player into a total uke nut. A friend and I are recording a duet of Piano Forte and when we have it up I will let you know.



Anonymous said...

Here is what Dom and I came up with: