Monday, September 3, 2012

Ukulele weeps by Jake Shimabukuro

I know many of you don't live in our area, but for those of you who do, I wanted to let you know about the Hatfield Hall Performing Arts Series at Rose Hulman in Terre Haute, IN.  We attended several of the events last year and were very impressed!  The variety and talent of the performers was outstanding! Here is a link to see the schedule and to purchase tickets for this year's events, if you're interested.

In trying to decide which concerts we would want to attend this season I researched the performers, mostly by checking to see if any of their songs were posted on YouTube.  I found several videos for Jake Shimabukuro, one of the artists who will be performing in the series whom I had never heard of.  What an incredible musician!  I was amazed he could get such sounds out of a ukelele!  His performance is scheduled on Friday, November 9, 2012, at Hatfield Hall.  This video was the first I listened to.  It has had over 10,000,000 views so I'm surprised I had never heard of him!  Because he plays many different musical styles I'm posting 3 videos as a sampling.

Here is an excerpt from his bio on his website:

Jake Shimabukuro

"“Forget everything you know about the ukulele…and go do a Google search. The first video that pops up won’t be some grainy clip of Tiny Tim or George Formby but a performance by a hair-gelled 34-year old Hawaiian named Jake Shimabukuro.” – Time magazine feature
It’s rare for a young musician to earn comparisons to the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis. It’s even harder to find an artist who has entirely redefined an instrument by his early thirties. But Jake Shimabukuro (she-ma-boo-koo-row) has already accomplished these feats, and more, in a little over a decade of playing and recording music…on the ukulele.
Yes, the ukulele. In the hands of Shimabukuro, the traditional Hawaiian instrument of four strings and two octaves is stretched and molded into a complex and bold new musical force. On his most recent album ‘Peace Love Ukulele’ (which debuted at #1 on the Billboard World Album Chart), Jake and his “uke” effortlessly (it seems) mix jazz, rock, classical, traditional Hawaiian music, and folk, creating a sound that’s both technically masterful and emotionally powerful…and utterly unique in the music world. No less than the New York Times recently noted his “buoyant musicianship” and “brisk proficiency,” adding, “the innovation in his style stems from an embrace of restrictions: the ukulele has only four strings and a limited range. He compensates with an adaptable combination of rhythmic strumming, classical-style finger-picking and fretboard tapping.” Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam who recently released his own album of ukulele songs had this to say about Jake: “Jake is taking the instrument to a place that I can’t see anybody else catching up with him.”
For Shimabukuro, his life has always centered on the ukulele. He started playing the instrument at the age of 4, at the urging of his mother (who also played). “Everyone plays in Hawaii,” he says. “But I became obsessed with it.”
Originally raised on traditional Hawaiian music, Shimabukuro soon became entranced by the sounds of top 40 and rock. “I’d turn on the radio and try to play along to pop tunes,” he remembers...."  To continue reading click here.
If you are interested in hearing Jake but don't live near Terre Haute, here is a link to his schedule:

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