The Ukulele Dragon...Jake Shimabukuro
This is the first of a series of blogs on ukulele players. I thought I would start with the guy that most people associate the ukulele with. I just had the pleasure of seeing him in concert and meeting him. The man I am talking about is the one who I call, the Ukulele Dragon, Jake Shimabukuro. I am still in awe of his live show and the skill and grace with which he played. The music seems to just flow through him, not many players can do that.
I guess I should start at the beginning, where most people were first introduced to his greatness. His You Tube video of “While my guitar gently weeps.” As you watch, the goosebumps start to shake your neck. How the hell is he able to do that on a ukulele? It is simple- he Jake and he is the Ukulele Dragon. He is exactly what the ukulele represents, peace, love and ukulele.
I still remember showing the video to my uncle and he started to weep. This was after he told me that the ukulele would be my true voice. I wanted to show him where it can be taken. I mentioned in my first blog about my music journey that started with him and Clapton. George Harrison is not only Clapton's best friend but he is up there as well, as an influence to me and my uncle. Well, I guess my ukulele journey really started with my Uncle Troy, George Harrison and Jake bringing us all together.
The first album I got was “Peace, Love and Ukulele” and it blew me away. Not soon after I got “Grand Ukulele," which is in my top 5 albums of all time. Jake has to be what Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Django Reinhardt were to the guitar. He shows the way it should be played and shows you how far you can take a 2 octave jumping flea. He will always push me to be a better player and musician.
I could just keep going on and on like a bumbling super fan and write all the praises of Mr. Shimabukuro. I feel he can speak his voice better than I can. So, if you are not familiar with him, go to YouTube like I did and start your ukulele education. If you are already a fan of him, then this blog probably says what you already feel in your soul for him and his music.
Thank you, Jake, for your skill, grace and humility. You showed me to love this instrument and trust in it to take me on the next step in my music journey. You embody my music mantra, Let the music set you free.