Jake Shimabukuro is a well-known ukulele player, a ‘local boy’, raised and still living on Oahu.
Ukulele is big in Hawaii. You know how in many main-land schools kids learn to read music by playing the recorder? (at least that’s how it was done when I was growing up). In Hawaii many kids are fortunate to have group ukulele lessons at school. Yes, an ukulele is ‘just’ a small four-string guitar, and I personally have wondered why it is considered cool particularly by so many boys/men to play the ukulele. Regardless, many consider it cool, and when played well, it is beautiful to listen to.
My son loved the concert and was hopefully inspired to continue practicing. One of the highlights for us was staying behind after the concert to meet Jake. Yes, we took a picture of my son with Jake, but…. I don’t post pictures of my kids on this blog, I’m sorry.
I do have a funny story though. As we walked into the Maui Arts and Cultural Center courtyard, we were surprised at how many people were bringing ukuleles to the concert. Frankly I was a bit concerned – after all, I had paid for tickets to hear Jake Shimabukuro play, not his fan club. However, I’m happy to report, I couldn’t hear extra strumming from the audience during the concert. However, during intermission and after the concert there was a group of ukulele enthusiasts (perhaps 8-10) sitting in a circle in the courtyard, playing their favorite ukulele music as a group. Sort of an ‘after-glow’ to the concert, if you will. Additionally there were a few individuals in other nooks and crannies of the courtyard, playing their versions of Jake’s songs. I sure have never seen that before at a concert. A number of them did have Jake sign their ukuleles when he came out, about an hour after the show.
In addition to the regular ukulele-playing ‘groupies’, we also spotted two ‘supreme groupies’ leaving the property, one carrying four ukulele cases, another six. I don’t think they were selling ukuleles on property that night, so I’m not sure what their deal was. It did give us something to laugh about as we waited for Jake post-concert.