Tag Archives: education

Jake Shimabukuro interview, Oct. 2014

While His Ukulele Laughs

Ukulele genius Jake Shimabukuro returns to Campbell Hall, Thursday Oct 23, 8pm

Presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures

“Music is not just the universal language, but it’s the language of the universe. It is the language of human emotion – and whether you play an instrument or not, you communicate in this language every day. Music is not heard, it is felt. Music is in a smile, a hand on the shoulder, a pat on the back, a gentle kiss on the forehead. It’s in the way we treat people, help a friend, love our family. Music is everywhere.”  

Jake Shimabukuro

Jake Shimabukuro, credit Adam Jung

Jake Shimabukuro, credit Adam Jung

An aura of inherent boyishness infuses ukulele star Jake Shimabukuro: the gee-whiz adventurousness of an extreme skateboarder, game to go for the impossible, coupled with a disarming humility and genuineness that wonders at his skyrocketed popularity. The Hawaiian resident, Japanese-American by birth, shuns sophisticated framings of his virtuosity, insisting that the essence of music is the communication of feelings, and that the ukulele is essentially a child’s voice. Since the age of four he has regarded the seeming limitations of four strings and two octaves as an attractive challenge rather than a deterrent, just itching for defiance. Shimabukuro is a rebel, but a rebel with causes that reach beyond his own career, and even the immeasurable extension of the ukulele universe. His non-profit Four Strings Foundation is picking up where under-funded public music education is failing, providing ukuleles, materials and training to teachers nationwide. The master performer and string wizard, renowned for his jaw-dropping covers of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” returns to Campbell Hall by popular demand, after his hit Arts & Lectures show in 2011. Shimabukuro took a few minutes out of his crammed “Uke Nations” tour to field a few questions from the Independent.

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Santa Barbaran Daniel Godinez hitches his wagon to the stars

July 2012—It’s Saturday morning and 15-year-old Daniel Godinez catches the bus from his home twelve miles outside of Santa Barbara. With transfers and delays, he pieces together a two-hour circuitous ride to the Museum of Natural History, the sprawling stucco and tile casa ranchero-inspired building, nestled creek-side amidst foothills that rise into mountains. He walks along an empty parking lot, past an enormous blue whale skeleton, through the adobe entrance, and cuts a diagonal across the open courtyard. Pulling the door open, marked “Gladwin Planetarium,” he feels his way along a dark aisle towards control booth, and senses the awesome presence of the shadowed dome overhead, as if being watched. In less than an hour seats will fill for the first show of the day; but for now he is alone. This is Daniel’s moment; he is about to turn on the universe.

If you had happened to take a seat that morning, leaning back, you would have been guided through the wonders of our solar system and beyond, by an upbeat and articulate astronomer who appears far too young to be versed in 14 billion years of cosmic arcana. How did this young man get to where he is? When did the stars begin to glow in his sky? Continue reading