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.”
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.