Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Ukulele, redefined

by Diane Miller | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Music | November 7th, 2013

Photo Credit: Danny Clinch

Jake Shimabukuro performs at the Fargo Theatre

Why become a virtuoso ukulele player?

Strangely enough, perhaps the world’s greatest ukulele player, Jake Shimabukuro, in part, became one because of a comedian: Bill Cosby.

“One of the things I realized is music is just like comedy. It’s just about connecting with your audience — and Bill Cosby is a master at connecting with people,” Shimabukuro said from his home in Hawaii.

“There is just something about (Cosby’s) performance, his delivery and his presence that just makes you want to listen to every single word that comes out of his mouth.”

This Sunday, Nov. 10, Shimabukuro will attempt to get F-M locals to listen to every single note that comes out of his instrument.

Keep in mind that this musician doesn’t just chunk chords on the ukulele. In other words, this isn’t that “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” kind of ukulele playing that most of us are familiar with.

Shimabukuro treats his instrument as if he were a classical guitarist, plucking each of its four strings with grace and musical sophistication. He can take a familiar piece of music as complex as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “shrink” it to fit the range of a tiny, four-stringed instrument and then miraculously turn it into something nearly as elaborate, beautiful, fun and interesting as the original.

He certainly proved his arranging abilities with his dazzling version of George Harrison’s “While my Guitar Gently Weeps.” A video of Shimabukuro performing this tune for a New York TV show was uploaded to YouTube without his knowledge in 2006. Today, this video has more than 12 million hits.

“I’ll be the first to tell you that the YouTube clip was the one that started all of this for me,” Shimabukuro said. “I wouldn’t be doing what I was doing if it weren’t for that YouTube clip. I mean, of course I’d still be playing, but it would just be probably in my bedroom or in little coffee shops, you know.”

So again, why the ukulele? Why not play guitar instead? After all, it has more strings, more sound and seemingly more opportunities. Or the violin — it has about the same pitch range and number of strings as the ukulele, but there is much higher demand for violinists in this country.

Perhaps part of the reason is because Shimabukuro was born and raised in Hawaii, where the ukulele originated, and one was given to him when he was 4. Another reason has to do with his attraction to simplicity.

“I think one of the things that the ukulele has taught me is that you don’t need a lot of notes to work with to make music,” he said.

So rather than be burdened by the ukulele’s limitation, Shimabukuro expands on its strengths by purely experimenting with musicality.

Range doesn’t just have to come from the amount of notes you have or how high or low your notes are,” he explained. “People just want to hear melody — they want to hear beauty.”

Watching a comedy special, spending time with your loved ones or learning about a new culture are just a few ways Shimabukuro said can help generate new, creative or artistic ideas.

“Especially in the arts, it’s not just about studying your instrument or music. It’s about expression and expressing life experiences. It’s about getting out there and having new experiences and doing new things.”

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Jake Shimabukuro

WHERE: The Fargo Theatre

WHEN: Sun., Nov. 10, 7 p.m. (doors at 6 p.m.)

HOW MUCH: $32 or $49 for first five rows

Recently in:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Savanna’s Act passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate on Friday and will move to the U.S. House of Representatives.The bill, S. 1942, is named for Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band…

by Ryan Jankeryan.janke78@gmail.comI held it off for as long as I could, but the other day, I caved. I thought I was doing okay. I made all the strong arguments. I applied the five canons of rhetoric, just like you’re supposed…

Wednesday, December 12, 6 - 8 p.m.The Historic Holmes Theater, 806 Summit Avenue, Detroit LakesJoin legendary singer-songwriter Larry Long and Friends, along with Winona LaDuke for an evening of music and storytelling to benefit…

Title X was established in 1970 and is the only federal family planning program that provides grants to a number of providers of family planning and related health services. It was designed to provide information, supplies and…

What Is The Fastest Growing Religion?Recent surveys by the Pew Research Center and the Hartford Institute for Religious Research indicate that one in four Americans do not belong to any religion. In fact, the largest…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

It was Tuesday night, not an average night for a date, but with busy schedules you eat when time allows. I had been eyeing 46 North since in utero, the concept of pints and provisions is more easily stated by bar and grill, but…

Music

Midwest roots

by Sabrina Hornung

When Iowa born roots musician William Elliott Whitmore describes his latest album “Kilonova,” he likens it to a mixed tape, it’s all covers ranging from Magnetic Fields to Captain Beefheart, Jimmie Driftwood and more. He said…

Based on the subject’s candid memoir, “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” pulls back the curtain on the sexual escapades of Scotty Bowers, longtime bartender, World War 2 Marine Corps veteran, and pimp/arranger on…

“If I go to France and eat French food and write like the French. When I was in Yugoslavia I was working as a Yugoslavian. When I went to Paris for three years I worked with a French influence. Then I came here and I become…

by Nataly Routledgenatalyroutledge@googlemail.comMOORHEAD—Do you like theater? Do you have about 85 minutes of spare time? If your answers to these questions were yes, then it would be advantageous for you to know about Theater…

Those who have been reading my articles for a while may remember when I interviewed Zachary Tooker about the Level Two Comedy Club at the Radisson in Fargo. While the club may have unfortunately closed, Tooker has not ceased…

by Gabrielle Herschgabbyhersch@gmail.comphotography by Logan MacraeEver wish you could go to your favorite brewery without leaving your house? Finally, you can (sort of). Kilstone Brewing is now doing limited can releases of some…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

“(Søren) Kierkegaard…has opened our eyes to the shallowness of much of our pseudo-Christian life, and to the outright deception in politics which Christianity has been made to serve.” - William Hubben“The people starve…