Courtesy of UCSB Arts & Lectures, I was able to catch a free concert in Storke Plaza featuring one of the world's most celebrated ukulele players, Jake Shimabukuro. Before performing at his sold-out Campbell Hall show, Shimabukuro performed songs off of his new record, Peace Love Ukulele. On a warm Santa Barbara afternoon, Shimabukuro took the stage and performed for hundreds of eager listeners who had flocked to campus in order to see one of YouTube's biggest musical sensations. Of amicable demeanor and presence, Shimabukuro sprinkled his set with charming stories and insights into the craft of his both delicate and powerful sound. Taught by his mother in his native Hawaii, Shimabukuro recounted stories of young love in "143," dazzled the audience with his rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody" and paid homage to the victims of the Japanese earthquake with the ancient Japanese folk song "Cherry Blossoms." With his inclination to transcend the rigid boundaries of genre, Shimabukuro demonstrated the unique propensity for the ukulele to combine two seemingly different musical worlds into one beautiful and unifying presentation. It was such a pleasure to see such an innovator of profound musical virtuosity and enthusiastic sincerity. I am so excited to see what he does next!
Check out his most famous cover, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" here: