Defied Expectations

Jake Shimabukuro

For too long, the ukulele has been looked upon as the emasculated cousin of the already fey acoustic guitar. Outside of Hawaiian music, most people's impressions of the ukulele are rooted firmly in the eccentric world of Tiny Tim or effete sepia-toned dandies with straw boaters attempting to serenade their unrequited loves from rickety canoes. However, thanks once more to the boundless wonder of the Internet, your mind can be gently blown by witnessing firsthand the power of the instrument when weilded by a master. I had stumbled across a link to a video titled "While My Ukulele Gently Weeps." Thinking it would be good for a laugh, I checked it out and found instead a genuinely beautiful, technically masterful performance of the song. The virtuoso was an unassuming young man named Jake Shimabukuro, who has since gone on to tour with Jimmy Buffett—but don't hold that against him. He's also been named an official Hawaiian goodwill ambassador to Japan, which makes sense as it's pretty hard to not have your will made good by his fluid, dextrous playing. This upcoming Saturday, Shimabukuro is bringing his slim fingers to the Coach House to spread the ukulele good news and perhaps inspire a legion of skeptics to reconsider the instrument. Oddly enough, his legendary video of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" doesn't seem to be accessible from his website (www.jakeshimabukuro.com) but if you're feeling typey, you can check it out at www.youtube.com/watch?v=-J30S6hkiyU. And please, no jokes about how much the guy must get leid.


Jake Shimabukuro with the Usual Suspects and the Brothers Lekas at the Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, #C, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 496-8930; www.thecoachhouse.com. Sat., 8 p.m. $12.

 
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