By Dan

Until the other week I had never met a “famous person.” I am proud to say that has officially changed.

Have you ever seen the beautiful rendition of While My Guitar Gently Weeps played on ukulele in Central Park, NYC? If so, you’ve seen Jake Shimabukuro.  If not, you should go look it up on YouTube right now because it really is incredible. The very same Jake is currently touring the U.S. and one of his recent stops was UNCW. Of course, this was a concert I had to see. Although I wouldn’t call myself a ukulele player, especially after being blown away at how awesome Jake is, I do dabble around on my tie-dye uke (a beautiful gift from Casey). And I have been a fan of Jake Shimabakuro since I started. I’m happy to say that his performance at UNCW did not disappoint. The show was 2 hours of non-stop, mind-blowing speed and sound. I still do not understand how he can make a song with so much quality and depth using just 4 strings and 2 octaves. Throughout the concert Jake  just chilled on the stage, explained the meaning behind each of his songs, and then rocked out on the uke.  There was no singing or accompaniment, but it definitely was not needed.  Not only did he play his own stuff, but he also covered songs from various genres and artists, including the flamenco classic “Let’s Dance” and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” By far one of the most amazing concerts I have ever attended.

Jake Shimabukuro, A Cruising Couple

Since the venue was relatively small we had a chance to wait after the show and meet Jake himself. As I mentioned earlier, I had never met anyone “famous” before, so I was pretty nervous. What do you say in 30 seconds to someone so talented? As we waited, my roommate was nice enough to bring my uke from the apartment so I could get it signed. But what if he wanted me to play something? I would be so embarrassed. Eventually, it was our turn and we shook hands and I told him my name. My roommate mentioned Casey and I were getting married in May and he congratulated us. We had a nice little chat about our wedding and future plans. He signed my uke and a CD, and after a few more small exchanges we parted with hugs all around and no uke playing on my side. He was extremely personable after already greeting people for an hour and I couldn’t help but feel like we were best buds by the time I left. I definitely could not have been more impressed with the entire experience.

So there’s my plug. Go check out Jake Shimabakuro—you won’t be disappointed.