Posted: 12-11-2013
Jake Shimabukuro

Written by Chris Pendergast // Photography by Bryce Lafoon Photography

On Thursday, November 21, the Brooklyn Arts Center hosted one of the most talented musicians in the world, ukulele genius, Jake Shimabukuro. A sold-out BAC crowd spent an intimate evening in Brooklyn with Shimabukuro, who blew everyone away with his effervescent personality, engaging sense of humor, and musical intensity for two straight hours, performing classic rock covers, modern day hits, and his own originals.

Shimabukuro took the stage beneath a glow of blue and green lights. The audience fell silent, literally. Not a sound was heard except the four strings. When the Uke wizard took a break, he welcomed the crowd, “Aloha Wilmington,” and everyone went wild. “Thank you so much for being here,” Shimabukuro said, and he went on to rock and amaze the house. One song after the next he put on a musical display that was practically impossible to believe. “No way he can do that,” someone in the crowd said during one mind-blowing solo.

One incredible original song, Missing Three, was actually written by accident. While changing his strings, Shimabukuro wanted to see if he could play a ballad with three strings instead of four. As the crowd discovered, the master was more than up for the challenge and created one of his most beautiful compositions.

The one-man show captivated the crowd for the entire evening, first note to last. Shimabukuro used pedals and effects, transforming his uke into an electric guitar and jamming out riffs that would make Clapton sit up and say, “Are you serious?!” The song Dragon was a different take on the genre. Instead of just acoustic melodies, Shimabukuro looped a gorgeous combination of chords and decorated them with awe-inspiring licks. It was without a doubt, one of the most inspiring performances at the BAC yet.

The concert wrapped up with the extraordinary composition of George Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps, followed by a traditional Hawaiian piece, Akaka Falls. The sold-out crowd gave the artist a wild, standing ovation. Afterwards, Shimabukuro stayed in the lobby and shook hands with every fan that waited for him and also gave them an autograph for free. “It was one of the very best shows we’ve ever had here,” said BAC Executive Director Rich Leder. “Absolutely incredible.”


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