The OH and I often get a subscription to the Stanford Lively Arts performance series. This year we got the subscription mainly to see Itzhak Perlman, and we also took a flyer on a performance of Hawaiian music on ukulele and slack-key guitar, which took place last night.
We had walked right into a Phenomenon. The star performer, Jake Shimabukuro, has a huge fan following - the show we attended had sold out on subscription, and a second show, added at the last minute, had also sold out.
I can't really do justice to his performance with words, except to say that at times he played his electrified ukulele so that it sounded like an entire rock band including percussion, that he never stopped grinning, and that whenever he sat down to play something he ended up waving one foot in the air in sheer glee. And I can list the program:
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
"Blue Roses Falling" (orig.)
"Sapporo" (Japanese trad., from an arrangement for koto and samisen)
"Ave Maria" (Schubert)
Blues (trad.) into "Reelin' & Rockin'" (Jerry Lewis) into Blues
Duets with Steve Sono
"Fair Is the Wind of Kohala" (Hawaiian trad.)
"Basho Fu" (Okinawan trad.)
"Hikaru Kaigara (Pearly Shells)" (Yamazaki Masayoshi)
Medley of Spanish-sounding stuff
"Spain" (Chick Corea)
"Comfortable" (John Barrington? Herrington?)
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (George Harrison)
"Selections from Caprice 24" (Nicolo Paganini)
"Misty" (Errol Garner)
"Orange World" (orig.)
Encore (with Steve Sano)
Hawaiian trad. song
His enthusiasm was truly infectious. Also infectious was the "squealing fangirl" enthusiasm of two women in their 40s or so, sitting in front of us. One of them kept raising her hand apparently hoping he'd notice her.
When I got home I did some more digging and discovered that he has a huge following in Japan, including a #1 album in Okinawa.