Posts Tagged ‘Jake Shimabukuro’

There are sensory perceptions that we carry throughout our lives.  It might be a sound, a smell, an image that once brought to mind brings forth the atmosphere and feeling of the time in which they first entered our consciousness.

The smell of a cooking turkey instantly returns me to my childhood and the farmhouse where we lived. It would be Thanksgiving and  I can see Mom’s old formal dining table with the heavy chairs that surrounded it. It’s a long table with all the extending leafs in place and it’s surface is covered with the bounty of Thanksgiving, the mashed potatoes, canned cranberry sauce, stuffing and so on. Just the tiniest whiff of a roasting turkey always — and I mean always–sends me hurtling through time back to that table.

The same is true with certain songs. Take for instance, the song In My Life from the Beatles. Hearing those opening chords always sends me back to same big old farmhouse that played such a big part in my formative years. I can see the old floral wallpaper in the living room and there’s a big console record player with cloth covered speakers on its front and two sliding panels on top that uncover a turntable on one side and the controls for a radio on the other. Those opening chords have me immediately standing in front of that record player with the light from the large windows in that room filtering through Mom’s frilled white cotton curtains. On the wall there was a reproduction of a schlocky painting — I think it was a red covered bridge–printed on thick cardboard that was bought at the Loblaws grocery store.

It’s a good memory. I felt safe in that place, free to imagine places and adventures I hoped for in the future. It was a good place to foster some of the thoughts and observations that direct my paintings to this very day.

That’s my intro for this week’s Sunday morning music. I thought instead of playing the original Beatles version of In My Life which is understandably a favorite of mine, I would opt instead for one from Bette Midler with a beautiful accompaniment on ukelele from uke wizard Jake Shimabukuro. The feeling of his playing on this song works for me as much as the original in bringing back that earlier time and place.

Give a listen, think about some of those sensations that trigger your own memories and have a good Sunday.


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Well, my show for next week’s opening at the Principle Gallery has been delivered.  It was an easy day of traveling, the traffic relatively light and no major aggressors menacing the four-lanes.  Smooth.

Going through Pennsylvania there are these large gas stations/convenience store plazas that line Rte. 15.  Sheetz runs a number of these always bustling havens for the road traveler.  They have dozens of gas pumps and fast food and aisles of snacks.  They’re almost always packed with cars and people.  As I drove  yesterday, I noticed one such plaza that was almost empty, shockingly.  I looked at the sign and noticed the colors.  It was a BP-ran plaza. The actual BP logoat the top of an obelisk-like sign  had been covered with what looked to be  heavy white plastic that had been shrink-wrapped around it, obscuring the logo except for the outline of their trademark sun symbol.  Apparently, the driving public had cast a vote of extreme disapproval for the company in the most potent way– with their buying dollars.  It was an interesting thing to note and, while I wish no business harm, it heartened me to see that people were making conscious choices and, in their way, voicing an opinion with their pocketbooks rather than just shrugging it off as another “Oh well, what can I do about it?” moment.

Just interesting.

Also, I heard a story on NPR about the ukulele revival around the world.  I have featured ukulele pieces here a couple of times, with the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro, so I was happy to hear that I wasn’t alone in my admiration of this much maligned instrument.  Apparently, for many years now, many schools throughout Canada use the uke in teaching music to elementary grade students, giving each kid their own ukulele.  On this program, they played a clip of a performance where a large number of the audience had brought their own ukes and at a point in the concert joined with the onstage performers in a version of Keep on the Sunny Side of Life.  It was great and made me wish that people were required to carry ukuleles with them at all times.  How can you be mad with a uke in your hands?

Anyway, here’s a peformance from the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain that doesn’t feature the uke but is  great fun nonetheless.  Sounds pretty good on a Saturday when I can relax for a bit now that my studio is emptied…

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It’s Friday.  Time for a little respite from the week.

Here’s a great version of George Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps performed by ukelele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro, a performer who has stretched the perception of what a uke can be.  Beautiful playing…

Enjoy your Friday and if you’re in the Corning area tonight, stop in at the opening for the Little Gems exhibit at the West End Gallery.  It’s always a lively crowd and there’s something for everyone in this show.

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