We had front row seats in the Cistern at the College of Charleston for the Jake Shimabukuro concert, part of the Wachovia Jazz Series of the Spoleto Festival. It may sound like we were all wet, but the Cistern [Yard] is a lovely tree-filled walled-in square between the main building and the gate lodge of the college. The outdoor concert began at 9:00 PM and Jake and his ukelele jumped right in with a flamenco tune - "Let's Dance." As the Spoleto flyer states, Jake is "renowned for lightning-fast fingers and revolutionary playing techniques... which has transformed the ukulele from a traditional Hawaiian instrument into a source of unlimited musical possibilities."
|Photo from the Spoleto flyer|
Jake then did his best to imitate the 13-string Japanese instrument, the "koto", with his 4-string ukelele, playing the Japanese folk song "Sakura, Sakura" ("Cherry Blossoms, Cherry Blossoms"). Next he imitated a guitar for The Beatles' song "In My Life".
Jake learned how to play an Egyptian rhythm from Ralph MacDonald of the Jimmy Buffet Band, and with it composed "Trapped." "Five Dollars, Unleaded" was a fun song describing a peppy vehicle which then runs out of gas, but with $5 unleaded (his dad always said this phrase to the gas station attendant), it becomes peppy again. After yet another session in his room behind a locked door, Jake composed "Piano Forte" where his two octave ukelele limits the range he can imitate on a piano. Another of his original songs that he played was "Orange World" inspired by bluegrass and the musicians he met while on tour with Bela Fleck & the Flecktones.
Jake continued with "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" by George Harrison, his rendition of the ballad, that was put on YouTube and launched his career. Jake finished with "3rd Stream," but of course Charleston Spoleto audiences always stand and applaud for an encore, and Jake provided one with the Hawaiian melody "Crazy G."
An hour and 20 minutes of a wide variety of music with a variety of techniques (how does he make the ukelele thump instead of twang?). See what the local critic said.
We actually started our day at the Piccolo Spoleto Craft Fair, and found one new unusual artist who put toy figures in real scenes for some fun photos. Some of our favorites were "Martini Family Reunion," "Time to Glaze the Donuts," "Minor Adjustments," and "Lily." To view them, see the photos by Lorri Honeycutt.
A couple other notable artists: Marie-Helene Grabman and her daughter who do "Scherenschnitte" or scissor-cutting; papercutting with incredible detail. There is no way you can appreciate the detail from these photos, even on the website.
|Detail from MH Grabman website|
One more artist! Ignatius Creegan and Rod Givens, of Ignatius Hats, made whimsical hats, mostly from straw.
|Grace Church dessert with|
fresh whipped cream and a flower
After leaving Marsha and Jim, we drove up and down the streets of Charleston, ending up at Jestine's Kitchen, an old favorite for southern home cooking. Meatloaf and a shrimp po'boy, and okra gumbo, yum! We had a couple hours to walk off all of the day's calories before the Shimabukuro concert.