During the early days of my music career, I was a buyer for a chain of music stores in Texas called Brook Mays Music Company. I bought reeds, mouthpieces, guitar strings, band instruments, metronomes, every instrument imaginable and banjos. Yes, banjos. Everyone had to have one. The movie Deliverance was in the theaters, and the public went wild for the dueling banjos. I never caught the fever. There was a New Yorker cartoon of the time depicting a rehearsal hall with a terraced orchestra of banjoists along with a tuxedoed conductor standing next to devil. The caption read, “This is your room, maestro.”
Steve Martin plays the banjo—very well, I hear. I think he is very funny but I am not following his banjo career. I was pretty much the same with anything about the ukulele. In my early life I have had several dogs with fleas but only one out-of-tune ukulele. The names Don Ho and Arthur Godfrey never screamed “PARTY!” to me. I would have liked to have known Tiny Tim if only to get closer to Miss Vicky. George Harrison had a go at the instrument.
Then, along comes Jake.
The New Yorker says, “Jake Shimabukuro is revolutionizing the perception of the ukulele. [You'll hear] the Hawaii native's lightning-fast fingers and revolutionary playing techniques and get a preview of his… album Peace Love Ukulele (Hitchhike Records, January 4th, 2011). …join gigantic festival audiences all over the world and millions of viewers on YouTube in enjoying the rock, blues, funk, classical, bluegrass, folk, flamenco, and jazz he plays—with just four strings and two octaves to work with.”
Ukuleles have gone viral.