Gently Weeps

Islands as destinations and way points between distant lands bring a lot of diverse people together. In the 1980's and 90's George Harrison spent a good deal of time at his house in Nahiku, on the rugged northeast coast of Maui. The house is located near the cliffs, surrounded by 63 acres of land. I used to see it often as I flew past on my way to nearby Hana airport or to the Big Island.

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Thanks to my flight instructor Jon Muralt at Maui Aviators for this picture.

At the Borders Bookstore on Maui where I worked for a while, George recommended the movie "Baraka" (1992) to a friend of mine. If you have never seen it, let me pass on the recommendation to you. It is a stunningly beautiful look at the planet we live on, the people who share it, and what is happening to it, set to music.

One of Harrison's songs that really strikes a chord (sorry about that) with me is "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" - both the tune and the lyrics.

A young man (about 30 now) who has performs this tune exceptionally well, even to the delight of Harrison's widow, is Jake Shimabukuro, a master of ukulele who was born and raised on Oahu. Jake has played ukulele since he was four years old and has become an icon in Hawaii. With his many trips to Japan has won accolades both for his skill as a musician and his contribution to Hawaii-Japan relations and tourism.

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You may have seen this popular clip before. If so, enjoy it yet again. I think this "kid" is awesome.

So many threads came together in Hawaii in this performance. Jake, whose ancestors were from Japan, George, from England, and the ukulele which was developed in Hawaii by three men from Portugal based on two instruments in that country. Another special gift of Hawaii and the people it brings together.


The Moody Minstrel said...

I watched that clip with my mouth hanging open...

All I can say is WOW!!!

And there are still lots of people who regard the ukelele as little more than a party favor...?

(Now seriously considering that old and apparently valuable Martin & Co. ukelele of mine that is sitting in a closet at my parents' house...)

Pandabonium said...

Oooo - a Martin & Co. Those can indeed be valuable and they are said to have a really nice sound.

I think a lot of people get the same impression about the instrument, unless they get a chance to hear one played well.

Don Snabulus said...

That is some really good stuff. My grandpa was stationed in Hawaii during WWII and he learned to play the ukelele. He was a strummer, but an entertaining one who would get the whole family singing together.

Cool stuff.

Old Broad said...


nzm said...

That is just awesome ukelele playing - not at all what I'm used to!


Thanks for sharing with us.

Martin J Frid said...

That was beautiful. It is a bit like the wooden recorder, it can also be a truly beautiful instrument, if played well, but unfortunately most of us just remember how it sounded when we were 10 years old.

Thanks for a great clip.

Pandabonium said...

Don - definitely a fun family instrument for sing alongs. Both my daughters learned to strum it in school.

Old Broad - glad you liked it.

NZM - he is amazing. I like the sound of his tenor Uke too - a bit more mellow sounding.

Martin - yes, I can relate to that. It just shows that it isn't the instrument, but what you do with it.

ladybug said...

My daughter and I truly enjoyed Hawaii as when we visited 9 years or so ago. The people, food, place and music were so wonderful! Thanks for the info on this great musician!

We're hoping to visit sometime in the future!

Pandabonium said...

Ladybug - you're welcome. Hawaii is a special place, I think, for all the reasons you mentioned.