Genius…. and I am not

Genius…. and I am not

I just watched a YouTube video that almost brought me to tears. Well, that and the fact that I’ve had a sidecar before 6:25 on a Saturday night, but I digress.

Anyway, the video is of a man named Jake Shimabukuro, playing George Harrison’s “Why My Guitar Gently Weeps” on a ukulele. link here:

Now, you  must understand that I have loved music since I was a very little girl. In fact, one of my tenderest memories is of my mother telling me the story of “The Moldau” by Smetana –  Bedřich Smetana  – one of the 6 symphonic poems of his Ma’ vlast (My homeland) suite.

The Moldau is the story of a tiny little drop of water – here described, very close to the story my mother told me, from Wikepedia: The composition describes the course of the Vltava, starting from the two small springs, the Cold and Warm Vltava, to the unification of both streams into a single current, the course of the Vltava through woods and meadows, through landscapes where a farmer’s wedding is celebrated, the round dance of the mermaids in the night’s moonshine: on the nearby rocks loom proud castles, palaces and ruins aloft. The Vltava swirls into the St John’s Rapids; then it widens and flows toward Prague, past the Vyšehrad, and then majestically vanishes into the distance, ending at the Labe (or Elbe, in German).

If you listen carefully you will, indeed “hear” the stream making its way toward the Elbe. That, my friends, is genius at work.

Jake Shimabukuro takes George’s composition and remakes it for the Ukele, an instrument mostly associated with cheesy, high falsetto imitations of Don Ho’s “Tiny Bubbles.”

In his hands the ukulele is elevated to the status of a first violin. But perhaps more important (at least to this post) than his skill with his instrument, is the transformative look on his face, and his body language as he plays….

Watch the video. See if you agree that this is a man who has interpreted Harrison’s iconic song in his own way, to his own liking, inspired by his own muse.

Lesser artists strive for that transformation every. single. day. of. our. lives. God bless those of us who achieve it.

One thought on “Genius…. and I am not

  1. Kathy Paul

    Gini – thanks for this post. I love it that the transformative look on his face (what a great way to describe it) is one of the things that captivated you. Because, being an artist, you would naturally be drawn to that look almost as much as to the music. Perhaps it’s the combination that makes it so special.


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