Every now and again the community that’s come together around the Corktown Ukulele Jam witnesses, or produces, or receives a Ukulele Miracle.
Whether it’s winding up on “The Gospel According to Uke” on CBC Radio, or getting into the pages of the National Post or The Star… renting a ukulele streetcar or warming our faces around the ukulele campfire… launching The Mighty Uke or lauding Jimmy the Uke… we seem to be peculiarly disposed to having special stuff happen.
Wednesday night was a perfect example: I was standing centre stage and about to launch the open mic portion of the evening, when I caught a glimpse of a familiar-looking Asian guy peering in from the back. Familiar-looking, that is, because I’ve watched his YouTube videos countless times…
Yep! That’s who it was: Jake Shimabukuro! And he wondered if he might play… It’s like we were playing road hockey and Mario Lemieux showed up and asked if he could join the game.
Jake not only played; he delivered wise words and deep thoughts about everything from the soul of jazz to the feel of blues. He talked and played for over an hour – blessing our gathering, validating our attitudes, appreciating our commitment, praising our spirit all in one fell swoop.
He even recited the Ukulele Benediction with us, and stayed for an hour after the show to sign ukes and share tips and generally just spread the love.
Did I mention Jake Shimabukuro played While My Guitar Gently Weeps in our back room – in that extraordinary rendition that’s become so famous around the world?
He did. (See cell phone video above.) We call that a Ukulele Miracle. It’s what happened when Jake walked in.