I’ll never forget the part in Woody Allen’s Purple Rose of Cairo where Mia Farrow accompanies Jeff Daniels with a Ukulele in a store. It made Farrow very cool to me. Some people have taken the Ukulele and shed a new light on it. Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain is a good example. So is Brittni Paiva.
Then there’s someone like Jake Shimabukuro, who is a rock star. He writes originals that makes you question your knowledge of what could be done on the Ukulele. There’s a lesson to be learned there: you go against the crowd with the instrument you love to play and the music you love to listen to – you can’t go wrong. Dedication is just not about practicing your craft. It’s how you embrace your relationship with your principal instrument, no matter how much the two of you look odd together, and tell everyone “This is my instrument, and we are gonna make music no matter what.” Think about it: is it any different than announcing your love for someone? And it’s not just about an unusual partnership with an ‘odd’ instrument. To announce your venture/journey with the coolest instrument in the world will also have its critics – same ones who always have a ‘practical’ solution to your life. It’s not easy, I’ll admit, to step up and tell others how you feel about someone, some decision, or career. But if your heart and gut is collaborating on that – it will have an impact on those around you, mind you, both positive and negative.
Once you’ve done that, you’ve stepped into the cool zone. And people can’t resist cool.
I’m in no way suggesting, nor do I know enough about him to do so, that Shimabukuro was anything but encouraged to pursue a career with the Ukulele. All that matters is, this guy most likely than not encouraged some kid(s) to shop for a Ukulele, walking right past the guitar section. That’s pretty cool, I don’t care who you are.