If a guy somewhere in Asia makes a blog and no one reads it, does it really exist?

Friday, June 4

Rap Reiplinger, Jake Shimabukuro and cigar box guitars

Just some things to fuel my obsession with Hawaii:

Rap Reiplinger is an influential Hawaiian comedian.

From the Rap DVD description:
"Ask every comedian in Hawai'i today to name the one person who inspired them, and Rap Reiplinger's name will come up time and time again! Rap was quite simply the most successful comedy genius ever from Hawai'i. His unique character-driven style of humor reminds us of our childhood and the local ways in which we grew up. His "bits" appeal to everyone, and there is not a person today that doesn't incorporate his phrases into their everyday conversation."


Jake Shimabukuro is a ukulele musician. Heard of him before? Until I heard Jake, I never knew that such a tiny, four-stringed instrument could be so versatile. Kind of like how I felt about the bass guitar after discovering Jaco Pastorius.

Jake is touring with banjo god Bela Fleck, which is pretty impressive. Maybe not if you've never heard of Bela Fleck. There are a lot more people who know about Fleck now thanks to the success of the Cohen Brother's film Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?, which helped revive interest in bluegrass music.

Here's an article about Bela Fleck's 2002 performance in Hawaii.

There's something intrinsically beautiful about music produced by "primitive" instruments, I think. Something about making music with an instrument that has severe limitations, whether it be in terms of pitch accuracy, octave range, volume, or chordal capability.

One of the most expressive instruments in the world is the Chinese erhu, and that only has two strings!

Even cigar box guitars, despite their simplicity, can produce music with real, gut-wrenching soul. A buch of free MP3s of Shane Speal's cigar box guitar music can be found here.

Hey, it was good enough for Hendrix, right?

"'Eight year old James Marshall Hendrix wanted so much to play the guitar to set his poems to music that he used a broom to strum out the rhythms in his head until he crafted a cigar box into his own guitar.' (from Pittsburgh Post Gazette) Jimi's cigar box guitar had rubber bands wrapped around the box, serving as strings."

And guess what Hendrix's second guitar was? A ukulele! No joke!

That is all.


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