Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Unk Dicko hosts SHIGETO Japanese Uke Player

This Youtube video shows Shigeto Takahashi playing the ukulele at Mt Fuji, Japan. Shigeto happens to be one of the very Top Ukulele player from Japan currently. He has taken part in Ukulele Festivals in Portland,USA and elsewhere. Unk Dicko is honoured to have met up with him on Sunday 12th April in Singapore. How did it happen?

On 23 March 2009, Shigeto visited this blogsite and left a comment at the end of my post dated 18 Oct 2008, titled" My Ukuleles and me ". He located me from Ukuleles Players Worldwide com... a registry of ukulele players worldwide. He and unk Dicko are members. I am the only ukulele player from Singapore listed in this site. Click here to see my page listing. You can read his comments and the post here. He included as his contact a link to his Youtube homepage. I visited the page and the video above and many others are posted there. He is a truly gifted and excellent ukulele player with a style of his own. He has produced his own CDs too.

In the 3 weeks that followed we corresponded by email. He told me he would be coming to Singapore on 12 April 09 on a work assignment for about a week. He's an engineer by profession. Originally, he wanted some recommendation of where to look for good Peranakan (Nonya) food. He has never been to Singapore before. And we have both never met, of course. I told him to call me as soon as he has checked into his hotel and I would be his Singapore host. On Sunday, he flew into Changi Airport safely on S'pore Airlines and was accomodated at Pasir Panjang Inn. D2 accompanied me as I drove up to meet him at the Inn.

Shigeto-san is a most unassuming "young" man. He's 32 and still single. We introduced ourselves warmly in the foyer and he gave me his personal CD as a gift. D2 asked if he had eaten and he was frank...not only no, but he was famished! I suggested we leave right away for the bright lights and good food. Just before entering my car, I opened the boot and showed him my Kamaka Ukulele. Handing it over to him, I said, " let's go...I drive and you play!" He did not bring along his ukulele as it was a working trip. So...he was really happy to be strumming on my Kamaka. Within the confines of the car the sounds of his playing was heavenly. We cruised along the highway towards the Esplanade, parked and proceeded to a well-known Peranakan restaurant there. " Sorry sir, we are closing" said the doorman. It was about 9.30 pm. At a nearby Thai Restaurant it was the same thing.

No problem. In Singapore there will always be food open 24 hours... like the Esplanade Waterfront Food Centre. We were very fortunate as although the place was crowded we managed to find an empty table. Shigeto enjoyed the big prawn Hokkien mee, Oyster Omelette( Or-luak) and satay I ordered. Over this late dinner, we ate and chatted and shared our work and music experience. He related how he started on the ukulele at age 16 and was taught by a lady teacher. He was curious about how I was hooked too. When I said 1963 was the year I began playing...he responded..."long before I was born!"

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