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Six degrees

Mark Peters

 

Jake Shimabukuro is a ukulele master who will demonstrate his "jumping flea" skills in Hong Kong on June 30, with a performance at Sha Tin Town Hall as part of the Jazz World Live Series. The Honolulu native (pictured) claims to have a local role model. "I owe a lot to Bruce Lee … all he wanted was to express himself as honestly as he could," he says. "Jiu-jitsu or karate or kung fu, to him it was all human expression. If you look at music that way … it's the language of human emotions." Shimabukuro lent four-stringed accompaniment to the album Love is My Religion, by Jamaican musician Ziggy Marley …

 

Much like his father, the eldest son of legendary reggae star Bob Marley is an avid enthusiast of the cannabis plant and has long been an advocate for its legalisation. He has also explored various business ventures involving the "Sweet Mary Jane": Ziggy Marley sells the world's first flavoured organic roasted hemp seeds as a natural nutritional snack and, in 2011, released a superhero comic book titled Marijuanaman. He and his band, the Melody Makers, performed the theme tune to Arthur, the animated educational television series starring a humanoid aardvark that has featured an array of celebrity guest stars, including architect Frank Gehry …

 

The 84-year-old visionary is one of the most influential architects of modern times and recently revealed his latest imprint on the Hong Kong skyline: the first Maggie's Cancer Caring Centre to be built outside Britain, at Tuen Mun Hospital. Rather less opulent than Gehry's first residential project in Asia - the super-luxury apartment building Opus Hong Kong, on The Peak - the centre's pavilions overlook a pond and grounds partly inspired by the gardens of Suzhou. In the 1950s, Gehry's sergeant in the United States Army was the "half Vulcan" Leonard Nimoy …

 

Born to Yiddish-speaking immigrants from Ukraine, the American actor, best known for his role as Spock in Star Trek, has released five somewhat theatrical vocal albums, one of which, 1970's The New World of Leonard Nimoy, includes a cover of the Johnny Cash song I Walk the Line. In 1973, Nimoy featured on a promo-only album of public awareness announcements for use by the National Association of Progressive Radio Announcers. In character, as Spock, he quipped: "As a Vulcan, I find the use of hard drugs highly illogical." Also performing short tunes on this rarely heard album were Stevie Wonder and sitar player Ravi Shankar …

 

At the age of 80, the composer and icon was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour, despite at one time disowning his homeland after being denied a promised piece of land. In 1971, Shankar, deeply touched by the plight of more than eight million refugees from the Bhola cyclone and atrocities committed in the Bangladesh Liberation War, organised a fundraising benefit concert with a little help from his friend George Harrison …

 

The lead guitarist of the "Fab Four" later became an admirer of Indian culture, and his post-Beatles solo records revolved around Hinduism. Harrison's posthumously released album Brainwashed - an interesting choice of title considering his treatment for a brain tumour just prior to his death - included a quotation from the 700-verse scripture the Bhagavad Gita: "There never was a time when you or I did not exist. Nor will there be any future when we shall cease to be." In 2006, a rendition of Harrison's While My Guitar Gently Weeps went viral across YouTube, propelling to worldwide recognition the four-string strummer Jake Shimabukuro.

 

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