To John Latini, the ukulele seemed like a simple instrument that perhaps had its four-string limitations.

Then the 68-year-old witnessed virtuoso performer Jake Shimabukuro in a Napa concert.

“I came away with two experiences,” Latini said. “I was totally blown away and inspired. It’s like he’s taken the small instrument with four strings and put a symphony on it.”

Then Latini realized the presumably impossible stairs he would have to climb to get to the first floor of Shimabukuro’s skyscraper of talent.

“I thought, ‘I’m never going to sound like that.’ So it was half inspiration, half-discouragement,” Latini said.

No matter. The retiree from Kaiser never harbored thoughts of a global tour playing ukulele. Heck, he came across the Hawaiian instrument a mere 11 years

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