Greenpoint has no shortage of artistic talent, especially of the musical variety, and Shawtime Duo is no exception. Consisting of father-son duo Andy and seven-year-old Jarvis Shaw, the musical pair formed during the COVID-19 pandemic and have been livening up McCarren Park, local street fairs, ukulele festivals, Last Place on Earth, and more ever since.
Musicianship has been in the family since long before Jarvis was born, dating back to Andy Shaw’s foundations in classical music and education at LaGuardia High School, which led to forming bands in his twenties and thirties — including his other current band, Bikini Carwash. Bringing Jarvis into the fold happened back in 2020 around his fifth birthday, when Andy wanted to get his son into playing guitar.
“I got [Jarvis] a ukulele, thinking that ukulele is a good starting point for him, you know, small, easy to manage, but at the time, ukulele was not on the radar for me. To me, it was just a toy, you know, but I figured if he played ukulele now, he’d get the appreciation for playing and become a guitar player later,” Shaw reasoned. “I got him private lessons, and the whole time she was teaching him, I sat next to him and just watched. And I just fell in love with the instrument, you know, and then very quickly I started playing ukulele very actively.”
However, while Jarvis was unmoved by the ukulele, he found his passion in singing along (combined with a remarkable memory for lyrics) while Andy was playing, and thus Shawtime Duo was born.
“I started about to write songs and then one day I was playing, learning a song I played over and over all of a sudden I turned around and I was like, ‘Jarvis, are you singing the song? How do you know the words?'” Shaw explained. “And then the next time I played he sat next to me and started singing the song again. So I just took my camera out and I put the camera in front of us and that’s how the band was born.”
From there, the pair continued recording video performances leading up to their first show — a virtual open mic — a little over a year ago. The duo performs a mix of kid-and-family-friendly tunes like SpongeBob’s “Ripped My Pants” song, classic rock like Mötley Crüe’s “Don’t Go Away Mad,” modern emo like “Welcome to the Black Parade,” and original songs, all of which they included in their recent setlist at the McCarren Park House patio on June 25.
“Jarvis is not shy, he really feeds off the energy and is just jumping around, dancing around, you know, and it’s just been so fun and it’s really about the journey; every day I smile when I see us playing together, I just can’t believe that I can share this experience with my son,” Shaw reflected. “This is like a dream come true I never realized.”