Scene and Heard

Jake Shimabukuro sells out Bromhard Theater.

Posted in Entertainment by sceneandheardblog on January 29, 2011


Jake Shimabukuro performs at Bomhard Theater



Jake Shimabukuro entertained a sold out Bomhard Theater in Louisville, Kentucky. With his innovative display of the ukulele. Shimabukuro dazzled the audience with his electrifying high energy grooves and melodic ballads. His solo performance with the four stringed instrument touched upon all genres of music.

It’s rare for a young musician to earn comparisons to the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis. It’s even harder to find an artist who has entirely redefined an instrument by his early thirties. But Jake Shimabukuro (she-ma-boo-koo-row) has already accomplished these feats, and more, in a little over a decade of playing and recording music. As the San Francisco Gate recently posited about the Hawaiian musician: “The sounds the boyish 33-year old wrings from his ukulele…are unlike anything else in the history of the instrument.”

Shimabukuro began his music career in earnest performing at local Honolulu venues and coffee shops. “I loved just playing those little places, and I was happy with it at the time,” he remembers. “But when Sony Music Japan showed interest in signing me, I think it made me take my music seriously as a career.” Although a few several well-received solo releases helped the musician earn some fame on the island, his career really skyrocketed during a TV appearance in New York, where the producers of a local TV show called “Ukulele Disco” asked him to play a cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” in Central Park. It was an exhilarating performance – and one that quickly went viral, as the six-million-plus page views it’s received on YouTube can attest. “It was supposed to air once, but it somehow ended up on YouTube – which had just started out at the time – and suddenly people started asking about the asian guy who plays the ukulele,” says Jake.

The clip certainly opened the world’s eyes to the ukulele, and broadened Jake’s audience. In the years since that clip aired, Shimabukuro has performed with the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Bela Fleck, Bette Midler, Yo-Yo Ma, Cyndi Lauper and Ziggy Marley. He’s played on shows like “The Late Show with Conan O’Brien,” “The Today Show” and “Last Call with Carson Daly,” as well as NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “World Café.” Live, he’s landed slots on the Monterey and Playboy Jazz Festivals, performed at the Google campus and the influential TED conference, and played in front of the Queen of England at a benefit show (alongside Bette Midler). And next Valentine’s Day, fans can see Shimabukuro performing in a scene in the new Adam Sandler movie “Just Go with It.”

Despite the success, Jake remains humble and admittedly “awestruck” by how his love of the uke has propelled him to such great heights. For that, he gives full credit to the instrument he’s played with a passion since he was 4. “The ukulele is the instrument of peace,” he says. “And if everyone played one, the world would be a better place.”

Jake Shimabukuro

Jake Shimabukuro

Jake Shimabukuro


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