Jake Shimabukuro

Jake Shimabukuro | Grand Ukulele: Live In Boulder | Review

With Jake Shimabukuro’s new release Grand Ukulele: Live In Boulder; ukuleles are not for Don Ho singing Tiny Bubbles or Tiny Tim tip toe-ing through the tulips anymore. Thank Goddess of Fire Pele! The ukulele being In the same vein as the Lower 48’s accordion as a stereotyped instrument that can’t possible grab one’s attention for long; is not only for the Big Island anymore.

Jake Shimabukuro: Life On Four Strings Tonight on PBS

APA Nashville artist and global phenomenon Jake Shimabukuro will make his national broadcast debut with the PBS premiere of JAKE SHIMABUKURO: LIFE ON FOUR STRINGS tonight at 9 p.m.

Jake Shimabukuro Announces New CD + Tour Dates

Head over to Billboard.com to get an exclusive first listen of Jake Shimabukuro's newest song, "Island Fever Blues," which will be featured on his October release, "Grand Ukulele."

Jake will be heading back to Japan this September. Check out the dates below:

Jake Shimabukuro News & Tour Dates

Jake is set to perform at this year’s San Francisco Jazz Festival! The show is taking place on Wednesday October 21, 2009 at the lovely Davies Symphony Hall. Tickets are still available starting at $25. This is a must see show and will be the first stop after Jake's long Japan Tour. But tickets here.

It has been a long awaited arrival for this Japanese Import. Awhile back Jake released an all Beatles cover album, only in Japan. This album is filled with thirteen of Jake's favorite Beatles songs...all played on the ukulele. Including two very special collaborations with Cyndi Lauper and Yo-Yo Ma this album is sure to be one for the ages. Available here.

Tour Dates:

10.21.2009 - San Francisco Jazz Festival - San Francisco, CA

10.24.2009 - Epic Event in Kahala - Honolulu, HI

11.07.2009 - Kahilu Theatre - Kamuela, HI

11.08.2009 - Kahilu Theatre - Kamuela, HI

11.12.2009 - The Ark - Ann Arbor, MI

11.13.2009 - Manchester's Craftsman's Guild - Pittsburgh, PA

11.15.2009 - Tupelo Music Hall - Londonderry, NH

11.17.2009 - John Paul Jones Arena with Jimmy Buffett - Charlottesville, PA

11.19.2009 - Anthology - San Diego, CA

11.20.2009 - Grace Theatre - Oceanside, CA

11.21.2009 - jklub Fan Club Event - Rancho Cucamonga, CA

11.21.2009 - Victoria Gardens - Rancho Cucamonga, CA

11.22.2009 - Citrus College - Glendora, CA

12.09.2009 - Toys For Tots Concert - Honolulu, HI

12.11.2009 - Honolulu Marathon Luau Waikiki Shell - Honolulu, HI

12.13.2009 - Honolulu Marathon Finishing Line - Honolulu, HI

12.14.2009 - Jimmy Buffett's At The Beachcomber - Waikiki, HI

01.15.2010 - Orpheum Theatre - Phoenix, AZ

01.17.2010 - The Smooth Jazz Cruise 2010 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL

03.24.2010 - Edmonds Center for the Arts - Edmonds, WA

03.13.2010 - Admiral Theatre - Bremerton, WA

03.27.1010 - Maui Arts & Cultural Center - Kahalui, Maui, HI

05.21.2010 - E.J. Thomas Hall - Akron, OH

Jake Shimabukuro: Jazz Ukulele Virtuoso

photos by Janie Franz- for the Grateful Web

When I first heard about Jake Shimabukuro, I probably was like most people, responding, "He plays what? A ukulele! You've got to be kidding!" But then I put his latest full-length album, Gently Weeps (2006), into my CD player, and, well, you had to scrap my jaw up off the floor!

This young man is a virtuoso string player.  Chase Don Ho and Tiny Tim right out of your head! Shimabukuro has elevated this simple, four string, two octave instrument to a classical artform. He has redefined what this instrument can do as did David Grisman did with mandolin and Alison Brown and Bela Fleck did with banjo.

Shimabukuro is comparable to Eric Clapton and even Andrés Segovia in both rock and classical styles - - and that's not hyperbole. Shimabukuro is able to cross a range of genres with ease, using skills appropriate to each. He produces string sounds resembling an acoustic tenor guitar that mix flamenco, classical, blues, and acoustic rock fingerstyling.

In Gently Weeps, Shimabukuro presents 12 songs with only his sole ukulele that are full bodied, thoughtful and stirring. He covers George Harrison's standard "Why My Guitar Gently Weeps," for which the album is named, as well as Chic Chorea's "Spain," Johnny Burke/Erroll Gamer's "Misty," and even "Ave Maria." His version of the Japanese folk tune "Sakura" sounds as if it were played on the Japanese 13-string koto.

There are also five original compositions. Then, as a bonus Shimabukuro includes five cuts that have a full band backing him (guitar, bass, drums, and keys). Of particular note is "Beyond the Break," written for the TV network THE N. Shimabukuro juxatoposes his ukelele against a driving electric guitar with effects, rock bass, and heavy drums.  It works like magic.

The accompaniment on this CD and on his new EP, My Life, enhances Shimabukuro's complex stylings. My Life showcases six songs, including Cindy Lauper's hit "Time After Time," Page and Plant's "Going to California," Lennon/McCartney's "In My Life," and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," which has become a signature tune for him.

I had the pleasure of seeing classical guitarist Andrés Segovia live in concert in the mid 70s and was awestruck then. But when I stumbled upon Jake Shimabukuro this fall in San Francisco at a free concert at Yerba Buena Gardens, I couldn't believe my good fortune. His concert at the Herbst Theater was sold out, but he graciously appeared at the free festival.

He played many of the selections on Gently Weeps and My Life.  Much of what I heard make me liken Shimabukuro to Jimi Hendrix on the uke, especially when he took his own original swipe at "The Star-Spangled Banner." He played richly and fully, enjoying his audience.

Shimabukuro even good naturedly took on a stage full of ukelele players, performers who had played all afternoon before him. They included  The UFOs  ('Ukulele Friends Ohana), Al Dodge and the Tin Pan Haoles, The Paper Dolls, Tippy Canoe and the Paddlemen, Faith Ako, slack-key guitarist Carey Camacho, The Victor Ohana Band, Kimo Hussey, 'Ukulele Ray, and The Frisky Frolics. His task was to play lead uke opposite this group as they tackled two traditional songs. And, by Golly, he did it! It was a nightmare for the sound techs in the front of the "house" and the monitor tech. Perry Thorwaldson and his crew from Thor Audio Solutions did a remarkable job! Clips of this show have been floating around Utube for a weeks now.

Beginning at the age of four, Shimabukuro has added lightning runs and bluesy string bends to classical finger work and flamenco flourishes. He has performed with or opened for Blues Traveler, Hot Buttered Rum, The Radiators, John Hiatt, and Fiona Apple. He's appeared on The Late Show with Conan O'Brien and Last Call with Carson Daly, and toured with Jimmy Buffett and Bela Fleck. He also played on Ziggy Marley's Grammy winning Love is Religion album last year.

If you're interested in what this ukulele virtuoso can do, check out his website www.jakeshimabukuro.com and grab one of his CDs, especially his new My Life EP. Better yet, go see his blazing hands live.  It will be a muscial experience you won't soon forget.

Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival 2006

"There's nothing better than a music festival in the heartland of the country," said Jeff Austin of Yonder Mountain String Band on the festival's last day.  Even though I can think of some things that are better, there is a lot of truth to this statement.  Despite its sputtering start with heightened police threats, and at times clueless security, the third