Though many still have trouble pronouncing his last name and the instrument he plays, Jake Shimabukuro (she-ma-BOO-koo-row) is becoming recognized as one of the world's top ukulele (oo-koo-LAY-lay) musicians.
His latest release, My Life (Hitchhike Records 1108) is an EP that features six brand-new ukulele arrangements of Jake's favorite tunes by Sarah McLachlan, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and Cyndi Lauper, wrapped around the classic Somewhere Over the Rainbow. On this heartfelt and beautiful recording, Jake respects the originals while integrating his own soulful, one-of-a-kind interpretations. This follows in the footsteps of Jake's smash hit full-length CD Gently Weeps (2006), which has sold 100,000 copies worldwide.
Renowned for lightning-fast fingers and revolutionary playing techniques, Jake views the ukulele as an untapped source of music with unlimited potential. His virtuosity defies label or category. Playing jazz, blues, funk, classical, bluegrass, folk, flamenco, and rock, Jake's mission is to show everyone that the ukulele is capable of so much more than only the traditional Hawaiian music many associate it with.
At just four years of age, Jake's mother gave him his first ukulele lesson. When I played my first chord I was hooked, says Jake, I fell in love
with the instrument. That love grew into a deep passion to create and innovate. Experimenting with various techniques allows Jake to create sounds never thought possible on the tiny four-string, two-octave instrument. A true showman, his performance captivates audiences with intricate strumming and plucking, electrifying high-energy grooves and smooth, melodic ballads. His covers of tunes by The Beatles and Led Zeppelin are interpretations that have dazzled and delighted audiences worldwide.