Ukulele Powerhouse

Jake Shimabukuro - Live
Jake Shimabukuro – Live
Jake Shimabukuro

Live (Hitchhike Records, 2009)

Ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro has taken the venerable small Hawaiian musical instrument to new heights. Shimabukuro is one of the finest ukulele performers today. During his live concerts, he shows his dazzling virtuosity and eclectic taste. His latest recording is a brilliant collection of original pieces and well known songs by other composers that were made at various live performances throughout the world.

Jake Shimabukuro is renowned internationally for his his fast fingers and innovative playing techniques. In this regard, Shimabukuro joins the ranks of musicians in Spain, Portugal and Brazil who have revolutionized the timple and cavaquinho, small guitars that are directly related to the ukulele. Jake views the ukulele as an "untapped source of music with unlimited potential". Musically, Shimabukuro enjoys breaking boundaries. He is comfortable playing jazz, blues, funk, classical, bluegrass, folk, flamenco, and rock.

 “I’ve always wanted to release a live CD because there’s something magical about capturing the energy of the audience during a performance,” says Jake. “Every cheer and chuckle writes itself into each tune and becomes a part of the arrangement. Every track reveals a different side of the ukulele. Soft and sensitive at times, other times cheery and playful, occasionally dramatic, and, once in a while, hard and aggressive.

“I enjoyed putting this album together because it preserved the feeling of each concert. Every venue had a refreshingly intimate vibe that made the creation of music pleasurable. My favorite moments are the spontaneous ones of laughter and joy between songs. Music should bring happiness. The sound of the ukulele always makes me smile. I think the world would be a greater place if everyone played the ukulele.”

The 17-song CD includes 12 Shimabukuro originals (nine versions of his best-known compositions, plus three brand-new tunes) and five covers , including  J.S. Bach’s “Two-Part Invention No. 4 in D Minor”; an interpretation of “Thriller” (the Rod Temperton song made famous by Michael Jackson), and a live version of George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Jake Shimabukuro shows us an incendiary and contemporary vision of the ukulele

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Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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