About Jake Shimabukuro

Meet Jake Shimabukuro

Consider the humble ukulele. It’s an adaptation of a stringed instrument that traveled with Portuguese immigrants who came to work in the sugar cane fields of Hawaii. Islanders made the “machete” their own, mixing external influences of classical European music and Spanish guitar with Hawaiian songs. Native Hawaiians renamed the little machete the ukulele and it’s become synonymous with Hawaiian music and Hawaiian culture.

Jake Shimabukuro comes from that same process of mixing both island and outside influences, both modern and historical. He’s combined the qualities of a long line of virtuoso ukulele players with modern rock musicians to create a sound that’s uniquely his own but still firmly grounded in Hawaiian tradition.
Growing up in Hawaii, Jake’s influences include legendary ukulele players like Eddie Kamae, Ohta-San and Peter Moon. Jake also credits icons like Bruce Lee and Michael Jordan as a source of inspiration.

Known for his energetic strumming on the ukulele, Jake’s performance incorporates elements of thoughtful, sophisticated arrangements to spontaneous, improvised passages. In addition to his original compositions, his repertoire includes Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Schubert’s Ave Maria and Cohen’s Hallelujah.
Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Jake’s life has always centered on the ukulele. He started playing at the age of four, urged by his mother who also played.

Jake began his music career in the mid-90’s, performing at local coffee shops as a sideman with his first band, Pure Heart. But Jake’s solo career began in 2002 when he signed with Epic Records, becoming the first ukulele player to sign with Sony Music. While his well-received solo releases positioned Jake as an established musician in Hawaii and Japan, his career skyrocketed when a cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” went viral on YouTube with more than 13 million views, opening the rest of the world’s eyes to Jake and his unique playing style.

In the years since the YouTube clip aired, Jake has collaborated with an array of artists that include Yo-Yo Ma, Jimmy Buffett, Bette Midler, Cyndi Lauper, Jack Johnson, Ziggy Marley, Dave Koz, Michael McDonald, Bela Fleck and The Flecktones, Tommy Emmanuel, and Lyle Lovett – as well as orchestras around the world. He’s sold out world-class venues, played at Bonnaroo, SXSW, the Playboy Jazz Festival, Fuji Rock Festival, the influential TED conference, and even performed for Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Variety Performance in Blackpool, England.

He has topped Billboard’s World Music Chart numerous times, been declared a musical “hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine, which also stated: “one of the hottest axemen of the past few years doesn’t actually play guitar.” He has also won accolades from the disparate likes of Eddie Vedder who states: “Jake is taking the instrument to a place that I can’t see anybody else catching up with;” been talked about by Perez Hilton and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, wowed audiences on national TV with appearances on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “Good Morning America,” and “The Today Show,” and along the way has earned comparisons to musical innovators such as Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis. Jake has been the subject of an award winning documentary “Jake Shimabukuro: Life On Four Strings,” currently on Netflix.

Jake also travels to schools around the world and spreads positive messages to young people, encouraging them to find their passion and live drug-free.

Although he is constantly touring, playing 140 shows a year, Jake and his family continue to make Hawaii their home.

Currently Jake is in the recording studio working on a new album that’s expected to be released late summer 2015.

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Recent News & Updates

4th Annual Jake Shimabukuro & Friends Concert

Guest Artists Announced for 4th Annual Jake Shimabukuro & Friends Concert

This year’s concert will be an eclectic display of artistry, as various guests take the stage alongside the ukulele virtuoso! Kalihi Kai Elementary School – Ukulele Club < photo by...

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Jake’s “Travels” Is Now Available on Vinyl!

Travels casts the spotlight on Jake’s diverse artistry, from lilting self-penned compositions, to modern interpretations of beloved Hawaiian standards. As a special treat, the disc also includes a memorable pair...

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Jake Shimabukuro – Red Eye (Song Video)

Aloha! Here’s a little video that my buddy Jake Wheat put together with the photos that some of you sent in. The song Red Eye is off my new record....

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Jake Shimabukuro 2015 Tour

09 Dec 2015 Kamuela, Hawaii ( USA ) Kahilu Theatre Kahilu Theatre Buy ticket
11 Dec 2015 Kahului, HI ( USA ) Maui Arts & Cultural Center Maui Arts & Cultural Center Buy ticket
12 Dec 2015 Honolulu, HI ( USA ) Hawaii Theatre ( 4th Annual Jake Shimabukuro & Friends Concert) Hawaii Theatre ( 4th Annual Jake Shimabukuro & Friends Concert) Buy ticket
29 Jan 2016 Cincinnati, OH ( USA ) Live at the Ludlow Garage Live at the Ludlow Garage Buy ticket
30 Jan 2016 Ft. Wayne, Indiana ( USA ) Wayne Philharmonic Wayne Philharmonic Buy ticket
31 Jan 2016 Cleveland, OH ( USA ) Music Box Supper Club Music Box Supper Club Buy ticket
03 Feb 2016 , Canada The Rio Theatre The Rio Theatre Buy ticket
05 Feb 2016 Fairbanks, AK ( USA ) Hering Auditorium Hering Auditorium Buy ticket
06 Feb 2016 Anchorage, AK ( USA ) Atwood Concert Hall Atwood Concert Hall Buy ticket
07 Feb 2016 Kodiak, AK ( USA ) Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium Buy ticket
05 Apr 2016 Wickenburg, AZ ( USA ) Del E. Webb Center Del E. Webb Center Buy ticket
06 Apr 2016 Prescott, AZ ( USA ) Yavapai College Performance Hall Yavapai College Performance Hall Buy ticket
07 Apr 2016 Escondido, CA ( USA ) California Center For The Arts California Center For The Arts Buy ticket
08 Apr 2016 Irvine, CA ( USA ) Irvine Barclay Theatre Irvine Barclay Theatre Buy ticket
09 Apr 2016 Carmel, CA ( USA ) Sunset Cultural Center Sunset Cultural Center Buy ticket
10 Apr 2016 Saratoga, CA ( USA ) Montalvo Arts Center Montalvo Arts Center Buy ticket
11 Apr 2016 Fresno, CA ( USA ) Tower Theatre Tower Theatre Buy ticket
14 Apr 2016 Northampton, MA ( USA ) Academy of Music Theatre Academy of Music Theatre Buy ticket
16 Apr 2016 Hartford, CT ( USA ) William H. Mortensen Hall William H. Mortensen Hall Buy ticket
Jake Shimabukuro on Bands In Town

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