Who is Jake Shimabukoro?

Who is Jake Shimabukoro? - upaupatahiti

A ukulele interpretation of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", the famous Beatles song written by George Harrison. A video with 16,5 million views on Youtube. A virtuoso American musician of the traditional Hawaiian plucked string instrument. You will surely have guessed it, it is indeed the great Jake Shimabukuro.


Jake is one of those talented artists whose fame has been amplified thanks to the Internet. However, if the ukulele player owes a large part of his reputation to the web, we must admit that it is also thanks to his unfailing passion for music that he was able to chain festivals. But who really is Jake Shimabukuro? What about his musical journey?

The “Jimi Hendrix” of the ukulele

Shimabukuro started learning to play the ukulele when he was still very young. He had received from his mother, an accomplished artist, his first ukulele at the age of 4. Seduced by the melodious sound of the stringed instrument, little Jake spent most of his time clinging to his ukulele. Tutored by his mother and through years of lessons under Tami Akiyami at Roy Sakuma Studios, he developed his talents as a musician very quickly. It only took him a few years to become one of the big names on the Hawaiian music scene. Indeed, after six “Na Hoku Hanohano Awards” (including five awarded to Pure Heart, the first group to which he belonged), Shimabukuro has become a real reference in the world of Jazz in general, and that of the ukulele in particular. The artist stands out for the way he handles his Kamaka tenor ukulele which, it should be remembered in passing, was created to measure. This somewhat particular style has earned him the nickname "Jimi Hendrix" of the ukulele. For the record, the brand of ukuleles Kamaka, in tribute to the talent of this great man, has decided to launch a whole line of instruments that bear his signature.

An exceptional course

Jake Shimabukuro's international career really began after he signed a recording contract with Epic Records International (Sony Music Japan international) in 2002. This collaboration allowed him to become known in Japan through several albums. By creating his own label "Hitchhike Records", the artist also had the opportunity to release four albums in the United States performing certain famous titles such as Sunday Morning and CrossCurrent. After his video with 16,5 million views on Youtube in 2006, Shimabukuro received collaboration requests from many famous musicians such as Ziggy Marley and Jimmy Buffett. From 2009 to 2012, international tours follow one another for the ukulele player from Hawaii. The prizes are piling up: Hawaii Musique, Na Hoku Hanohano Award, etc. A movie, titled “Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings” which chronicles Shimabukuro's life and career, has even been made.

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