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International String Magic at "ARK" and "Old Town School of Folk Music"

November 01, 2010

CHICAGO - Treasure the Ukulele. In the hands of Jake Shimabukuro, the ukulele is king. The traditional Hawaiian instrument of four strings is international though. Shimabukuro is finishing his mainland tour after a rave performance in New York at the Highline Ballroom.

By Raymond Rolak

He also starred recently in “Get A Job”.  The movie was filmed entirely on location in Maui and the hilarious comedy featured Uncle Willie-K and Eric Gilliom.  Shimabukuro had a part in the film as an amusing tourist.  The soon to be released movie concludes with some great music from the wedding band, more importantly the All-Star Wedding Band including Willie Nelson, Pat Simmons and Mick Fleetwood.

He is adapt on all string instruments and during filming of the movie, sound technician and Polish native, Marcin Tyska tried to interest Shimabukuro in the prima balalaika and the sekunda.  Like the ukulele they are stringed Slavic instruments which are both played with the fingers.  The 33 year old who is also a giant recording artist in Japan still loves the Ukulele though.  Shimabukuro said, “Audiences all over the world have such low expectations of the ukulele, I am just the ambassador.  If everybody played the ukulele, the world would be a better place.”   

For Shimabukuro, his life has always centered on the ukulele. He started playing the instrument at the age of 4, at the urging of his mother.  "Everyone plays in Hawaii," he said.  "But I just immediately fell in love with it.”

Specialty songs include "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Thriller”, and folk and jazz favorites.  Shimabukuru capitalizes on the popularity of his amazing instrumental rendition of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody” is a highlight. 

Brian Kohne, Director of “Get A Job” added, “Jake makes the ‘uke’ sing……and as it turns out he is a great comedic actor.”
Shimabukuro will appear at the Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan on Thursday November 4th at 8:00 P.M.  Doors open at 7:30 P.M.    www.theark.org

He will also do two shows in Chicago at the Old Town School of Folk Music along with special guests “Boulder Acoustics” on Saturday, November 6, at 7:00 P.M. and 10:00 P.M. www.oldtownschool.org
More at: www.jakeshimabukuro.com