Jake Shimabukuro is an American musician, known primarily for his abilities playing the ukulele. He has been in several bands, has won awards for his music, has composed music for movie soundtracks and has become something of an Internet sensation, at the same time. One of his most famous videos is of him giving a ukulele rendition of The Beatles song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.
The performance is on par with any rock guitar hero and, generally, above that level of proficiency. Shimabukuro has performed with some of the biggest musicians in the entertainment industry.
He began playing the ukulele very early in life. He decided that it was his instrument early on and participated in several bands before becoming a well-known performer as an individual. His first recording band, Pure Heart, recorded three albums. A later band, Colon, released one album before Shimabukuro struck out on his own. Pure Heart won a total of four Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. The Na Hoku Hanohano Awards are given in Hawaii and are the island state’s own music awards. Shimabukuro and his projects have been nominated for several other awards, as well, and he is a well-known musician on the islands.
Shimabukuro is one of several musicians who have led to the ukulele being taken more seriously as an instrument. He himself is a virtuoso performer by anyone’s measure. His fingering is exceptionally complex and his tone consistent. The type of music he, and other serious ukulele players, create generally exposes first-time listeners to a huge range of sounds being produced by an instrument that they likely thought of as a novelty before seeing it played seriously. While his rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” gained him much fame, his own music shows the influence of a diverse array of styles other than rock.
Jake Shimabukuro can also be heard playing on the film Hula Girls. He wrote and performed music for that film. He has also performed alongside performers such as Bette Midler and toured extensively on his own. There are numerous videos of this performer available, detailing his collaborations with different types of musicians as well as material of his own. He is also well-known for creating ukulele renditions of popular music and has, in the past, covered artists such as David Bowie and many more. He continues to record and tour at present.
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