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`Ukulele virtuoso back at the MACC for another must-see concert!

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   January 5th, 2009 · 1 Disqus Comment · Maui Arts & Entertainment, Maui News

The Maui Arts & Cultural Center is proud to present `ukulele phenomenon Jake Shimabukuro on Saturday, January 24 at 7:30 pm at the Castle Theater as part of “The MACC Presents…” 2008-09 Ho`onanea Series.

`Ukulele virtuoso Jake constantly surpasses every expectation for his ubiquitous 4-string instrument, by playing everything from mellow jazz and soulful blues, to traditional Hawaiian tunes, unexpected classical music, bluegrass, flamenco, and rock! Renowned for lightning-fast fingers and revolutionary playing techniques, Jake is on a mission to prove the `ukulele “an untapped source of music, with unlimited potential.” (The same might be said of himself!)

This not-to-be-missed concert promises to be a remarkable evening of new and favorite works from Jake’s ever-expanding repertoire-this true `ukulele phenomenon has to be seen and heard to be believed! Jake will perform solo as well as jam with accomplished musicians Noel Okimoto, Dean Taba, and Michael Grande.  In any configuration, Jake Shimabukuro always delivers a night to remember.

Ho`onanea pre-show festivities start at 5:30 pm in the courtyard, featuring Hawaiian arts and crafts, hula and music, food and beverage selections.

Tickets for Jake Shimabukuro are $12, $28, $37 (half price for kids 12 and under), and with a discount available to MACC annual donors. Visit the MACC Box Office or call 242-SHOW (7469) to charge by phone Monday through Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm. For patron convenience 24 hours a day, purchase tickets online at www.mauiarts.org.

Supported in part by National Endowment for the Arts, State Foundation for Culture and the Arts, County of Maui and KPOA Radio.

BIOGRAPHY

Renowned for lightning-fast fingers and revolutionary playing techniques, Jake is becoming recognized as one of the world’s top `ukulele musicians. His virtuosity defies label or category, and he views the ukulele as an “untapped source of music with unlimited potential.” Playing jazz, blues, funk, classical, bluegrass, folk, flamenco, and rock, Jake’s mission is to show everyone that the `ukulele is capable of so much more than only the traditional Hawaiian music many associate it.

At just four years of age, Jake’s mother gave him his first lesson. “When I played my first chord I was hooked,” says Jake, “I fell in love with the instrument.” That love grew into a deep passion to create and innovate.

Experimenting with various guitar effect pedals allows Jake to create sounds never thought possible on the tiny four-string, two-octave instrument. A true showman, his performance captivates audiences with intricate strumming and plucking, electrifying, high-energy grooves and smooth, melodic ballads evoking heartfelt emotion.

Evolving from the heavily amplified riffs that earned Jake the reputation as “Jimi Hendrix of the `ukulele,” now Jake masterfully extracts the pure “clean” natural acoustic sound of the `uke, delicately making a single note smile or cry on his solo album Gently Weeps.

The highlight of the album is Jake’s cover of George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” A video clip of Jake playing this song in Central Park circulated the internet resulting in emails of support and amazement from across the globe; France, England, Germany, Sweden, and also Australia and Korea where Jake signed distribution deals. Jake had the honor of meeting Harrison’s widow, Olivia, backstage at his show with the Honolulu Symphony. Afterwards, she described feeling George’s presence with her when Jake played his rendition of George’s Gently Weeps.

From a modest beginning performing at a local Honolulu cafe, Jake has gone on to play renowned venues such as the House of Blues and The Knitting Factory (Los Angeles); The Birchmere (Alexandria, VA); Tipitina’s (New Orleans); Joe’s Pub, Highline Ballroom, and B.B. King’s Nightclub (NYC); The Bumbershoot Festival (Seattle); The Fuji Rock Festival (Japan); The Music Is Good Medicine Tour covering thirty-two shows (Japan), and many others. Occasional tours with Jimmy Buffett have broadened Jake’s experience, regularly exposing his virtuosity and amazing stage presence to crowds of up to 50,000. Speaking of large audiences, Jake has also performed on national television shows such as NBC’s The Late Show with Conan O’Brien (twice) and Last Call With Carson Daly, as well as featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, Public Radio International’s The World, and The Bob Edwards Show on XM Satellite Radio.

Jake’s second Late Night with Conan O’Brien appearance, where he brought the NBC house down with a performance of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that brought Conan out his chair to declare it one of the best things he’s ever seen on the show!

Selection as the spokesman-three years in a row-for Hawai`i Tourism Japan’s (HTJ) campaign to market Hawai`i to Japan, as well as his frequent tours of the island nation, have made Jake Shimabukuro a household name in Japan. “Rainbow,” a track from Walking Down Rainhill, was selected as HTJ’s theme song as well as the official Honolulu Marathon theme song in 2004. In 2006, the Gently Weeps track “Beyond the Break” was selected as the Marathon’s theme song and was played as Jake crossed the finish line upon completion of his first marathon run.

Jake’s musical accomplishments are well known throughout the Hawaiian Islands and Japan, though he is perhaps known equally as well for his outgoing personality and warm heart. In his spare time Jake often visits schools to talk with and play music for the children of Hawai`i, hopefully inspiring thousands to put their energy into learning about and playing music.

Jake’s collaborations and special projects are varied. He’s toured with Bela Fleck & the Flecktones (2002, 2005, 2006) and recorded on the band’s Little Worlds (2003) album. He recently collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma for a single track on the Grammy-Award winning cellist’s album Song’s of Joy & Peace (2008). Also joining Jake in the recording studio was renowned pop singer Cyndi Lauper. Jake is also featured on Ziggy Marley’s Grammy-Award winning Love is My Religion (2006), as well as on three CDs and two DVDs by Jimmy Buffett and The Coral Reefer Band. Jake’s work with Jimmy also led to his contributions to the soundtrack of the Buffett-produced film, Hoot. This experience gave Jake confidence to take on the challenge of scoring the hit Japanese independent film Hula Girls. A heartwarming comedy/drama, Hula Girls was Japan’s official entry to the 2007 Academy Awards Best Foreign Film category and also won four Japanese Academy Awards the same year including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress. Jake’s outstanding score was released last year on Hitchhike Records.

Recent career highlights and developments include performing the National Anthem at the 2008 January PGA Opening Drive on Maui (broadcast live on The Golf Channel); a three-week tour of Australia; and his debut at the world-renowned Bonnaroo music festival.

Energy, imagination, and innovation have been Jake’s keys to success. He plans to continue recording, performing, collaborating, and staying happy. “I love what I do. I’m forever thankful for music.”

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  • http://ChuckB Chuck

    Jake is an amazing talent. I have seen him a number of times and recommend his show as a "must see".