Acclaimed ukulele sensation Jake Shimabukuro coming to Key West
Jake Shimabukuro laughs, “the best thing about playing the ukulele, your audience has such low expectations.” This from a world-renowned musician and ukulele player. Shimabukuro’s ability to play the underdog of small instruments exceeds every expectation and is a performance not to be missed.
Shimabukuro will play the Key West Theater on Tuesday, Sept. 13.
“If the Ukulele were a city, it would be Key West. It’s all about happiness, friends and family,” said Shimabukuro. Although he has played the Hollywood Bowl, Sidney Opera House and Lincoln Center, he regards Key West fondly because of his longtime friend, Jimmy Buffett. (Buffett helped Shimabukuro launch his career when he invited Shimabukuro to tour with him for three years.)
A Hawaiian native, Shimabukuro learned the ukulele from his mother at age 4. “The size is perfect for kids. It only has four strings, two octaves and can’t go lower than a c note making everything sound happy,” said Shimabukuro. In 2002, he was the first ukulele player to sign with Sony music and, in 2005, he went viral on YouTube with his rendition of George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” In 2012, he was the subject of an acclaimed documentary, “Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings.”
Shimabukuro proved to audiences that the modest ukulele has no limits. He has covered popular songs such as Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Schubert’s “Ave Maria,” Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” He has mastered the art of mixing traditional sounds with modern art.
Accompanying Shimabukuro in Key West will be bassist Nolan Verner. They will perform covers and favorites from his 15-year career, and several songs from his upcoming studio album “Nashville Sessions,” due out Sept. 23, 2016.
The popularity of the ukulele keeps growing every year and Shimabukuro is the leader of the movement. Don’t miss him Tuesday, Sept. 13, 8 p.m. at the Key West Theater or visit www.thekeywesttheater.com for more information.
Jake Shimabukuro has collaborated with artists including 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 Marty Friedman. He has topped Billboard’s World Music Chart and played venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center, Sydney Opera House, Wolf Trap, Bonnaroo, SXSW, and the Playboy Jazz Festival. He even played for Queen Elizabeth II at The Royal Variety Performance in Blackpool, England.