Reinventing the ukulele into an instrument of seemingly boundless capabilities, Hawaii native Jake Shimabukuro fuses his deft fingerpicking technique into a unique style that includes elements of jazz, blues, funk, rock, bluegrass, classical, folk, and flamenco. The virtuoso will be making his Rockport debut for a concert sure to include his jaw-dropping interpretations of pop classics (“Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “Hallelujah”) as well as his own thrilling compositions.
Shimabukuro was given his first ukulele at age 4 and never looked back. His mother, an accomplished ukulele musician in her own right, got him started and soon the Honolulu native started performing in and around Hawaii and developing his own fanbase. He joined the acclaimed Hawaii trio Pure Heart and later the band Colón before going out on his own in 2002. Shimabukoru first gained mainstream recognition in Japan (where he frequently tours), releasing several records that become hots in Japan.
But it wasn’t until a friend posted a clip of the young ukulele maestro on YouTube that Shimabukuro broke out into the American market. The clip, a cover of the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” went viral and soon he was getting collaboration requests from stars including Jimmy Buffett, Béla Fleck, Ziggy Marley, Cyndi Lauper, and Yo-Yo Ma. He toured with Buffett in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and is featured on several of Buffett’s albums and videos, including his 2007 CD/DVD release Live in Anguilla.
His records began getting major distribution and radio play, the budding worldwide star finding a sweet spot between pop, world, bluegrass and classical, mixing in pop covers with his own intricate compositions. His 2011 release, Peace Love and Ukelele rose to #1 on Billboard’s world music charts. Subsequent records like 2012’s orchestral Grand Ukelele and 2015’s more intimate Travels showcased the breadth of Shimabukuro’s talent and interests.
WINDOW NOTICE: Due to the volume level of certain amplified concerts, please note that the window may be covered for acoustical reasons at the artist’s discretion.
Thank you to our Summer at Rockport Corporate Partner!