Last night I had the privilege of attending Jake Shimabukuro’s concert at The Aladdin Theater to a full audience.

The experience for me was fantastic. As an aspiring Ukulele player, seeing someone with such mastery was inspiring. I wanted to run home and start practicing more. Not only was he fast, but he is musically very tasteful.

Take a listen:


Some of the major highlights for me include a rendition of a traditional Japanese song, Sakura, originally composed for the Koto, a Japanese plucked fretless dulcimer. He replicated the sound of the koto perfectly on his uke. If I closed my eyes, I wouldn’t have known he was playing a four-stringed instrument!

He used a looper, but unlike Aiden James, who we saw play at the 10th Annual Maui Ukulele Festival last month, Jake looped his tracks infrequently, just two songs, and in such a subtle way. If I wasn’t in the 4th row, I’d probably not have caught it.

On the 2nd song he used the looper, I don’t know the name, he built up an extremely exciting lick. Then turned on a effects pedal and ripped through the most incredible electric guitar (uke) solo I’ve ever heard. It was like Eddie Van Halen! At the end of the song, the 91 year-old lady behind me jumped (relative term) up waving her hands screaming!


If you haven’t seen Jake play yet, please make sure you catch him the next time he’s in Portland.

Here’s a bit of him showing off 🙂