Ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro has reinvented an instrument once considered a novelty, a toy seen at a backyard luau. Playing a wide range of genres, he uses strumming, picking, and fretboard techniques that leave even the best guitarists in awe. What would you be willing to pay to see Eric Clapton, Carlos Montoya, Cat Stevens, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, and Bella Fleck? For 20 bucks, Shimabukuro interpreted the best of all of those artists (and more), making their diverse music his own by displaying a range of styles that kept each song unique. Standout takes included Zeppelin’s “Going to California,” the Beatles’ “In My Life” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and Jacko’s “Thriller.”

Humble, gracious, and witty, Shimabukuro's interaction with the crowd reminded me of John Sebastian or Richie Furay. He thanked the audience for allowing him to follow his passion and turn his childhood hobby into a career.

After the show, Jake greeted each fan as they walked by. He signed CDs, played guest's ukuleles for them, and chatted. No one felt rushed.

When I asked about his practice regimen, he said, "Practice is not work because I love to play. I need to play like I need to eat."

  • Concert: Jake Shimabukuro
  • Show date: February 8
  • Venue: Belly Up Tavern, Solana Beach
  • Seats: General


andi Feb. 15, 2010 @ 2:48 p.m.

The show sold out that day - we're lucky to have seen Jake at this stage in his career! Here's my review, with photos:


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