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Though some still have trouble pronouncing his last name and the instrument he plays, Jake Shimabukuro (she-ma-BOO-koo-row) is recognized as one of the world's most exciting and innovative ukulele (oo-koo-LAY-lay) players and composers.

Jake's latest release is Live, his first full-length CD since 2006's best-selling Gently Weeps. After taping dozens of U.S. and overseas performances Jake chose these tracks as representing "the best of the best" of his live playing. Every track reveals a different side of the ukulele: soft and sensitive at times, other times cheery and playful, occasionally dramatic, and, once in a while, hard and aggressive. The 17-song CD, released on April 14, includes 12 Shimabukuro originals (Nine versions of his best-known compositions, plus four brand-new tunes) and five covers (including a jaw-dropping version of J.S. Bach's "Two-Part Invention No. 4 in D Minor"; an amazing interpretation of "Thriller," the Rod Temperton song made famous by Michael Jackson). Of course there's a live version of George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" which might be Jake's best-recorded version yet!

Renowned for lightning-fast fingers and revolutionary playing techniques, Jake views the ukulele as an "untapped source of music with unlimited potential." His virtuosity defies label or category. 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 the traditional Hawaiian music - or corny showbiz routines -- many associate it with.


Jake's collaborations and special projects are varied. He's toured with Bela Fleck & the Flecktones and recorded on their Little Worlds (2003) album. Jake was also featured on Ziggy Marley's Grammy-Award winning Love is My Religion (2006). Since Jimmy Buffet made Jake a semi-regular member of his Coral Reefers band Jake has appeared on three of their CDs as well as two DVDs. At the end of 2008, he was a guest artist on Yo-Yo Ma's holiday album,Songs of Joy and Peace. Their collaboration on the John Lennon/Yoko Ono tune "Happy Xmas [War is Over]" will be part of Jake's forthcoming album of Beatles covers, Across the Universe (the title track of which features Cyndi Lauper).

In addition, Jake is making a name for himself as a film composer. His work with Buffett led to his contributions to the soundtrack of the Buffett-produced film, Hoot. Shortly afterward, Jake scored the hit Japanese independent film Hula Girls (the soundtrack album was released in the U.S. on Hitchhike Records in 2007). Jake also recently completed writing and recording the score for the Japanese version of the film Sideways.

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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