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Jake Shimabukuro at Melbourne Recital Centre

06 Apr 2017

Jake Shimabukuro at Melbourne Recital Centre Image

By Meg Hill
Southbank will be treated to an infatuating blend of traditional Hawaiian and contemporary cosmopolitan music with the return of ukulele guru Jake Shimabukuro at the Melbourne Recital Centre on Monday, April 10.

Jake is returning with a new album full of originals –showcasing his continued commitment to breaking the confines of expected ukulele playing.

Like his music, Jake’s career has taken shape with help from both old and new strategies. He had worked in multiple bands, released four solo albums and signed with Sony Music before going “viral” on YouTube in 2006 when a third party posted a video of his While My Guitar Gently Weeps cover. The video had millions of views before Jake was even aware of it.

“It almost singlehandedly started a touring career for me outside of Hawaii and Japan,” he said. “YouTube has made it a lot easier for artists like myself to get music out to the public.”

The video now has over 15 million views – appealing to such a large number of people by shattering their ideas of what the ukulele is capable of.

Jake says experimenting with different genres on the ukulele was just a natural progression for him.

“My musical interests changed over the years. I started out playing strictly traditional Hawaiian music – but as I got older, I found that I loved many different styles of music – like rock, classical, jazz, blues, pop, etc,” he said.

Jake, however, is not one to grow complacent. His newest album is his first all-original and he says his shows have developed since his last visit to Australia.

“It’ll be the first time that I’ll be bringing my bassist up with me. The show will be quite different than my previous concerts in Australia. There will be a lot more jamming and spontaneous improvisation now that I have someone to hold down a groove for me,” he said.

But, Jake has not forgotten the power of covering the classics on ukulele. If you’re hanging out for a Bohemian Rhapsody or While My Guitar Gently Weeps cover, he promises not to disappoint.

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