By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
STILLWATER, OK –World-renowned ukulele artist, Jake Shimabukuro will perform at the Oklahoma State University Seretean Center Concert Hall in Stillwater on Tuesday, October 17, at 8 p.m.
One of the most talented ukulele players in history, Shimabukuro’s performance style draws comparisons to Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis.
Along with his own original compositions, Jake’s concerts feature his solo arrangements of such popular tunes as Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Schubert’s “Ave Maria” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
“We’ve truly never had a performance like Jake Shimabukuro’s,” said Brandon Mitts, arts, culture and entertainment manager for OSU Allied Arts. “He is so talented on the ukulele, and he plays crowd-favorites, which is a combination that will please everyone in the audience.”
A native and resident of Hawaii, Shimabukuro started playing the ukulele at the age of four. He now performs more than 100 times a year, with audiences that have included Queen Elizabeth II. He has collaborated with artists such as Jimmy Buffett, Bette Midler and Cyndi Lauper, and his music has topped Billboard’s World Music Charts on multiple occasions.
“My mom played, and I kept bugging her to teach me,” he recalls. “So one day we sat down on the floor and she put her old Kamaka ukulele in my hands. I remember being so nervous. Then she showed me how to strum the strings and taught me my first chord. I fell in love with the ukulele immediately. From that day on, you had to pry the instrument away from me in order to get me to do anything else.”
His career started in Hawaii, where he was inspired by some of the islands’ great uke players—Eddie Kamae, Ohta-San and Peter Moon. He soon broadened his musical repertoire, drawing influences from across the musical spectrum.
“As I got older,” Jake says, “I realized that I could also learn from guitar players, drummers, violinists, pianists, singers and even dancers, then I started to observe athletes. Athletes are artists too. I was heavily influenced by people like Bruce Lee and Michael Jordan – applying their philosophy and intense, mental focus to music performance.”
In 2005, Shimabukuro became an international phenomenon when a video of him performing the George Harrison song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” went viral on YouTube.
“At the time, I didn’t even know what YouTube was,” Jake said. “But I had some friends who were going to college on the mainland and they sent me a link to the video. By the time I saw it, it already had millions of views. That’s what opened up the doors to touring in North America, Europe, Asia and beyond. It was a big turning point for me.”
Shimabukuro has a varied catalog of albums and his most recent CD, Nashville Sessions, blends elements of jazz virtuosity with “heartfelt melodicism” according to his website.
For decades OSU Allied Arts has brought top-notch talent to the Oklahoma State University campus. This is the second of six performances hosted by OSU Allied Arts during the 2017-2018 season.
Tickets for the performance range from $10 for children 12 and under to $20 for adults and can be purchased online at tickets.okstate.edu. For more information, contact the OSU Allied Arts office at 405-744-7509 or [email protected]
To learn more about Allied Arts and Jake Shimabukuro, visit alliedarts.okstate.edu.