Jake Shimabukuro strums monster sounds out of the tiny Hawaiian ukulele, as he plays a cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” A sensational performance from TED2010 — it’ll send shivers down your spine.
To Jake Shimabukuro, the ukulele means more than grass skirts and loud shirts. He’s on a mission to revolutionize our perception of the four-string, two-octave instrument.
Why you should listen to him:
Jake Shimabukuro’s mother gave him his first ukulele lesson when he was 4. Ever since, he’s been experimenting with innovative techniques and sounds that cross-cut funk, jazz, rock, classical, even flamenco. From gigs at a local Honolulu café, Jake has swept onto the international stage, and now tours frequently with Jimmy Buffett. With his light-speed fingerwork, he plays original pieces and covers songs by artists ranging from Bach to Michael Jackson. His versatile sound is featured on Yo-Yo Ma’s holiday album, Songs of Joy and Peace, and Ziggy Marley’s Grammy Award-winning Love Is My Religion.
Shimabukuro is a spokesman for Music Is Good Medicine, a community outreach program that promotes healthy living through music. He travels to schools throughout Hawaii, the mainland US and Japan to inspire kids to create music and experience its therapeutic benefits. He recently forayed into the world of cinema to compose scores for the films Hoot (produced by Jimmy Buffet), Hula Girls, a hit Japanese independent film, and the Japanese version of Sideways. He just finished an album of Beatles covers, released in Japan and featuring a collaboration with Cyndi Lauper. And this past December, he performed with Bette Midler in front of the Queen of England.
“I love what I do. I’m forever thankful to music.”
This Talk on TED.com
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