Ukulele to da max

Most non-Hawaiians think of ukuleles as cheesy accompaniment to staged hula shows for tourists. But locally, the ukulele is a genuine art, appreciated by most. Of course, the repertoire of songs is mostly traditional and folksy, but some of it is really good.

Then along came Jake Shimabukuro from Honolulu, and he infused new life into the instrument. Aside from plugging it in and amplifying it and distorting it, he has also explored new melodies acousticly. He is obviously very talented and can pull off some incredible pieces of music. We missed him last year when he performed in the new Hawaiian composer’s contest they hold every year at the Marriott hotel.

In this video, he plays “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by the Beatles, transposing George Harrison’s electric guitar solo to an acoustic ukulele:

Jake Shimabukuro wailing on the ukulele
Photo credit: Midnight Ukulele Disco

P.S. The title is Hawaiian pidgin for “extreme ukulele.”

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