Musician Jake Shimabukuro has surprising crossover appeal. No “Tiny Bubbles” for him: his concert tours in Hong Kong and Japan are sellouts, and his latest recording, Peace Love Ukulele (Hitchhike Records; $10), made its debut at number one on Billboard’s World Albums chart. In his hands, the traditional two-octave Hawaiian instrument comes alive with rapid-fire licks that slide him closer on the scale to guitar heroes Jimi Hendrix and B. B. King. A Japanese American whose family has lived in Hawaii for five generations, Shimabukuro remains a local at heart. “Honolulu is the perfect blend of city and country,” he says. “I’ve been to some pretty cool places in the last few years, but it will always be my home.”
Rising star Jake Shimabukuro—who’s taking ukelele to the masses—takes T+L on a hometown tour of Honolulu.