This week, Ira Sternberg spoke with ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro, performing at the Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas September 30. In this 30-minute episode of Talk About Las Vegas, Shimabukuro talks about learning to play the ukulele at age four; the appeal of the ukulele (hint: it makes you feel like a kid); how YouTube ignited his touring career; why he loves touring; his connection with John Wayne; the influence of Hawaii on his musical perspective and approach to audiences; and the top three songs audiences always want to hear, plus his favorite.
Shimabukuro’s records have topped the Billboard World Music Charts on numerous occasions, and as a live performer he has become one of the hottest tickets around. He’s played with world-renowned orchestras and at prestigious venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center and the Sydney Opera House, and has dazzled audiences at music festivals including Bonnaroo, SXSW, the Playboy Jazz Festival and Fuji Rock Festival. He even performed for that rarest of audiences: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.