In the hands of Jake Shimabukuro, the strumming of a four-string ukulele is unfathomably rich with emotion. His technical prowess is matched by his passion for playing the uke, and matched again by his humility at having become a musical sensation of the international stage.
In honor of the visit to Hawaii by His Holiness the Dalai Lama—one of Jake's heroes—and inspired by the notion of "playing with less," the musician recently dedicated an enchantingly beautiful composition using only three strings. "By playing without the C string," said Shimabukuro, "I have simplified something simple."
And while the concept of living with less and being happy with what you have is a simple one, he admits that it is difficult, too. The message by the Dalai Lama about the importance of happiness is one that particularly resonates with Jake. "To me, once you figure out how to be happy in the moment, you don't long to be somewhere else."
Being in the moment is a way of life for Hawaii-born Jake Shimabukuro. And being in the moment when he performs is what allows other people, regardless of the language they speak or the culture they come from, to be in the moment, as well. His joy in strumming is infectious and the source of Jake's connection with audiences, far and wide.
Long before he gets on stage, Jake creates his compositions, like the one he has dedicated to Pillars of Peace, starting with a feeling "that comes from deep inside...before it becomes music." From his heart, to his ukulele, to our hearts. "Music is a language of human emotions" to Jake Shimabukuro. And to us, he is fluent beyond words.