Portrait of a Ukulele Artist
Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings is a compelling portrait of an inspiring and inventive musician whose virtuoso skills on the ukulele have transformed all previous notions of the instrument’s potential. Through intimate conversations with Shimabukuro (pronounced she-ma-BOO-koo-row), Life on Four Strings reveals the cultural and personal influences that have shaped the man and the musician. On the road from Los Angeles to New York to Japan, the film captures the solitary life on tour: the exhilaration of performance, the wonder of newfound fame, the loneliness of separation from home and family.
Watch Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings May 10 at 9:00 p.m. on WCVE PBS / WHTJ PBS
Archival footage of Shimabukuro’s performances from his teenage years to the present shows the evolution of an artist. Shimabukuro discusses his musical influences, starting with traditional Hawaiian music and performers such as Eddie Kamae, whose interpretations of musical genres outside the standard repertoire encouraged Shimabukuro to experiment on his own.
In addition to Shimabukuro’s performances at concerts before sold-out crowds — where incredibly one man and one small instrument can hold huge audiences spellbound — the film captures his appearances at schools, providing glimpses of a man at ease with himself and happy to introduce children to the joy of music.