Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings
Friday, May 10 at 9:00 pm
Directed by renowned filmmaker Tadashi Nakamura, Life on Four Strings follows Jake on a nine-month tour throughout the U.S. and Japan. The documentary was filmed at concert halls, elementary schools, senior care centers and in Sendai, the small town in Japan that was ravaged by the March 2011 tsunami. Home video footage, family photos and interviews with family and friends also document Jake's rise to international fame.
Jake began playing the ukulele at age four, when his mother gave him the instrument. He initially gained local recognition in the late 90s as part of the music trio Pure Heart. Then in 2006, a YouTube video of Jake performing George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" blasted his solo career into overdrive. His video became one of YouTube's first viral hits, now at over 11 million views.
Outside of the Islands, the ukulele has long been viewed as a gimmick. Jake's increased popularity may have helped change this perception. With each performance, Jake demonstrates that the ukulele is not just suited for vaudeville and traditional Hawaiian music; he picks and strums jazz, rock, folk and classical music, all on only four strings.
"I never saw the limitations as something that would hold me back," Jake says in the film. Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings was produced by the Center for Asian American Media in collaboration with Pacific Islanders in Communications and funding support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.