Ukulele Legend to Perform at Pepperdine

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Described as “master” and “the Jimi Hendrix” of the ukulele, Jake Shimabukuro will visit Pepperdine University for two performances on Saturday, Dec. 1, and Sunday, Dec. 2.

“Every major artist has that one defining album or performance, but for ukulele master Shimabukuro, his entire career has been filled with such magical achievements,” Pepperdine shared in a press release.

Shimabukuro grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he first picked up the instrument at the age of 4, learning the basics from his mother and developing his skills further by studying Eddie Kamae, Ohta-San and Peter Moon.

Shimabukuro first became a local phenomenon as a member of the group Pure Heart, with his fame soon after spreading to Japan. There he was signed to Epic Records in 2001 as a solo artist.

In 2005, Shimabukuro gained international notoriety when a video of him performing George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” went viral.

“Throughout his rich and varied catalog of albums, Shimabukuro captures the many moods of the ukulele, fearlessly traversing boundaries and putting his inspired touch on everything from island standards, to popular tunes and classical symphonic concertos,” Pepperdine wrote.

Shimabukuro has since collaborated with many artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Jimmy Buffett, Jack Johnson, Bette Midler and more. 

Shimabukuro’s Pepperdine performances will take place in Smothers Theatre at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets, which start at $25 for adults and $10 for Pepperdine students, are available by calling 310-506-4522 or visiting