‘The Virtuoso of Ukulele Players’ to play in Caldwell

Jake Shimabukuro has a lot in common with the humble ukulele he plays; both are mixtures of island and outside influences, and combinations of modern and historical traditions. Jake combines the qualities of a long line of virtuoso ukulele players with modern rock musicians to create a sound that’s uniquely his own but still firmly grounded in Hawaiian tradition.

He’ll showcase that original sound when he appears in Caldwell at 7 p.m. on Oct. 21 in the Jewett Auditorium on The College of Idaho campus as part of the C of I’s Caldwell Fine Arts Series. Regular adult ticket prices are $30, $25 and $20, depending upon where you sit, and child/student tickets are $20, $15 and $10. You can order tickets online at or call 459-5275.

College of Idaho Staff, Students, and Faculty receive free admission to the concert. As this event is expected to sell out, there may not be sufficient tickets available at the door. If you would like a guaranteed seat, you may reserve them ahead of time. There are three ways to reserve tickets: Pick up tickets at Langroise 100 C before Oct. 16, call 459-5217 to reserve and get a print-at-home ticket, or order online at Students, select a student ticket and use coupon code “yotes.” Faculty and Staff, use coupon code “employee.” Please note that the concert is during break week when school is out of session, so only request a ticket if you will be able to use it. Tickets are non-transferable and must be used with a valid C of I ID card.

One person sure to be in the audience is Taylor Hawker, a C of I alum and current alumni relations coordinator. He has one short piece of advice for students, “Go see him!”

“I got to see Jake when he played in Boise a few years ago and he is incredible,” Hawker said. “I have never seen anyone play a ukulele that fast…not to mention he toured with Jimmy Buffet, which is just as cool.”

Known for his energetic strumming on the ukulele, Shimabukuro’s performance incorporates elements of thoughtful, sophisticated arrangements to spontaneous, improvised passages. Rolling Stone magazine, in talking about Shimabukuro, said, “One of the hottest axemen of the past few years doesn’t actually play guitar.” In addition to his original compositions, his repertoire includes Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Schubert’s Ave Maria and Cohen’s Hallelujah.

Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Shimabukuro’s life has always centered on the ukulele. He started playing at the age of four, urged by his mother who also played. Shimabukuro began his music career in the mid-90’s, performing at local coffee shops as a sideman with his first band, Pure Heart. But Shimabukuro’s solo career began in 2002 when he signed with Epic Records, becoming the first ukulele player to sign with Sony Music.

While his well-received solo releases positioned Shimabukuro as an established musician in Hawaii and Japan, his career skyrocketed when a cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” went viral on YouTube with more than 13 million views, he’s appeared on several TV shows and performed at venues such as SXSW and at a TED talk conference.

Shimabukuro travels to schools around the world and spreads positive messages to young people, encouraging them to find their passion and live drug-free. Caldwell Fine Arts will host hundreds of local school children in a daytime program featuring Shimabukuro’s uplifting message and exciting music.

And as October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Caldwell Fine Arts will partner with Advocates against Family Violence to host a “baby shower” to collect baby items for Hope’s Door Domestic Violence Shelter. Please bring donations of diapers, wipes, and trash bags to the concert to benefit our community’s youngest victims of family violence.

The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.  For more information, visit