When you think of Jake Shimabukuro, you can’t help but picture him with an ukulele in hand.
Well, Shimabukuro wants to picture everyone else the same way, which is why he has collaborated with the Takamine guitar company to create a brand-new type of uke.
Called the MIGM ukulele, the newly minted instrument will play a key role in supporting two causes close to Shimabukuro’s heartstrings: Music Is Good Medicine (hence MIGM) and its ukulele program Four Strings for Kids.
Shimabukuro has been MIGM’s spokesman for more than 10 years, taking time out of his busy schedule to visit schools, senior care centers and charity events to share his talent. In fact, he created Four Strings for Kids earlier this year to help put ukuleles into classrooms and into the hands of kids who may otherwise be unable to afford one.
“I’ve always felt that because of my passion and my interest in music, it really helped me live a very positive lifestyle,” he says. “I’ve always believed that just the sound of the instrument itself is so therapeutic and healing, and that’s kind of the idea behind Four Strings for Kids.”
A portion of proceeds from ukulele sales (to be available in summer 2010) will support MIGM’s outreach programs, including schools through Four Strings for Kids.Visit http://www.musicisgoodmedicine.org for more information.
On a different note, Shimabukuro is fresh off playing for The Royal Variety Performance and Her Majesty The Queen with a cast of other big-name stars including Whoopi Goldberg, Michael Buble, Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga. Shimabukuro was accompanied by the divine Miss Bette Midler on his rendition of The Beatles’ In My Life for the annual benefit concert Monday night (Dec. 7) in Blackpool, England.
Upon his return from the royal engagement, Shimabukuro lends his talent to the second annual Toys For Tots Holiday Concert tonight (Dec. 9) at 7 p.m. at Blaisdell Center concert hall. The show features the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific Band performing holiday favorites with Shimabukuro and other special guests Anita Hall, Jim Nabors and the Honolulu Boy Choir. Tickets are free and available at Blaisdell box office.
His holiday tour continues Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Honolulu Marathon events, including the big race itself. He’ll make one last stop at Jimmy Buffett’s (7:30 p.m. Dec. 14) before departing on a tour of Japan.
“It may seem like a really far-fetched idea,” Shimabukuro says, “but I’ve always believed that if everyone in the world played the ukulele, the world would be a much happier place.”
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