Ukulele Player Jake Shimabukuro Comes to Poway Center for the Performing Arts, 10/12

Poway Center for the Performing Arts Foundation brings ukulele "wunderkind" Jake Shimabukuro to the Poway Center for the Performing Arts stage on Friday, October 12, 2012 at 8pm.

The evening, which is sponsored in part by the Phil and Shauna Schneider Family Foundation and Chicago Title, will partly celebrate the October 2nd release of Shimabukuro's new album, Grand Ukulele which was produced by Alan Parsons (The Beatles' Abbey Road' and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon). Grand Ukulele "fuses a multitude of genres" (Billboard Magazine) and further demonstrates the "buoyant musicianship and brisk proficiency" (New York Times), that has critics calling him the "Jimi Hendrix of the ukulele."

"Sometimes the world really does seem like it is divided into two kinds of people: those who have never heard of Jake Shimabukuro, and those who are huge fans, says Michael Rennie, Pow! Foundation Executive Director. "Suffice to say, I'm one of the latter. I first became aware of Jake Shimabukuro after seeing him perform at a National Association of Music Merchants show in 2008. I was struck at how inspired and inspiring Jake was – clearly a virtuoso musician who loves what he does and wants the entire world to pick up an instrument. On stage, he combines the positive, easy-going charm of Jason Mraz with the effortless musicianship of a Stevie Ray Vaughn or Yo-Yo Ma. Yes, I realize that's high praise, but Jake continues to live up to it! This performance is a true 'must-see.'"

Tickets for Jake Shimabukuro at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts are selling quickly. Purchase tickets now by visiting Tickets are $40/$30 *Special engagement. No discounts, complimentary ticket vouchers, group or youth ticket pricing. Poway Center for the Performing Arts is located at 15498 Espola Road, Poway, Calif. Ticket office hours are Friday Noon to 5pm; Saturday 10am to 3pm and two hours before curtain. Call 858-748-0505 for more information.

For Shimabukuro, life has always centered on the ukulele. He started playing the instrument at the age of 4, at the urging of his mother (who also played). Originally raised on traditional Hawaiian music, Shimabukuro soon became entranced by the sounds of top 40 and rock.

Interestingly enough, his two biggest influences weren't musicians. Sure, he looked to the likes of Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen for inspiration, but Shimabukuro credits Bruce Lee and Bill Cosby for creating the foundation of his art. Shimabukuro began his music career in earnest performing at local Honolulu venues and coffee shops. "I loved playing in those intimate coffee shops, and was very happy," he remembers. "But when Sony Music Japan showed interest in signing me, I realized that maybe I had a chance to take it a bit further." Although a few well-received album releases helped the musician earn some fame in Hawaii, his career skyrocketed in 2006 when a YouTube clip of him performing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" in Central Park went viral – over ten-million views and counting.

In the years since that clip aired, Shimabukuro has performed with Bela Fleck and Flecktones, Bette Midler, Yo-Yo Ma, Cyndi Lauper, Ziggy Marley, Levon Helm, Marcus Miller, Stanley Clarke, Les Paul, Dave Koz, Chris Botti, and Jimmy Buffett. He's played on shows like "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," "The Late Show with Conan O'Brien," "The Today Show" and "Last Call with Carson Daly," was a featured artist on NPR's "Weekend Edition," and more recently was a featured artist on Rolling Stone Live. He's landed slots on the Monterrey and Playboy Jazz Festivals, performed at Google and the influential TED conference, and performed in front of the Queen of England in Blackpool (alongside Bette Midler). Shimabukuro also received a cameo in the Adam Sandler movie "Just Go with It," where he also recorded a few songs for the soundtrack.

As his career continues to blossom, Shimabukuro is also busy giving back to the island community, and using the ukulele as a tool to motivate kids to live drug-free. "I often visit schools and perform for the students, encouraging them to make good choices and stay away from drugs," he says.

Despite the success, Jake remains humble and admittedly "awestruck" by how his love of the ukulele has propelled him to such great heights. For that, he gives full credit to the instrument he's played with a passion since he was four years old. "If everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place," says Shimabukuro.

For more about Jake, visit

Poway Center for the Performing Arts (POW!) Foundation, now in its 23nd season, serves San Diego County by presenting a series of professional concerts, plays, family programming and more. Functioning through a special partnership with the City of Poway and the Poway Unified School District, the center draws audiences from throughout San Diego County with world-class talent from the worlds of drama (Michael York, Ed Asner), rock and roll (Max Weinberg, Los Lobos, Edgar Winter, Dave Mason, John Sebastian); country music (Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Clint Black); folk music (Peter Yarrow, Tommy Makem); television (Ed McMahon, the Smothers Brothers , John Astin and Loretta Swit); and classical music (The Romeros, Orchestra Nova, The Ahn Trio).

Add to that list international dance troupes from China, the Philippines, India and Hungary, as well as top-notch, family-friendly programming from the Kennedy Center and the Missoula Children's Theatre, and it's easy to see why the PCPA is the destination of choice for North San Diego County families seeking quality, live entertainment.

In addition, the Foundation sponsors the Arts in Education Initiative created to help fulfill the instructional need for arts education in area schools through an assortment of programs including in-school workshops and assemblies, "Up Close and Personal" Master Classes with visiting artists, district-wide Introduction to Instruments, and a one-week, all-expenses paid theater camp held at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts.

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