Jake Shimabukuro: which song should he play on ukulele for Boing Boing?

PeaceloveukuleleYou might know that I'm a big fan of Jake Shimabukuro, who is probably the greatest living ukulele player. His latest album, Peace Love Ukulele features his standing-ovation cover of Bohemian Rhapsody that he performed at TED last year.

I interviewed Jake at TED and asked him to play on old Hawaiian song for me. He is a great musician and a very nice person. So I'm happy to announce that Jake has agreed to allow Boing Boing's readers to select a song for him to perform on Boing Boing. Choose a song from the list below (after the jump) and at the end of the week, I'll tally the results and let Jake know which song to cover. He'll make a video especially for Boing Boing. Thanks, Jake!



  1. I saw Jake play in a bar in Santa Cruz a couple of months ago.  When I saw the uke come out, I told my partner to get ready to leave, but as soon as Jake started playing, we were both really impressed. Definitely worth the time and trouble to catch him at a show.

  2. Too bad write-in candidates aren’t allowed. I’d recommend Sinister Minister by Bela Fleck. Seems appropriate for a uke.

  3. JAKE: NOT WONDERFUL TONIGHT! If BB selects that song, don’t play it! It will taint your uke, and then you will have to go get another one!!!

  4. I’d like to vote _against_ I Shot the Sherriff, Bad Romance, and Don’t Stop Believin’.  Except that leaves me with a choice between Autumn Leaves and Wonderful Tonight.  Can I just vote against all of ’em?

    How about a _good_ Bob Marley song instead?  You know, Three Little Birds, No Woman No Cry, Stir it Up.

  5. write-in : 
    Nick Lowe’s 1994 version of “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?”, please.

  6. As someone who collects versions of “Don’t Stop Believin'” , I must go with the Journey cover.

    Anything that Jake plays will be welcomed With Open Arms. As sure as the Wheel in the Sky keeps on turnin’, Jake’s Sweet and Simple arrangements Faithfully render the songs he covers. It’s easy to Stay Awhile and Escape into his ukelele playing.
    Any Way You Want It, after you listen to Jake Shimabukuro, That’s the way you’ll need it.

      1. I’d be really impressed if Jake performed James Tenney’s For Ann (rising).  I suspect that the transcriptions are a little difficult to find – but the whole piece should fit on one page.
        Seriously, Jake could do Jarrett Köln Concert.  It’s been transcribed for classical guitar.
        or for a great and fun piece, Steve MacKey’s Physical Property (which I’ve always felt was music for dance).  He would need a quartet to back him up, though.  Does he live near a music school?

        Kronos Quartet playing Physical Property:

  7. I love Jake!   Anything he plays for BB will be pretty awesome.    Even (nods to Irksome) Rick Astley!

  8. Somethings wrong with my computer: I can’t seem to see the sixth choice which, of course, would be the Imperial March from the Star Wars soundtrack.

  9. I went with “Bad Romance” not because it’s my favorite on that list (though it’s pretty good) but because that cover has the best chance to go the most viral, thereby expanding JAKE’S SOCIAL MEDIA EMPIRE.

  10. You 4’33” guys – you’ve obviously never heard Shimabukuro play before.  Even my teenage kids love him – my daughter especially!

    That said, I vote for Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five”.  

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