Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Jake Shimabukuro gifts KNKX with a rocking performance

Ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro brought his "Christmas in Hawaii" show to the Northwest this month with concerts in Olympia, Seattle and Mt. Vernon. He also performed a pre-show session for KNKX at the Moore Theatre and talked about celebrating the winter holidays in an island paradise.

Shimabukuro's latest album, Jake & Friends includes a variety of musicians including Bette Midler, Ziggy Marley, Willie Nelson, Sonny Landreth and long-time friend and booster Jimmy Buffett. In fact, Shimabukuro told a great story about a surprise visit from Buffett at a Seattle concert where the "Margaritaville" star ended up selling shirts and CDs after the show.

Shimabukuro was joined by bassist Jackson Waldhoff on the Moore Theatre stage in downtown Seattle.

With Waldhoff in steady support, this special concert began with Shimabukuro's fiery rendition of "We Three Kings" with a hint of the Beatles. Then he really let his classic rock influence take over.

Shimabukuro and Waldhoff combined for a remarkable performance of the Queen hit "Bohemian Rhapsody" that emphasized the song's classical and hard rock elements.

Next was a Shimabukuro original called "Dragon" that came from daydreaming about his heroes Bruce Lee and Eddie Van Halen collaborating on a song for the ukulele.

Finally, honoring a fellow ukulele lover, Shimabukuro played a duet version of the George Harrison song "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" including a guitar riff medley introduction and a bass solo from Waldhoff that had the ukulele master shaking his head.

Shimabukuro credits the start of his touring career to his recording of the song in 2006, it now has more than 17 million views on YouTube.

In a conversation with KNKX jazz host Abe Beeson, Shimabukuro talked about his new album and his own progression as a musician. He also shared his memories of growing up celebrating Christmas in Hawaii and his appreciation for the supportive musical community there.

The Northwest may be a long plane ride away from Hawaii, but the cultures have been closely intertwined for years. KNKX is immensely proud to connect you with one of the Aloha State's finest in Jake Shimabukuro.


  • Jake Shimabukuro - ukulele
  • Jackson Waldhoff - bass


  1. We Three Kings
  2. Bohemian Rhapsody
  3. Dragon
  4. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Studio Sessions Jake ShimabukuroJustin Kawika YoungJackson WaldhoffJimmy Buffett
Abe grew up in Western Washington, a third generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KNKX, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and started hosting Evening Jazz in 1998.
Related Stories