Ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro, live in Bangkok!

Jake Shimabukuro, the fifth-generation Japanese American who honed his musical skills on the ukulele growing up in Hawaii, recently concluded his brief Asian concert tour in Bangkok with a stop at the legendary Scala Theatre, a 1,000-seat auditorium usually reserved for single-screen Hollywood movie showings.

The concert – which took place July 3 following appearances in Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan – marked Shimabukuro’s first performance in Bangkok and first-ever visit to Thailand. He lamented that, although he had looked forward to visiting Thailand for quite some time, he could only spend a mere 24-hour stop that consisted of downing pad thai and every color of curry imaginable for lunch, performing and then catching an early flight the next morning.


Shimabukuro performed a number of songs from his Alan Parsons-produced 2012 album “Grand Ukulele,” including the cheerful “More Ukulele”:

Shimabukuro quickly showed why he is a cut above the rest, tackling both introspective and technically demanding pieces with equal aplomb, and also casting the spotlight on his composition skills. He wrote one such work, “Missing Three,” after he discovered that one of the four strings on his instrument was gone:

Shimabukuro presented one of his best pieces, “Dragon,” as a nearly 10-minute performance that turned his instrument into what he called an “electric ukulele.” As a high school student, after watching Van Halen perform in the first rock concert he had ever attended live, he vowed to someday be able to “shred” with the ukulele onstage. His take follows:

Following the concert, Shimabukuro held an onstage meet-and-greet with fans, many of whom brought their own CDs and ukuleles to be autographed.