January 10th, 2012
02:19 PM ET

Sneak Peek: Peace, love and ukulele with Jake Shimabukuro

By Joshua Belsky, CNN

(CNN) -  If everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a more peaceful place, says Jake Shimabukuro, a ukulele virtuoso who is the subject of the upcoming episode of CNN's "The Next List," which airs Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.

Based on Shimabukuro's performances, it's hard not to think the world might be a happier place if everyone picked up the small, Hawaiian instrument that he's made famous through YouTube videos and concerts.

Jake Shimabukuro gives "The Next List" a free uke lesson in Princeton, NJ.

We discovered Shimabukuro by watching his 2006 career-launching YouTube video (and you thought Justin Bieber was the only one) of George Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps. That video led us to his jaw-dropping TED video performing Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Watch both and you’ll immediately sense that nobody has ever told Shimabukuro about the limitations of playing a four-stringed, two octave instrument that looks like a child's toy.

Shimabukuro has almost single-handedly made the ukulele cool by combining elements of jazz, rock and pop in his playing. He’s a reluctant ambassador of the instrument but his enthusiasm and love for it is undeniable. Even while preparing for the show, CNN production assistant Nina Raja was so inspired by Shimabukuro that she went out and purchased a “uke” for herself. Not only did she get a good deal, she learned her purchase put her into a huge club of uke players that's popping up everywhere due to increased sales of the instrument. Perhaps the popularity in sales is due to it’s affordability in a down economy - or maybe it’s the idea that the ukulele’s limitations have been both accepted for their beauty and seriously tested by Shimabukuro and others. Whatever the reason, we’re getting closer to finding out if Jake is right about his ukulele-equals-better-world theory.

The Next List's Cubie King, Nina Raja and Kristyn Martin location scouting in Princeton, NJ.

Tune in Sunday at 2 p.m. ET to see The Next List's full profile of Jake Shimabukuro.

In the meantime, please Follow "The Next List," Like us, and check out our photos!

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Filed under: Innovation • The Next List
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Sali

    So if Democrats won't detbae at GOP News, they're afraid, but if Republicans won't detbae at CNN, they're proving a point?Hey Jacob, RTFA. The Republicans did detbae on CNN. Rush predicted the slimy attack job by CNN and said: I never said the Republicans shouldn't do it because of bias. We all know there's bias in the Drive-By Media. We all know that CNN's going to choose questions based on their agenda, based on what they get submitted to them. We know there's going to be bias.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:05 am | Reply
    • Chama

      I was a lousy guitar plaeyr due to a slightly mangled pinky finger and related hand damage. As such, I just couldn't master the instrument after years of trying (and possibly a lack of native musical talent). Last year I purchased a Lanikai LU-21C (concert sized) uke after spending weeks of research. I paid $79.00 for a package on sale: uke, extra strings, beginner's book, and gig bag.After stretching the strings for a couple of days, I sat down and began to seriously tinker with the uke. A year later, I find I play it every single day for one to four hours a day. I love this uke!The Lanikai LU-21C has a nice, rich, and sweet sound. Because it is the concert size, I believe it the tone is fuller than a soprano. The sustain is very good. The uke reports all the proper notes on on the 12th fret, which I learned is a trick to test the quality of the neck, nut and bridge. It range true and clear. The native action on the uke was a little hight, but 2 mm sanded from the bridge did the trick. Even before the bridge reduction, I never heard a buzz that was not caused by my poor fingering.The fit and finish are well above average. There are no gaps in the joinery, the fret board is smooth, even and lays flat. The body pieces are securely attached. The internal pieces of clean, well finished and properly applied and aligned. The tuners are machine heads, and they hold a tune remarkably well even after some heavy playing (hammering and picking). I treated the entire uke to a tung oil coat since it is matte finish. The finish was nice, but I caught a few rough spots where the neck joins the body. I used tung oil to add a layer of protection to the wood. This did not effect the sound or tone in any manner.This uke is a joy to play. It sounds good, looks good, and has withstood my learning curve. I switched to Aquila strings, and that simply improved the entire experience.Purist will berate Lanikai as Chinese pieces of junk, but I heartily and vociferously disagree. My Lanikai is now a study, trusted and loved friend. This is a great uke for beginners and even intermediate plaeyrs. A friend even borrowed it to use on stage. He loved it as well; so much so that he got one for himself.Lastly, I recently got a Fender Hua'Oli tenor ukulele. It's nice, but I think the Lanikai sounds better fuller, richer and sweeter. Could be the strings. Time to test some Aquilas on it.

      August 22, 2012 at 12:46 am | Reply
  2. Kencrisolcaryo

    MoPoop,You just can't help yosruelf not to stuff ballotboxes or audiences.CNN ought to be forced to host a Democrat debate where disguised GOP operatives get to ask all the questions.Watch the Democrats run from that as none of their candidates will answer a fair question squarely and truthfully.

    February 19, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Reply
  3. Henry Jia

    please show this again

    January 22, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Reply
    • Luisa

      Great song, it's been cool watching you get betetr and betetr over the years. You seem way more comfortable and more slick now. Great job.

      August 19, 2012 at 8:46 am | Reply
  4. Henry Jia

    JAKE IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 15, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Reply
    • Brenda

      The rtusleing fallout has proven a huge blow to CNN's credibility, since it co-sponsored and aired the forum.I don't think it is a huge blow to CNN, because their lack of credibility was in the tank way before the debate. CNN can't fall much lower. Remember these CNN screwups:Operation Tailwind, CNN NewsStand (1998). Lying/fabricating. The televised special claimed that the U.S. military used nerve gas in a mission to kill American defectors in Laos during the Vietnam War, but the story had no factual support. CNN later retracted the story.Eason Jordon and CNN (2003). Admitted bias, slanting the news. Eason Jordan, CNN's news chief, admitted that CNN withheld reporting on Saddam Hussein's atrocities so as to continue getting favored treatment from Saddam.(2005). False accusations. CNN Eason Jordan accused U.S. forces in Iraq of deliberately targeting and killing journalists. He apologized and resigned.(2002). CNN reported: "There's almost a massacre now taking place in Jenin, the Palestinian refugee camp. Helicopter gun ships are throwing missiles at one square kilometer packed with almost 15,000 people in a refugee camp . . . This is a war crime, clear war crime." However, the actual "death toll was 56 Palestinians, the majority of them combatants, and 23 Israeli soldiers."and on, and on, and on...By the way, congrats on another listing on the Hot Air site.

      February 19, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Reply
  5. MKULTRA BRAINIMPLANTS4U

    MILLIONS TO BE ASSASSINATED FOR THE SAKE OF $$$ LIABILITIES(mk-ultra, chip implants, electroshocks etc. performed on them) AND NEW WORLD ORDER(multiculturalism = terrorism) POLITICAL AGENDA KNOWN AS "YOU ARE NEXT"(financial liabilities are 2 expensive for the government and it is cheaper to get read of you instead) !!! IF YOU WERE TREATED WITH ELECTROSHOCKS OR DRUGS USED FOR WIPING OUT MEMORY(numerous Americans and Europeans were and are) AFTER ENDURING FORCED CHIP IMPLANTS(or to retard individual = how homeless people are produced), YOU ARE SCHEDULED NEXT !!!

    NOW YOU KNOW WHAT ORWELLIAN UNITED STATES CONGRESS(USSR#2) IS SOOO BUSY WHEN PLAYING/CLOWNING(acting) IN FRONT OF CAMERAS ONLY HOW SOMETHING HAVE TO BE DONE(deliberately omitting/delaying facts of genocide as seen on this complain) !!!
    http://myshortbiography.blogspot.com/

    LEARN TRUTH ABOUT UNITED NATIONS, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL AS WELL AS NEW WORLD ORDER(MULTICULTURALISM = TERRORISM) GOVERNMENTS(Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) !!! NOT THERE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, BUT TO DENY YOUR RIGHT TO EXISTENCE !!!

    ABDUCTIONS / FORCED BRAIN CHIP IMPLANTS / BLACKLISTING / FORCEFUL UNEMPLOYMENT / MK-ULTRA BRAINWASHING AGAINST WHITE(under "NAZI" lie) CIVILIAN POPULATION TODAY IN 2011/2012 ACROSS THE EUROPE AND NORTHERN AMERICA !!!

    http://myshortbiography.blogspot.com/

    WHY TO ACCEPT LIABILITIES FOR CRIMES COMMITTED WHEN WE CAN SIMPLY ASSASSINATE OUR VICTIMS(YOU) THANKS TO HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS AND FREE PRESS/MEDIA(most severe censorship of genocide ever !!!)!!

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xGfYOAydjw&w=640&h=390]
    OR
    http://www.youtube.com/user/BostjanAvsec OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE RECORDED LIVE IN 2009 !!! EXILING WHITES(US citizens) WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE AND IMPORTING NON WHITES IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FREE !!!

    January 11, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Reply

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