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The Boston Globe


Summer Arts Weekend

Jake Shimabukuro takes the ukulele to new pop heights

It was a Boston band, of all things, that changed Jake Shimabukuro’s understanding of what he could do on the ukulele. As a kid growing up in Hawaii, he mostly played traditional music on the instrument, until he heard Extreme’s “More Than Words.”

“Everyone at my high school was trying to learn that song on guitar,” says Shimabukuro. “One day I was listening to the tune with my ukulele, and I figured out how to play it on four strings. I went to school the next day and played it for my friends, and everybody freaked out. ‘Wait. What? You can’t play that on ukulele!’ ”

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