Hitchhike Records announced the upcoming release of not one, but two new CDs by ukulele wizard and multi-genre star Jake Shimabukuro: His soundtrack music for the hit Japanese indie film Hula Girl, and a six-song EP, My Life, which continues and extends the concept of his popular previous release, Gently Weeps. Both albums are set for a September 18 release.
Japan's #1 movie Hula Girls returns to the U.S. this year for a major coast-to-coast run after earning rave reviews at numerous international film festivals. The soundtrack, scored by Jake Shimabukuro, is an instrumental masterpiece, recently earning a Japanese Academy Award for Best Sound Recording. The disc features eight new recordings by Jake and two songs by Hawaiian female vocal group Na Leo. The uke maestro's tender ukulele stylings give dramatic effect to emotional scenes in the film. "The Hula Girls soundtrack was equally as exciting because it was my first film score experience," says Jake. "It was a completely new concept for me and extremely challenging. Scoring for piano, guitar, and string quartet was an entirely fresh experience that has inspired me to learn more about orchestral arrangements and think beyond my own instrument, the ukulele."
Jake also offers an EP release featuring six brand new solo-ukulele arrangements of his favorite tunes by the likes of Sarah McLachlan, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and Cyndi Lauper, all on one album wrapped around the timeless classic "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." On this heartfelt and beautiful recording, Jake respects the originals while integrating his own soulful, one-of-a-kind interpretations. "My Life was a lot of fun because it's a compilation of songs that have inspired me since I first heard them growing up in Hawaii," says Jake. "The covered tunes have timeless melodies and were written by artists that I admire greatly. Another highlight for me was having the opportunity to record a song with my younger brother Bruce. He played the guitar part on ‘Time After Time.’ ” Jake will also be touring the U.S. mainland this fall.