The ukulele is a musical instrument with four strings. It is also called the uke for short. Ukuleles are part of the lute family of instruments. (Lutes are stringed musical instruments that include a body and "a neck which serves both as a handle and as a means of stretching the strings beyond the body") Ukuleles normally have nylon strings or gut strings.
Ukuleles commonly come in four sizes: soprano, concert, tenor and baritone.
The ukulele was invented in the 19th Century in Hawaii, where people got the idea from small guitar-like instruments known as cavaquinhos brought to the island by Portuguese sailors.
Jake Shimabukuro was born November 3, 1976, in Honolulu, Hawai’i. He is a Japanese-American ukulele player and composer known for his fast and complex finger work. His music combines elements of jazz, blues, funk, rock, bluegrass, classical, folk, and flamenco.
Jake started playing the ukulele when he was four. His mom was a ukulele player and he kept on asking her to teach him. Jake said "From that day on, you had to pry the instrument away from me to get me to do anything else."
In 2005, Shimabukuro became famous around the world when a video of him performing George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" went viral on YouTube. He said, "At the time, I didn't even know what YouTube was. Nobody did, especially in Hawaii." but it bought his music to millions of people. He now performs all over the world and is now considered to be a 'virtuoso' ukulele player (it means he is an expert!).