Shimabukuro was a drummer in high school in Hawaii, but he found his calling with the ukulele. He is a master at making music on the two-octave, four-string instrument.
"I really believe it brings so much joy to people, you say the name and you can't help but smile, just say 'ukelele,'" Shimabukuro said.
Shimabukuro was inspired by George Harrison and Jimi Hendrix, but his career began to take off thanks to a YouTube video of him playing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" in Central Park. The video has had 5 million hits on YouTube.
"It's amazing what that little video clip has done for me; it changed my life," he said.
Shimabukuro will be at the Napa Valley Opera House on Friday night and at Yoshi's in San Francisco on Sunday and Monday.