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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 28, 2010

Ukulele star pays tribute to 442nd

By Wayne Harada
Special to The Advertiser

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Jake Shimabukuro

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'Ukulele sensation Jake Shimabukuro has written and recorded "Go for Broke," a poignant instrumental paying tribute to the heroism of the highly decorated World War II-era 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment.

The tune will be part of his unnamed CD, due in August, but military officials have been looking for a possible fit in this weekend's Memorial Day events.

"I was inspired to write it for the vets because of a funny story: I lived on Lauiki Street near Ala Wai School, where I attended, and my buddies and I used to ride bikes around the block and we used to sneak into Club 100 to drink ice water and then sneak out," said Shimabukuro. "Only years later, I learned of its significance; the 442nd story is so awesome."

Club 100 on Kamoku Street is a gathering place and education center dedicated to the Japanese-American veterans of the 100th Infantry Battalion.

The song features a military-cadence snare drum counterpoint to Shimabukuro's restrained, but poignant uke-strumming sure to resonate with veterans.

If a Memorial Day link fails, Shimabukuro will do a live performance with bandmates Noel Okimoto (drums), Dean Taba (bass) and Michael Grande (keyboards) on June 5 when he appears at a 442nd event at 'Iolani Palace.