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Virtuoso: The ukulele makes peace

By John D. Sutter, CNN
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YouTube ukulele virtuoso
  • Ukulele virtuoso says his stringed instrument promotes peace
  • Jake Shimabukuro became famous because of YouTube clip
  • He says martial arts inspire his playing style
  • Music
  • Hawaii
  • YouTube Inc.

(CNN) -- Ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro says his traditional Hawaiian instrument, which he learned to play at age 4, can make the world less violent.

"I've always believed it's the instrument of peace," he said, "because if everyone played the ukulele, this would be a much more peaceful place."

In a recent interview with CNN at the TED Conference, Shimabukuro discussed how YouTube made him famous, his inspiration in the martial arts and how he makes big, complicated sounds with a small instrument. (TED, a nonprofit dedicated to "Ideas worth spreading," distributes videos of talks on a wide variety of subjects at

Shimabukuro says people have to love hearing the two-octave stringed instrument. He likened its tone to the sound of children laughing.

"You can't help but smile. You play one chord, and it makes everyone in the room smile," he said.