Ukulele Players – Indie Ukulele

Stephin Merritt – Magnetic Fields

Who? Dark humorist and dour songwriter with Magnetic Fields, Gothic Archies and other projects.

What’s so special? The first alternative act I heard use the ukulele (in 1999’s 69 Love Songs). Put to rest the idea that everything sounds happy on the ukulele. Introduced the ukulele to a generation of youngsters who are a little too intelligent and cynical for Harry Potter by providing the soundtrack to Lemony Snicket.

Want to hear more? Gothic Archies – The Tragic Treasury

Learn to play like him Smile Tab

Zach Condon – Beirut

Who? Interrailing indie star.

What’s so special? Made it passe for anyone to play something as obvious as a guitar and widened the hipster’s sonic palette to include brass, accordions and, yes, ukuleles.

Want to hear more? Beirut – Gulag Orkestar

Learn to play like him Beirut Chords and Tabs

Dent May and His Magnificent Ukulele

Who? Crooning ukulele lounge singer.

What’s so special? Giving the ukulele equal billing and lending the instrument a barrow-full of nerd-cool.

Want to hear more? The Good Feeling of Dent May and his Magnificent Ukulele

Learn to play like him Meet Me in the Garden Chords


Who? Crazy cat lady with a ukulele.

What’s so special? Easily the most startling ukulele player around today. Completely original and endlessly compelling.

Want to hear more? tUnE-YaRdS – BiRd-BrAiNs

Learn to play like her Hatari Tab


Who? Prolific indie folkie.

What’s so special? Ukulele packed debut You Think It’s Like This, But Really It’s Like This in 2000 showing that the ukulele can do more than just gentle strumming.

Want to hear more? Mirah – You Think It’s Like This, But Really It’s Like This

Learn to play like her Million Miles Tab

View Comments


  1. Douglas March 2nd, 2010 4:56 pm

    Tune-Yards is a “her”!

  2. Herman Vandecauter March 2nd, 2010 9:00 pm

    Mirah has somthing charming butI like the Zach codon video a lot.

  3. Woodshed March 2nd, 2010 10:05 pm

    Douglas: Fixed. Thanks. (It’s been a long day)

    Herman: Glad you enjoyed them.

  4. Duppy March 2nd, 2010 11:07 pm

    I love Zach Condon/Beirut, but I truly lust for the fluke in the Elephant Gun video.

  5. Marigail March 3rd, 2010 2:28 am

    What about Danielle Ate the Sandwich?
    She’s pretty good, and funny.

    Love to see Dent May up there; he’s from my area.

  6. Woodshed March 3rd, 2010 9:59 pm

    Duppy: Looks like they airbrushed the Fluke in the video.

    Marigail: Thanks for the suggestion. She’ll be in the ‘YouTube Stars’ selection when I get round to doing it.

  7. Dag May 6th, 2010 12:53 am

    This may be completely obvious (get our your sunglasses, the flash is going to be bright), but somewhere along the line the late, great Tiny Tim has been forgotten. Granted, he got obnoxious with the “Tip-toe Through the Tulips” routine and the whole Miss Vicky thing in the late 1960s, but this man was an exceptional ukulele player (as well as other instruments). He also kept the uke in vogue when Don Ho was “Tiny Bubbl(es)ing” us to death.

    Tiny Tim was a freak and true indie performer if ever there was one. Here he is singing the song made famous in the present day by Spongebob Squarepants ( Tim displays more of his skill here on “Bushwacker” ( However, the uke in the USA owes a lot to the man.

    Moreover, we are indebted to Tiny Tim for the mind-bogglingly huge library of rare ukulele and guitar music ranging from 1910 – 1955 in sheet and record form. The man was a living historian of folk music, especially ukulele.

    By the way that falsetto, nearly coloratura, voice of his was developed to mimic old 78 rpm records and as a gimmick. Tiny Tim actually had a relatively pleasant baritone voice.

    Just my two cents.

  8. Alli July 5th, 2010 9:01 pm

    I’m so glad you mention the Magnetic Fields… They have been one of my favorite bands for a long time, and I guess one of the big driving forces for why a couple weeks ago I decided to buy and learn to play the ukulele. The first song I learned how to play was “Nothing Matters When We’re dancing”.
    I found this great website with everything Stephen Merritt has done tabbed and chorded out, for guitar of course. But the chords are fun to play along with.

  9. Woodshed July 8th, 2010 9:26 pm

    Alli: Thanks. I think Magnetic Fields are under appreciated.

  10. Gary November 24th, 2010 11:50 pm

    Like the Zach Condon – Beirut song. Nice upbeat style. Good to see the Uke used in something other than the “put me to sleep” Hawaiian stuff. Stephin Merritt was different but i kept waiting for the song to go somewhere. Tune – Yards ? ? ? Mirah reminded me of a kids show, performance and lyrics didn’t impress me. Great site though.

  11. Woodshed November 27th, 2010 1:57 pm

    Gary: Glad you found something you like.

  12. Crandersauce December 6th, 2010 5:38 am

    Tune-Yards are (is?) the shit.

  13. Kieran April 5th, 2011 3:26 pm

    What about Charlie McDonnell?

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