Vampire Weekend – Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa (Riff)


UPDATE: The new look is up if you want to come and see it. If you find anything that isn’t working I’d really appreciate it if you let me know. A huge thanks to Ben Lew for all his hard work in making it happen.

I’m surprised more indie bands haven’t pillaged African sounds. It seems to me that the high octane soukous guitar stylings of Diblo Dibala and Dally Kimoko is prime for some transplantation. Vampire Weekend made a decent stab at it with Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa (kwassa kwassa is the dancing style on display in the Diblo video).

Like a lot of African guitar styles (and the lead parts in A-Punk and Oxford Comma) the lead playing here is heavily based on the chords (G, A and D). I’ve written up the riff in the same key as the original but an octave higher. The chorus is the same chords – I think it sounds best if you use these chord shapes.

Requested by HJM and Imogen

More guitar riffs for uke.

View Comments


  1. Nick B-C. March 4th, 2010 7:50 pm

    …Love Vampire weekend…Love the new look Uke Hunt…Very…Very…COOL…

  2. Zakulele March 4th, 2010 8:04 pm


  3. Ace-T March 4th, 2010 8:55 pm

    Very funky new site. Got a 60’s ‘What’s New Pussy Cat’ vibe about it with the font and colours you have chosen. Like it.

  4. mictoboy March 4th, 2010 10:08 pm

    Interesting. New look is definitely better, will take some time to get used to the headline font, but meh, it’s a font :)

    my only thing is the ‘click to read the rest of this post’ bit. i want to read all of every post, so i feel like I’m being made to jump through an unnecessary hurdle.

    (this actual blog post is great too, btw)

  5. mictoboy March 4th, 2010 10:09 pm

    also, the new front page is a LOT better

  6. PotofBasil March 4th, 2010 11:07 pm

    Well, you’re certainly not backing down to the people
    who object to the sound of the shortened version of Ukulele
    Hunt are you, Al? You’re shoving it down their
    throats with what appears to be a militant ’60s-
    like fist with “Uke Hunt” in big, bold letters.
    Meanwhile “Ukulele Hunt” sits off on the sidelines
    in much smaller print. Loud and proud, and if you
    don’t like the sound of it, well, you an always go somewhere else. Well, yes, of course, but scaring
    off readers for even a silly reason, and I
    always thought that whole to-do was ridiculous, is
    not an approach that will ever carry UH back to the
    no. 1 slot.

    The new logo reminds me of people holding their
    ukes in the air after playing Beethoven at the
    Royal Albert Hall, and as such is a very apt
    sight to welcome people to the site.

    The bigness of everything and everything having
    room to breathe, with nothing being crammed
    together is a very nice design touch. Everything is
    easy to find, no need to waste time roaming all
    over the site just to find one little thing. And I
    just like orange anyway, not too cutesy, not too
    aggressive, either. And bigger print is not just
    nice looking, it helps aging eyes, too.

    Did like the old look, too, but this gets
    top marks and should lead the way to a very
    bright future.

  7. kiwafruit March 4th, 2010 11:27 pm

    Love the new design, Al. The font is so fun and the pics of all the different ukes in the banner are seriously cute.
    I also did like the old look, but I guess this looks a little more pro.
    I assume it was a custom job? I’ll have to send me fellow admins of the BUMS site here to show what a cool Uke site can look like.

  8. cardboardfrog March 5th, 2010 12:30 am

    very much enjoying the new Re-design, came in drunk this evening and it took me a while to work out what the hell was wrong with the internet.
    I like it, and the tab too, also enjoying the UKEHUNT being the main title, cheap puns need protecting!

  9. ROB NY March 5th, 2010 12:53 am

    Congratulations on your UKEHUNTS new look.Great job Al. It looks so very cool!

  10. Anne Marie March 5th, 2010 4:33 am

    Everything is working okay and the new design is so stylish. The colors & lines especially. Always Ukulele Hunt has been the most suave web site to exist, but I think this is all the nicest icing; I love it! How exciting!

  11. PaulC March 5th, 2010 6:08 am

    I love the new look, Al! Great job.

  12. Pompon March 5th, 2010 8:08 am

    Even if it seems redundant… Killer post ! And exquisite new look. I particularly like the new logo, seems quite activist… Reminds me of some lyrics from RATM, “Fist in the air in the land of ukulele” (or is it hypocrisy ? I can’t remember).

    Anyways, congratulations Al !

  13. Julia March 5th, 2010 8:19 am

    Love the new page…. read your site everyday and just wanted to use this occasion to say, how much i love your site and how amazing I think it to be that you run this site… and that i really apreciate the work you do for all us uke players around the world ;)

    sorry if the english is bad, its not my first language

  14. Craig March 5th, 2010 9:13 am

    Brilliant new look, LOVE IT!
    Great tab as well, can’t wait to whack this one out this summer at V Fest!! :D
    Thank you muchly!

  15. Hadyn March 5th, 2010 11:02 am

    Heart the look Woodshed! Bravo!

  16. J-Hob March 5th, 2010 11:27 am

    The new design is super smashing great!

  17. Woodshed March 5th, 2010 11:39 am

    Nick and zak: Thanks!

    Ace-T: Saul Bass is what we were going for so not far off.

    micto: Yeah, I agree with you. Might see if I can change that.

    PotofBasil: I don’t think it’s a silly reason for scaring off readers – I think it’s a very important reason for scaring people off. It’s a signal of the general attitude of the site. And if they’re scared off by that, they wouldn’t have liked the site anyway.

    More readers is always nice but that’s not the main goal. I’d rather have ten people have it as their favourite site than a hundred people have it as their tenth favourite. And you’re not going to get that by being middle of the road.

    kiwafruit: Yep, custom job. All down to Ben Lew.

    cbf: Glad you managed to figure it out!

    RobNY: Thanks!

    Anne Marie: Glad you like it.

    PaulC: Cheers.

    Pompom: I like it too!

    Julia: Thanks very much for the kind words.

    Craig: Have a good time at V.

    Hadyn: Glad to hear it.

  18. karl March 5th, 2010 3:31 pm

    I like it. A lot. Reminds me of the Saul Bass film posters (Vertigo, Anatomy of a Murder, the Man with the Golden Arm).

    As for African ukulele tunes, I play Opération Coup de Poign quite often, based on ‘Brigadier Sabari’ by Alpha Blondy. Soukous guitarists not only played way up the neck, but often used mi-composé tuning, replacing the fourth string with a thin string tuned to a high D (mi). Yep, re-entrant tuning on a guitar, usually capoed at the 5th or 7th fret!

  19. newbie March 5th, 2010 4:22 pm

    Great new design though I’d like the blog to be more prominent on the frontpage (I’m a whiner, I know).

    As for the tabs I used to play this song way up the neck, like on guitar. But this sounds much better.

  20. newbie March 5th, 2010 4:31 pm

    My bad, I meant dooown the neck

  21. Vatsal March 5th, 2010 8:44 pm

    LOVE the new design, only complaint is that I liked how in the old design there was an emphasis on your new and latest posts. You got a preview of your latest tab and chord as well as links to the last few you posted, which was nice. I had to search around a little bit to find them this time. Just a small thing from me. LOVE the tab too, I’ve been waiting for this song. I just can’t get the hammer on at the end of the first measure (it is a hammer-on correct?).

  22. Woodshed March 6th, 2010 11:29 am

    karl: Spot on with both of those.

    newbie and Vatsal: Yeah, the latest posts have been de-emphasized. I wanted to put more focus on the stuff in the archives – partly because one day I’m going to make good on my promise and start posting less.

  23. Donnie Bubbles March 6th, 2010 11:40 am

    Massive WOW on the new look!

  24. Woodshed March 6th, 2010 11:43 am

    Thanks, Donnie, glad you like it.

  25. rico March 6th, 2010 3:15 pm

    nice job on the new ukehunt Al and spot on with the Vampire Weekend tab. Please do more soukous style stuff if possible:)

  26. john March 6th, 2010 3:49 pm

    hey woodshed nice change it looks a lot nicer also the little picture in the top part reminds me of the mighty uke i dont know if anyone already said that or if you know what im talking about but im sure you do also great job on the tabs

  27. Woodshed March 7th, 2010 10:53 am

    rico: I might do a sort of style-guide thing. I do love it.

    John: I do not what you mean – yep, your the first but good referencing.

  28. karl March 7th, 2010 7:42 pm

    al: not entirely spot on. D is re, E is mi. They call it mi composé because they use a high mi string as a fourth, and tune it one step down to the approprioate D. But if I tell this to guitarists, they get all confused, whereas ukulele players, …

    Saul Bass is also a bit agitprop meets cubism – those cut-out shapes and primary colours and edges…

  29. Chuck May 16th, 2010 10:59 pm

    This might be a stupid question… but what is a riff?

  30. Woodshed May 18th, 2010 10:17 pm

    Chuck: I’ve heard it’s short for ‘repeated figure’. It’s just a little bit of music that’s repeated over and over.

  31. Mark September 3rd, 2010 11:10 pm

    So how do you play the chorus?

  32. Sutter October 31st, 2010 6:20 pm

    This is sweet, but am I the only one who wants to know how to play the rest of the song? Its not much else, but I’d love to have the whole thing!!

  33. jarrod February 11th, 2011 5:47 am


    i just got my Uk and im trying to teach my self to play! and this song, this song rocks!!!

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