Beirut/Caetano Veloso – O Leaozinho (Chords)


Beirut/Caetano Veloso – O Leãozinho (Chords)

I would have put have put good money on Beirut cropping up on the new Tribute to Caetano Veloso album alongside Beck, Devendra Banhart and Seu Jorge.

But we still have their cavaquinho cover of Veloso’s O Leãozinho. I based the chords on the Beirut version but the original is pretty much identical.

The cavaquinho is tuned DGBD (higher than the ukulele). So to put it in the same range I’ve written the chords for use with a capo at the 7th fret.

Without a Capo


Beirut/Caetano Veloso – O Leãozinho (No Capo Chords)

It gets fiddly playing the chords with a capo at the 7th fret. So here are the open chords if you don’t want the faff.

Suggested Strumming

For a simple strum you can use this twice for each chord:

d – d u – u

The only place that doesn’t work is with the F – Fmaj7 change. If you want to keep things simple you can just play the pattern once for each of those. Or you can do something similar to the way Beirut play it:

Which sounds like this (slow then up to speed):


Strum

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Buy the Beirut version.

Loads more Beirut tabs and chords.

Beirut – Port of Call (Chords)


Beirut – Port of Call (Chords)

I’m working my way through this album from the outside in. I did the opening track here and here’s the album’s closer.

This song has many of the features you’d expect of a Beirut ukulele song: it’s in waltz time, there’s a hammer-on from a second to a major third (although it’s on a D chord rather than the usual F) and there’s plenty of incomprehensible mumbling.

Suggested Strumming

For a dead simple strum you could use this:

d – d u – u

Which – slowed down – sounds like this:


Strum 1

Use that twice for Em, once for each of the Cs. Then (if you’re not doing the twiddly Dsus2 passing chord) it’s twice for D.

For the G-Gsus4 bit, do the main strum for the G. Then one down strum each for Gsus4 – G – Gsus4.

For the rest, it’s four times each.

You can fancy it up a bit by using this two bar pattern:

d – d u – u d u d u – u

Which sounds like this:


Strum2

Twiddly Bits

The little Dsus2 – D hammer-on is played like this:


Twiddle

So you play the Dsus2 chord and hammer-on the E-string at the second fret.

In the chord chart I’ve written it up in the intro only, but it’s played all the way through the song.

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More Beirut tabs and chords

Beirut – A Candle’s Fire (Chords)


Beirut – A Candle’s Fire (Chords)

The new Beirut album is finally out! I got as far into it as the first track before I decided I had to grab my uke and work it out before I moved on. He’s using his 6 string Kamaka and it sounds great.

I’ve written it up as C# tuning or capo on the first fret. But it’s somewhere between C and C# tuning. The chords themselves shouldn’t provide too many problems though.

Suggested Strumming

There are a few passing chords which you can play like this:

If you find that a bit tricky, you can just miss those chords out and play Bb – C – F – Bb with this strum once for each:

d – d u – u d u

Intro

You can transfer the accordion intro to uke like this:

Beirut – The Akara (Tab & Chords)

Surely it’s no coincidence that the standout track on the new Beirut EP, March of the Zapotec is the most uke-heavy. The EP isn’t out yet, but The Akara has been spreading on the MP3 blogs.

The uke only part of the track goes like this:

The rest of the song uses these same chords:

More Beirut tabs and chords.

Beirut Ukulele Tab and Chords

If you’re interested in which ukuleles Zach Condon plays, you can find out here: Zach Condon’s ukuleles.

The Rip Tide

A Candle’s Fire
Port of Call

Flying Club Cup

Nantes (pdf)
A Sunday Smile (pdf)
Guyamas Sonora (pdf)
La Banlieue – Em – A – F# – B
Cliquot (pdf)
The Penalty (post)
Forks And Knives (La Fête)
In The Mausoleum (pdf)
Un Dernier Verre (Pour la Route)
Cherbourg (pdf)
St Apollonia (post)
The Flying Club Cup (pdf)

Read my notes on Flying Club Cup here.

Gulag Orkestar

Gulag Orkestar (pdf)
Prenzlaurberg: Ebm – Abm – Bb
Brandenburg: Dm – Gm
Postcards from Italy (post)
Mount Wroclai (Idle Days) (pdf)
Rhineland (Heartland) (pdf)
Scenic World (pdf). And tab for the accordion part (thanks to Felix).
Bratislava: A – Bb
The Bunker: The first half of the song is G – Dm7. The second half is Gm – C – F.
The Canals of Our City: G – Dm
After the Curtain: D – Gsus2 – D – Asus4

Read my notes on Gulag Orkestar here.

Lon Gisland

Elephant Gun (post)
My Family’s Role in the World Revolution: Capo at the first fret Gm – Eb – F
Scenic World (Second Version) (pdf)
The Lon Gisland Sound: Capo at the first fret Am – D7 – G – C – Cmaj7.
Carousels (pdf)

Read my notes on Lon Gisland and other tracks.

Misc.

Closing Song (Chords)
Transatlantique (Chords)
The Akara
East Harlem: G – C – D for the first part. And G – C – D – Em for the end section.
The White Whale: Ebm – Abm – Bb. Or Dm – Gm – Bb capo first fret.
Hallelujah (Post) Leonard Cohen Cover
The Interior of a Dutch House: E – Bm – F#m – E
My Night With the Prostitute From Marseille: G – A – Bm – D. From Big Change: Songs for Finca.
Brazil (pdf)
The riff:

Brazil Beirut riff tab

Siki Siki Baba: Introduction: C – D – G5. Verse: G5. Chorus: Em – Bm – C – D – G.

Alaska in Winter – Close Our Eyes, We Are Blind

Beirut – Postcards From Italy (Tab and Chords)


Beirut – Postcards From Italy (Chords)

Beirut – Postcards From Italy (mp3) via beirutband.com

My recent Fluke acquisition reminded me of the video for Beirut’s Elephant Gun. While I was checking it out, I came across this impromptu performance Postcards From Italy and decided I had to work out the song.

Beirut mainman Zach Condon’s choice of ukulele wasn’t entirely voluntary. In an interview with Pitchfork he explained that after falling of a bridge age 14, “my left wrist is an inch-and-a-half shorter than my [right one] and doesn’t quite have the mobility to wrap around a guitar neck without a bit of pain.” I’d say falling off a bridge was a small price to pay for avoiding the fate of becoming a guitar player.

Postcards From Italy is divided into two halves. The first half has this riff repeated:

Beirut postcards from italy tab ukulele

If you’d rather strum chords through this section, moving between F and A will do it for you.

As the lyrics shift from the nostalgia in the first half of the song to the anticipation of the second half, so the music shifts with it. There is a small correction I would make to the fingering of the chords in the chart. It suggests playing the C chord with your third finger. But using you pinkie (little finger) allows for a much easier transition into the Bbadd9. You could keep your pinky there through all the chords (creating a Dm7 rather than Dm). It creates an effective drone through the chord changes.

The rhythm for this second section is not played the same every time, but I play the basic pattern like this:

Postcards from Italy ukulele tab Beirut strumming pattern

The up arrows indicated down strums and the down arrows indicate up strums (don’t look at me, I didn’t invent the system).

Here’s the rhythm played slowly, then up to tempo.

More Beirut on Uke Hunt

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Beirut - The Gulag Orkestar - Postcards from Italy

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Tabs and Chords in a Minor Key

A while back I got a comment by Michael asked me for suggestions of songs in a minor key. Which struck me as an excellent idea of a post because I’m always looking for an excuse to stick it to the ‘it’s impossible to play the ukulele without smiling’ brigade.

If you’ve got a favourite minor key song to play leave it in the comments.

So here are lists of tabs and chords in a minor key (or at least minor enough to be glum):

Tabs in a Minor Key

Angi (Davy Graham)
Angry Birds
Blue Skies
Breaking Bad Theme
Cantina Band
Carol of the Bells
Danse Macabre
Diamond Head
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Hawaii 5-O
He’s a Pirate (Pirates of the Caribbean Theme
Hedwig’s Theme
I Am the Doctor
The Last of Us Theme
Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence
Mississippi Blues
Rolling in the Deep
Safe and Sound
Shades of Cool
Sherlock’s Theme
Shipbuilding
Sonic the Hedgehog Boss Level
Street Spirit
The Sweeney Theme
Tamacun (Rodrigo Y Gabriela)
Tetris
The Godfather Theme
Video Games (Lana Del Rey)
Walk on By (Burt Bacharach)
We Three Kings
While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Chords in a Minor Key

Anyone Who Had a Heart (Dionne Warwick)
Back to Black (Amy Winehouse)
Bei Mir Bist du Schon (Sophie Madeleine)
Big Bang 2 (Charlie McDonnell)
The Chimbley Sweep (The Decemberists)
Cliquot (Beirut)
Daisy Fraser (Snake Suspenderz)
Down in the Hole (Blind Boys of Alabama)
Elephant Gun (Beirut)
February Snow (Peggy Sue)
Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros (Flight of the Conchords)
Girl (The Beatles)
Golden Skans (The Klaxons)
Gulag Orkestar (Beirut)
Guyamas Sonoroa (Beirut)
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (Daft Punk)
I Love the Things that People Make (The Burning Hell)
Standing Next to Me (Last Shadow Puppets)
You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch
Mount Wroclai (Beirut)
Mary (Oingo Boingo)
Somebody that I Used to Know
Stayin’ Alive (The Bee Gees)
Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard (Tom Waits)

Five Best Ukulele Chords

What Makes a Good Chord?

When I’m analysing a chord progression I like to think of it in terms of a story. With each chord being a new mood and scene and pushing the story forward.

For example, play a simple chord progression like C – F – G7 – C.

The C chord is the family at home all safe and settled. The F chord moves somewhere unfamiliar with the kids wandering off into the woods and finding a gingerbread house.

Then the G7 chord is pivotal. It’s the part that has you on the edge of your seat waiting for what comes next. If you stop a progression on the G7 it’s ending the story, “Then the witch grabbed the annoying kid and marched him towards the oven. The End.” There’s a tension that you need to resolve.

That propels the progression back to C. Taking you back home where you can feel safe and settled.

A good chord is one that tells its part of the story. You can read a whole lot more about this in the book I wrote about chords. But here are my favourites. Let me know yours in the comments.

Dm

Dm

The saddest of all the chords. I don’t know why but it makes people weep instantly.


In a Progression

Dm – A7 – Dm – Gm – Dm – A7 – Dm – A7 – Dm


Dm Progression MP3

Some Songs that Use It
Karen O – The Moon Song
Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
Basia Bulat – Sparrow
Beirut – Gulag Orkestar
Bright Eyes – First Day of My Life

C (with an E on top)

C

C is the most common chord so it’s good to spice it up sometimes. For this inversion of the chord (which I’ll refer to as C/e) you just move your finger up from the 3rd fret to the 7th fret.

The high E gives it a bit of sweetness at the top end. And makes it sound less final than the usual C chord. So it’s a good place to start a chord progression which heads towards the final C.

In a Progression

C/e – D7add9 – Fmaj7 – C


C/e Progression MP3

Songs That Use It

Death Cab for Cutie – Talking Bird

Fmaj7

Fmaj7

Fmaj7 gets overlooked a lot. Probably because it’s usually rendered in chord books as 2413 (presumably by either people who’ve never played the chord or shadow puppet masters). The vastly easier way of playing it is 5500.

I find Fmaj7 a very hard chord to pin down. It’s relaxed but it has a melancholy edge to it. It has the sweetness of a standard F chord. But it also has the tension between E and F notes. Hold down the chord and play the C and E strings together and you’ll hear how dissonant it is.

In a Progression

Fmaj7 – Gm7


Fmaj7 Progression MP3

Some Songs that Use It
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Caetano Veloso – O Leaozinho
Lightspeed Champion – Tell Me What It’s Worth

Cdim7

Cdim7

My favourite property of diminished chords is that all the chord inversions up the neck have the same shape. For example the Cdim7 (or Co7) has these inversions:

Cdim7s

So all these chords have the same notes. Just in a different order. The notes on the first chord (going from the g-string to the A-string) are: A – Eb – F# – C. On the second chord it’s: C – F# – A – Eb. On the third: Eb – A – C – F#. And finally: F# – C – Eb – A.

Same notes, different order. Try this with any other chord shape and you’ll get completely different notes.

I regard it as the ‘girl tied to the train tracks’ chord. It’s a nervous chord. Full of peril.

In a Progression

Here I’m just playing the inversions of Cdim7 going up the neck in sequence.


Cdim7 Progression MP3

Some Songs that Use It

Caug7

Caug7

This is what I went with for my favourite chord. It’s just C7 with the G moved up one fret. You can also play it like this.

It has a double dose of tension with the 7th note and the raised fifth. If I play it I can’t get on with my day until I play an F chord afterwards. That makes it a great chord to add to the end of a progression to propel you back to the home chord.

In a Progression

Here’s an 8 bar blues with the Caug7 at the end moving you back to the start of the progression.

F – F7 – Bb – Bb7 – F – C7 – F – Caug7 – F


Caug7 Progression MP3

What’s Yours?

Let me know your favourite chord (or chords) in the comments. Especially if there’s one you think I’ve overlooked. I enjoyed putting this post together and might well do a follow up in future.

Links

How to Play Ukulele Chord Progressions

Songs With Chords You Know – Updated

I like to keep a list of songs that use just the most common ukulele chords. Arranged by the order people usually learn them in. That way you can find some songs to play no matter how few chords you know.

And here’s the updated list including some notable new additions like:

Lorde’s massive hit Royals as ukuleled by Walk off the Earth: C, Bb and F.
Skinny Lister’s summer hit Colours: G, Em, D and C.
Kelli Rae Powell’s massive singalong Some Bridges are Good to Burn: C, G, Am, F.
Darlene Love’s Crimbo classic Christmas (Baby Please Come Home): C Em F G Am

C, F and G

If you prefer, you can use G7 in the place of G or vice versa for any of these songs.

NeverShoutNever! – Your Biggest Fan/Did It Hurt?
Noah and the Whale – Five Years Time
OK Go – This Too Shall Pass
Paolo Nutini – High Hopes
SoKo – I Will Never Love You More
The Bobby McGee’s – A Dog At All Things
The Lancashire Hotpots – He’s Turned Emo
The Tiger Lillies – Start A Fire
Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra/Kings of Leon – The Bucket

Plus Am, Dm and Em

Addams Family Theme Tune
Alton Ellis – Rock Steady
Black Kids – I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend to Dance With You
Darlene Love – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Darren Hanlon – All These Things
Electrelane – Cut and Run
Garfunkel and Oates – Me, You and Steve
Florence and the Machine – Dog Days Are Over
GUGUG – California Sun
Israel Kamakawiwoíole/Jason Castro – Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Julien Dore – Cet Air-La
Kate Nash – Foundations
Kate Micucci/The Gooch – Mr Moon
Kelli Rae Powell
Last Shadow Puppets – Standing Next to Me
LP – Into the Wild
The Lumineers – Ho Hey
Phosphorescent – Wolves
She & Him – Sentimental Heart

Plus D

Allo Darlin’ – Tallulah
Allo Darlin’ – Space Christmas
Amanda Palmer – In My Mind
Antsy Pants/Bear Creek – Vampire
Belle and Sebastian – The Boy with the Arab Strap
Daniel Johnston – Living Life
Gothic Archies – Shipwrecked
GUGUG/The Ramones – Blitzkrieg Bop
Keston Cobblers’ Club – You-Go
Phredd – Elmer’s Electric Tricycle
Skinny Lister – Colours
The Dubliners and The Pogues – The Irish Rover
The Pogues – Fiesta
The Little Ones – Tangerine Visions
Vampire Weekend – Oxford Comma
Velvet Underground and Nico – I’ll be Your Mirror
Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London

Plus A and E7

Camera Obscura – Cock Up Your Beaver
Florence & the Machine – Kiss With A Fist (don’t panic, you can use E7 instead of E in this song)
Joan Jett – Bad Reputation
Kate Micucci & Ted (Scrubs) – Screw You
Paolo Nutini – Pencil Full of Lead
The Pogues – Streams of Whiskey
The Weavers – Pay Me My Money Down

Plus Bb

Beirut – A Candle’s Fire
Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know (You can use C instead of C5)
Ingrid Michaelson – Be OK
Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love
Lorde/Walk off the Earth – Royals
Mumford and Sons – The Cave
Nevershoutnever – First Dance
Neutral Milk Hotel – King of Carrot Flowers
Noah and the Whale – Jealous Kind of Love
Sufjan Stevens – Lumberjack Christmas
The Tokens – The Lion Sleeps Tonight

More…

Mastered all those? Tackle more:

Easy ukulele songs
Beginner ukulele lessons

Songs With Chords You Know – Updated

Here’s an update of my list of songs with beginner level chords. So no matter how few chords you know you can still bash out a few songs.

C, F and G

If you prefer, you can use G7 in the place of G or vice versa for any of these songs.

NeverShoutNever! – Your Biggest Fan/Did It Hurt?
Noah and the Whale – Five Years Time
OK Go – This Too Shall Pass
Paolo Nutini – High Hopes
SoKo – I Will Never Love You More
The Bobby McGee’s – A Dog At All Things
The Lancashire Hotpots – He’s Turned Emo
The Tiger Lillies – Start A Fire
Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra/Kings of Leon – The Bucket

Plus Am, Dm and Em

Addams Family Theme Tune
Alton Ellis – Rock Steady
Black Kids – I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend to Dance With You
Darren Hanlon – All These Things
Electrelane – Cut and Run
Garfunkel and Oates – Me, You and Steve
Florence and the Machine – Dog Days Are Over
GUGUG – California Sun
Israel Kamakawiwoíole/Jason Castro – Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Julien Dore – Cet Air-La
Kate Nash – Foundations
Kate Micucci/The Gooch – Mr Moon
Last Shadow Puppets – Standing Next to Me
LP – Into the Wild
The Lumineers – Ho Hey
Phosphorescent – Wolves
She & Him – Sentimental Heart

Plus D

Allo Darlin’ – Tallulah
Amanda Palmer – In My Mind
Antsy Pants/Bear Creek – Vampire
Belle and Sebastian – The Boy with the Arab Strap
Daniel Johnston – Living Life
Gothic Archies – Shipwrecked
GUGUG/The Ramones – Blitzkrieg Bop
Keston Cobblers’ Club – You-Go
Phredd – Elmer’s Electric Tricycle
The Dubliners and The Pogues – The Irish Rover
The Pogues – Fiesta
The Little Ones – Tangerine Visions
Vampire Weekend – Oxford Comma
Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London

Plus A and E7

Camera Obscura – Cock Up Your Beaver
Florence & the Machine – Kiss With A Fist (don’t panic, you can use E7 instead of E in this song)
Joan Jett – Bad Reputation
Kate Micucci & Ted (Scrubs) – Screw You
Paolo Nutini – Pencil Full of Lead
The Pogues – Streams of Whiskey

Plus Bb

Beirut – A Candle’s Fire
Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know (You can use C instead of C5)
Ingrid Michaelson – Be OK
Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love
Mumford and Sons – The Cave
Nevershoutnever – First Dance
Neutral Milk Hotel – King of Carrot Flowers
Noah and the Whale – Jealous Kind of Love

More…

Mastered all those? Tackle more:

Easy ukulele songs
Beginner ukulele lessons

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