Alaska in Winter – Close Your Eyes, We Are Blind (Chords)

Alaska in Winter – Close Your Eyes, We Are Blind (Chords)

It’s been far too long since I had some Zach Condon on the blog. And the tune he did with Alaska in Winter is packed with Beirutisms (the Bbadd9 chord, hammering on the g-string, 2nd fret in the F chord, switching the song half-way through).

Suggested Strumming

In the first half of the song use:

d – d u – u d u

Once each for Bbadd9 and C7.

For the F chord do the same strum twice but on the first strum only hold down the E-string, 1st fret of the F chord and hammer-on the g-string 2nd fret. He does vary the strum in the second bar often. You could also use:

d u d u d u d u

With your finger off the g-string (so you’re playing 0010) for the second half.

There’s not much uke for the second half of the song, so feel free to make up your own strum. Once it picks up, you could use:

d – d u d – d u

More Beirut ukulele

Death Cab for Cutie – Talking Bird (Demo) (Chords)

Death Cab for Cutie – Talking Bird (Ukulele Version)(Chords)

Death Cab for Cutie’s new odds-and-ends EP, The Open Door, includes the original ukulele filled version of Talking Bird (you can listen to it on Stereogum). It is, naturally, far superior to the full band version (for which Zakulele has already written up the chords).

Stereogum were, unusually for them, very musically astute to mention Beirut in that post. The song contains a lot of Beirut like touches: it’s in waltz time, the C chord is played up the neck, there are Fadd9 chords all over the place.

I’ve written the chords up in a slightly simplified way (just make sure you pay attention to the C chord – the A string is played at the 7th fret rather than the 3rd). The do occasionally add in passing chords. This sort of thing:

talking bird ukulele tab

Dent May and His Magnificent Ukulele – Meet Me in the Garden (Chords)

Dent May and His Magnificent Ukulele – Meet Me in the Garden (Chords)

Looks like I’m going to be doing a Beirut on the Dent May album, The Good Feeling Music of….

The album version of Meet Me in the Garden has the uke turned down and guitar and Gainsbourg-ness turned up compared to the demo version but with the 6th and major 7 chords it still keeps a very island theme.

Suggested Strumming Pattern

For the Eb6 and B7M chords:

d – x u d – x u x u x u d u d u

The x’s are chnks (bring the underside of your strumming hand down on the strings to mute them).

For ‘Out by the pond…’:

d – x – u d u

for Eb6 and F6 and just d u d u … for the G.

More Dent May

Oh, Paris! (Chords)
You Can’t Force a Dance Party (Chords)
Love Song 2009 (Chords)

Florence & the Machine – Kiss With A Fist (Chords)

Florence and the Machine – Kiss With A Fist (Chords)

A very strange year for me was 2008. It was the first time in history my Crush of the Year wasn’t a musician or Janeane Garofalo (24?) but Countdown champion, writer and bus-atheist Ariane Sherine.

But she hasn’t written any shouty, punk-pop songs so today’s post is about Florence & the Machine who distinguished herself by using ukes, covering Beirut and kicking ass.

Kiss With A Fist is a simple three chord slash-a-long. If you wanted to avoid the E chord, you could move everything up a fret so the chords are Bb, Eb and F.

Buy Florence & the Machine

Beirut – Hallelujah

Beirut – Hallelujah (Chords)

Zach Condon quite often finishes off Beirut gigs with a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Although his version is closer to Jeff Buckley’s (one of the best cover versions ever recorded).

The chords are fairly simple. One thing he does a few times in the song (and loads of times in his own songs) is play the F chord with the G string open, then hammer on at the second fret. He does a similar thing with the G chord. This time the A string is left open then hammered on.

I’ve included two versions of Am in the song (one with the A string open and one with it at the third fret). He always uses the third fret version on the C – Am change that you hear at the beginning. He throws in the easier version on a few occasions towards the end.

Kudos to Leonard Cohen for making my job easier by describing the chords in the lyrics. Why can’t all songwriters be so helpful?

Suggested Strumming

Any simple 3/4 pattern will see you through. A good one to start out with is:

d – d u d -

More Beirut Tab and Chords

Zach Condon of Beirut’s Ukuleles

The second in the ‘What ukulele do they play?’ series. The good news: if you want to play the same ukuleles as Zach Condon, you won’t have to spend anywhere near as much as if you wanted Jake Shimabukuro’s ukulele. They’re actually fairly bog-standard ukuleles, not that expensive and would be a good choice for beginners.

He seems to have two main stage ukuleles:

Bushman Jenny

Irrefutable evidence. Looks to me like a BU7TV.


Irrefutable evidence. Looks to me like an LU-21T.

Other ukuleles he’s been spotted with:

Fluke: On the set of the video for Elephant Gun he Postcards from Italy on the Fluke that’s featured in the video.

Samick: In this photoshoot. It’s the only time I’ve seen him with a Samick, so I don’t think it’s a regular player of his. It looks like a UK70.

Beirut Ukulele Tab and Chords

Beirut – Lon Gisland and Others

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 same chords as the version on Gulag Orkestar.

The Lon Gisland Sound

Capo at the first fret Am – D7 – G – C – Cmaj7. Just the same as Elephant Gun.


Gmaj7 and A all the way through.


Closing Song (Post)

Transatlantique (Post)

The White Whale

One of the tracks recorded under the name Real People. The chords are Ebm – Abm – Bb. But it makes more sense to play Dm – Gm – Bb with the capo on the first fret.

The Interior of a Dutch House

From a split single with Calexico. The first half starts off with a uke. It disappears halfway through, but the chords are the same: E – Bm – F#m – E

My Night With the Prostitute From Marseille

From Big Change: Songs for Finca. The chords are G – A – Bm – D. I prefer to slide the G shape up two frets for the A chord, but you can use the normal A chord if you prefer.

Brazil (PDF)

Cover of a song by Ary Barroso and a live favourite. Also done by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Antonio Carlos Jobim. The chords are simple enough, and there’s no way you can’t include this little riff:

Brazil Beirut riff tab

Siki Siki Baba

Another regular live cover. I took the chords from this version with the Kocani Orkestar (the second half of the video). For the most part it’s G5. You can spice it up a little by adding in the bass line to the chord.

siki siki ba ba beirut

In the instrumental parts, there are C then D chords leading into the G5.

The LAAA-DA-DA-DA-DA-DA-DA section is Em, Bm, C, D, G.

You can find Gulag Orkestar and Flying Club Cup tabs and chords on this page, but that’s your lot.

Beirut – Flying Club Cup

Nantes (Chords)

Other than faffing about with a capo, it’s dead easy. Dm – C – F all the way through.

A Sunday Smile (Chords)

There’s a really great uke-heavy version of Sunday Smile on It has the same basic chords as the album version, but uses different inversions.

Guyamas Sonora

Another capo-at-the-first-fret tune. I think this happens a lot in Beirut tunes as trumpets and other brass instruments are easier to play in flat keys (Bb and Eb in particular).

La Banlieue

Em – A – F# – B

Cliquot (Chords)

My favourite non-uke song on the album. Like a lot of Beirut songs, there’s a shift in chords and lyrical perspective in the middle of the song and it works particularly well here.

The song is, apparently, written from the perspective of Nicole Clicquot. She married into a wine making family but became widowed in her twenties. She went on to pioneer a method of producing clear champagne and established the famous Veuve Clicquot.

In the first verse of the song, she’s pleading for her husband to recover. In the second, he has died and she’s given up all hope – wants to burn the winery down. Then the music shifts from B minor to D major as discovers her purpose and vows to make her husband’s name famous.

The Penalty (Chords)

Forks And Knives (La Fête)

In The Mausoleum

I um-ed and ah-ed over this one. The chords I’ve written up are the ones that sound best to me, but there a few options. You could play the A6 chord like this. And you could play the C#m chord with the Bm shape moved up two frets.

Un Dernier Verre (Pour la Route)

Time to reach for the capo again.


Another song in two halves.

St Apollonia (Chords)

The Flying Club Cup

Two ticks in the I-Spy book of Beirut chord progressions: capo first fret, new chord progression for the second half.

Next week, I should have Lon Gisland and a few other miscellaneous bits and bobs figured out. They’ll be up on the Beirut Chords and Tabs page at some point.

Beirut – Gulag Orkestar

I got so many people emailing me about Beirut chords and when Saltatory was going to be back up, I decided it would be quicker just to set about tabbing the whole Beirut back catalogue.

Gulag Orkestar (Chords)

The first part of this tune is played very loosely, so it’s tricky to keep up with the chords. The Dm – A – Bb flat move is one that’s common in flamenco playing.


I couldn’t find lyrics for this song and I haven’t got a blind clue what he’s singing, so you’ll have to go without a chord chart for this one. Luckily, the chords are straightforward. They’re Ebm – Abm – Bb all the way through. The chords aren’t too difficult to play in standard tuning, but they’re made even easier if you tune up half a step or capo at the first fret. That’ll make the chord shapes Dm, Gm, A.


Dead simple chords: Dm – Gm all the way through. You can jazz it up a little and follow the mandolin by taking your index finger off for the last few strums of the chords (creating a Dsus2 and a Gsus2 respectively).

Postcards from Italy (Chords and Tab)

Mount Wroclai (Idle Days) (Chords)

This one really does require you to use a capo or tune up a fret if you’re going to play in the original key.

Rhineland (Heartland) (Chords)

More of those F and Bb add9 chords that crop up in most of Beirut’s ukulele based songs.

Scenic World (Chords)

The cheesy drum machine cracks me up every time.


Another song with that flamenco move in. The chords are A – Bb all the way through.

The Bunker

The first half of the song is G – Dm7. The second half is Gm – C – F.

The Canals of Our City

Another one with impenetrable lyrics. I’m 96% sure the first few lines are, “Wolves gone over the sea, but nod for me/Watch now, I ho lay na ho had I and no tie, no tie.” The chords make a lot more sense. They are G – Dm throughout.

After the Curtain

A tough one to get sounding right on the uke. Using the chord progression D – Gsus2 – D – Asus4 is about as much sense as I could make out of it.

That’s it for Gulag. I’m working on Flying Club Cup (which should be done by this time next week) and Lon Gisland and others (by the week after). There’s already some of that stuff up on the Beirut chords page.

Beirut – Transatlantique

Beirut – Transatlantique (Chords)

Transatlantique (sometimes referred to as Transatlantic) is tucked away on the Elephant Gun EP – which is pretty hard to find itself. The only place I’ve found it available is on on eMusic. That’s a real shame as it’s one of my favourite Beirut songs – and, judging by the number of requests I’ve had for it, a favourite amongst uke players.

The first part of the tune uses common Beirut tricks. He always seems to be playing that Fadd9 and hammering on to the F chord. Next up is the old descending note trick. The G, E and A strings form an F chord through the whole section. The only note that changes is on the C string (which moves down a fret each time). Don’t be put off by the F(2). This isn’t a strange chord you’ve never heard of – it’s just to distinguish the two different versions of the F chord that crop up in the song.

Thanks to Mitch for sending me his version of the chords. My version is slightly different. So, if you think my chords suck, see if you prefer his. You can find them on the Beirut tab and chords page.

More Beirut ukulele tab and chords here.

Listen to Transatlantique here.

Get on eMusic

If you were hoping for a Valentines song today, you came to the wrong place. Zym has a very fitting ukulele song for today. Go there.

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