Basia Bulat – Sparrow (Chords)

Basia Bulat – Sparrow (Chords)

While you’re waiting for me to get more Beirut stuff together, here’s one from their recent support act Basia Bulat.

Suggested Strumming

The song is in 3/4 time. You can just use three down strums:

d – d – d –

Twice for each chord (apart from the fancy bits and the end of the verses and first chorus).

But you can fancy it up by playing a touch strum (t) as the first strum:

t – d – d –

For the touch strum you only do a half strum (hitting just the g and C strings). Although I like to do the IZ thing and pluck the g-string with my thumb then do two down strums.

Twiddly Bits

In the chart I’ve written up the verse ends as C6 and C7. But she actually hammers-on the g-string notes like this:

She does an extended version of this at the end of the first verse (don’t play it at the end of the second verse).

More Basia

Before I Knew

Buy MP3

Songs with Chords You Know

Just because you’re a newbie doesn’t mean you can’t rock the raging patootie out of a few songs. Here’s a list of songs with chords for all.

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


Mastered all those? Tackle more:

Easy ukulele songs
Beginner ukulele lessons

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.

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