Learn to play "Blue Darling / I'll Be Leaving" by Kapena on Ukulele

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Print the Lyrics and Chords for "Blue Darling / I'll Be Leaving" (link)

Hey UUers!

This month on Uke Lessons, it's the return of Steven Espaniola! Steven is a fantastic Hawaiian falsetto singer who now resides in the California Bay Area. Play along with Steven and Aldrine as they cover Kapena on the "Blue Darling / I'll Be Leaving" Ukulele Play-Along!

Jump right in and if you need help learning this song, start with any of the steps below:

STEP 1 - Key of F Chords

This song is interesting because it modulates (changes keys) twice. So while the chords that you'll need are all pretty simple, you'll need to remember 3 sets of chords (in the Keys of F, G, and A) for the 3 different sections of the song. First off, the chords in the Key of F:

Ukulele Chords: F, F7, Bb, Bbm7, C7
F(2010), F7(2310), Bb(3211), Bbm7(1111), C7(0001)

Memorize the names and how to hold each chord, then try switching between them. For more info on holding and switching between the Key of F Chords for this song, check out the video below:

The main challenge for beginners will be switching between the F7 and Bb chords. When moving from your F7(2310) to the Bb(3211), be sure to move your thumb to the back of the neck, pointing slightly towards the headstock. This will help you to secure that pointer finger bar over the E and A strings.

Once you get these chords down, you have all the chords you need to play the first 2 minutes of the song! Head up to the at the top of the page and play along with the "Blue Darling" Ukulele Play-Along to practice. After the 2 minute mark, the song switches to the Key of G, so you'll need those chords to continue:

STEP 2 - Key of G Chords

Next, you'll need the chords for the next section of the song, in the Key of G:

Ukulele Chords: G, G7, C, Cm7, D7
G(0232), G7(0212), C(0003), Cm7(3333), D7(2020)

In the video below, Aldrine shows how to hold and switch between the chords you'll need for the Key of G section:

Practice these chords and when you have them down, try them out by playing along with the "Blue Darling" Ukulele Play-Along at the top of the page. After that, you'll need one final set of chords in the Key of A to finish off the song:

STEP 3 - Key of A Chords

Finally, for the last chorus of Blue Darling, you'll need the chords for this song in the Key of A.
Ukulele Chords: A, A7, D, Dm, E7
A(2100), A7(0100), D(2220), Dm(2210), E7(1202)

That's it! If you're able to master and switch between the chords in each of these Keys, you have all of the chords you'll need to play the whole song. Play Along with the "Blue Darling" Ukulele Play-Along at the top of the page and make sure you can change to the right chords at the right times.

STEP 4 - Rhythm / Strumming

After learning the chords, all you really need to play the song is a basic rhythm to get you going:

Beginner Rhythm

First, find the simple heartbeat of the song, then add a "triplet" to each beat. This may take a little practice, but should be pretty simple once you get the hang of it:

Intermediate Rhythm

If you want to get a little closer to the way Aldrine plays it in the Play Along video (and the way Kelly Boy plays it in the Kapena version), you'll need to take away a few strums and add a chunk technique.

Feel free to try out all of these rhythm techniques and see what works for you. Play along with the Play-Along at the top of the page and see what rhythm techniques you can use to play "Blue Darling."

STEP 5 - Fingerpicking

Last but not least, if you want, you can add some advanced fingerpicking techniques to add even more rhythm to the song:

For the most part, you can just play the chords for the song and use the basic "In-to-Out" Fingerpicking Technique. If you know the notes of the scale (depending on what key you're in), you can add some of those notes periodically to provide more variety or change up the fingerpicking. Experiment and see what sounds good to your ears and find what compliments the song.

Awesome job! Be sure to let us know what you think of this arrangement and if you enjoy Steven's falsetto, please also check out our Uke Lesson and Play-Along with him for the Hawaiian classic, "I Kona". And as always, if you have any question, need help with learning a song, or anything else at all, just send a message - we're always here to help you out! Have fun UUers, keep strummin'

-UU Staff


  1. Much mahalo for sharing some of your talent with us small timer’s, me like the finger picking style but the finger he no like cooperate (arthritis).

  2. Such a great song to learn, thank you! I’ll work on it more so maybe I can do it for a UU+ Open Mic sometime.

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