Learn to play the rather brilliant Lava on ukulele from Pixar’s 2014 short movie of the same name. It’s a beautiful song and really easy to learn. Read on for help with the strumming pattern, chords and song structure.
Lava is a 7 minute computer animated short movie released by Pixar in 2014. It tells the story of a lonely volcano named Uku. That’s as much as I’ll say as I don’t want to spoil it for you if you haven’t already seen it. It features a beautiful song (also called Lava), if you haven’t heard it check out this video…
3 Chord Trick
There are just 3 chords in the song Lava and they should all be pretty familiar if you ever picked up a ukulele before. Those chords are C, F and G7.
The beauty of Lava is that it’s a very easy song to play, the chords are simple and the strumming is fairly relaxed. Kuana Torres Kahele and Napua Greig do a great job on the vocals – if only I could sing like that!
Lava Strumming Pattern
You’ll see a lot of tutorials telling you the strumming pattern for Lava is D DU UDU which misses out the 3rd down strum. They’re wrong, you can clearly hear the 3rd down strum when you listen. The actual pattern is D DUDUDU but the dynamics that are used soften some of the those strums so it doesn’t sound quite so rigid.
Here’s what that pattern looks like…
It’s a really simple song but when you listen to it you’ll notice some subtleties in the dynamics that stop it sounding too one-dimensional. It’s a great example of what can be done with a very simple song. Once you get comfortable playing it through spend some time on getting those subtleties in your version too.
Lava Song Structure
There are only 2 real sections to get to grips with. The intro/verse and the chorus. There’s nothing too tricky going on with them but here’s the structure.
C C G7 G7 F F C G7 G7
Which sounds something like…
F F C C G7 G7 C C F F C C F G7 C C
Which sounds like…
Essentially you’re playing 2 measures of each chord with the exception of the 3rd C in the intro/verse and the 5th F in the chorus.
Half way through the song the tempo slows down but you’re still playing the same chords and the same strumming pattern.
That’s pretty much it!