tUnE-yArDs is Merrill Garbus, with Nate Brenner, Matt Nelson and Noah Bernstein-Hanley.

Its music is tagged both 'lo-fi' and 'Afro-beat' in Wikipedia. Garbus spent a semester studying abroad in Tukaungu, Kenya,1 and her music draws from the percussives vocals and ukelele strums of the Swahili coast.2 tUnE-yArDs is also influenced by funk and soul, including local band Sly and the Family Stone.3

Garbus, the creator of tUnE-yArDs is based in the Cleveland Heights neighborhood. In addition to her work in tUnE-yArDs, she supports the Rock Project, which promotes to support music learning and exploration among children and youth. 

The band's first played at Totally Intense Fractal Mindgaze Hut and Mama Buzz (now The Telegraph),4 and records out of New, Improved Recording.5  



To-date, tUnE-yArDs has released:


  • BiRd-BrAiNs (2009)
  • W H O K I L L (2011)

Singles and EPs

  • Sunlight (2009)
  • Hatari (2009)
  • Bird-Droppings (2009)
  • Real Live Flesh (2010)
  • Bizness (2011)

The band also performed a cover of Fela Kuti's  "Lady"with ?uestlove, Angélique Kidjo and Akua Naru in (RED)Hot + Fela (2012).5 tUnE-yArDs also contributed to Thao and Mirah's track Eleven.