Marylou Stout Dempler – Kentucky’s Ukulele Goddess

Mary Lou Stout Dempler began her musical career at age seven in Louisville, Kentucky where she studied guitar at the Ursuline School of Music and Drama until graduating Assumption High School. She continued studying guitar, music and voice at Bellarmine University. She obtained a teaching certification in music and dance from the Kahelelani School which is recognized by the University of Hawaii.

In addition to a 23 year teaching career, in 1997 she was the recipient of the Duesquene University Scholarship. Only fifty guitar teachers from across the nation were chosen to participate.

In 1998 her husband Shane, had a ukulele custom designed and hand made for her birthday. Mary Lou fell in love with its gentle harp like sound.

In the fall of 1998, she accepted an invitation to attend a Ukulele Seminar at Harvard University in Boston.

She is a member of the Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum and the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI). Several books written by Mary Lou, published by Mel Bay Publications Incorporated are: Easy Ukulele Method Book 1, Easy Ukulele Method Book 2, Sacred Music for the Ukulele with play along CD and the Easy Baritone Ukulele Method Book One. The books are designed to enable anyone, regardless of their musical background, to play music in minutes without reading music by using the tablature method.

Her love of the ukulele and desire to share the joy of playing music led her to found the Louisville Ukulele Association Unlimited (LUAU). In an effort to promote a new ukulele sound she recorded three albums to showcase the instruments versatility; Songs from the Heart, Unique Ukulele Christmas and Praise the Lord. All three of the CDs are in the Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum along with the Lou Lou ukulele made for and named after Mary Lou.

Terry Meiners, of WHAS Radio, branded Mary Lou the Ukulele Goddess and Mel Bay made her Kentucky’s Ukulele Goddess. She has been featured on Fox News with Berry Bernson, in the Courier Journal Newspaper, Louisville Magazine, Today’s Woman Magazine, Louisville Music News and Leo Magazine. In August 2003, Capitol Records published an article noting her use of country music in ukulele classes, particularly the use of music by Keith Urban. Mary Lou met with Keith Urban several times for photos and to discuss music. She appeared in an HBO documentary film as a musician, teacher, performer and ukulele enthusiast.

Marylou with Keith Urban

Mary Lou, a Lanikai artist wrote Learn to Play Ukulele the Lanikai Way. It was published by Hohner Incorporated/ Lanikai. She teaches workshops and classes all over the country. In Louisville, she teaches guitar and ukulele classes at Bellarmine University and at her private studios. She truly believes, “If our eyes are the windows to our souls, the ukulele is the door to our hearts.” She believes the ukulele is the instrument of the Millennium.

For more information visit her websites, or

Keith Urban – Capitol Records – September 4, 2003

Keith Urban is hot among Louisville ukulele players. Over at Bellarmine University, teacher Mary Lou Dempler has added Keith to her curriculum. All ukulele students own GOLDEN ROAD and have the sheet music to “Somebody Like You.” When the bell rings and class begins, it’s time to pick along with Keith. “His music is really hot, and you need that to get 19 and 20 year old kids interested,” says Dempler, who also teaches guitar. She notes that members of the Louisville Ukulele Association Unlimited are big fans, too. “People think ukuleles are only for Hawaiian music, and they’re so much more,” she says. Keith would be sure to agree. He started out playing a kid-sized ukulele when he was just a wee thing in Australia