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Luna Lee rocks on a gayageum
March 24, 2013 10:14 PM   Subscribe

Awesome rendition of Jimi Hendrix' Voodoo Chile played on a gayageum, a Korean stringed instrument | Scuttle Buttin on the gayageum rocks as well | Joe Satriani's Starry Night, the gayageum version | Luna Lee's YouTube channel. A little about the gayageum.
posted by nickyskye (38 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

 
The gayageum (sometimes spelled kayageum) is a FABULOUS instrument. Great players can coax all kindsa soulful messages out of it. Thanks for the post, nickyskye!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:21 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's an app for that, developed by Oriental Express.
posted by unliteral at 10:54 PM on March 24, 2013


Nice. Going to use those next time I do my Korean-culture-for-foreign-employees lecture series, for a laugh.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:56 PM on March 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


The gayageum (sometimes spelled kayageum) is a FABULOUS instrument.

Can't tell if the joke is intentional.
posted by Nomyte at 11:11 PM on March 24, 2013


That was awesome. Does this fit in the "living in a William Gibson book" category?
posted by bongo_x at 11:35 PM on March 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thanks for this! The gayageum is a beautiful instrument, and I always enjoy its use in modern/fusion music. (Am bit of a fan, you could say.)

Looking forward to going through her youtube channel.
posted by paisley sheep at 11:35 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oppa gayageum style?
posted by cmoj at 11:41 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can't tell if the joke is intentional.

Since I don't know what the joke in there would be, I can assure you it wasn't intentional. Enlighten me, though, as to the nature of my comic abilities!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:28 AM on March 25, 2013


I love her gently pleased looks of 'huh, that was a pretty neat thing my fingers just did, never would have thought of that. Nice work fingers!'

Great link!
posted by Sebmojo at 12:38 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pachelbel's Canon (gayageum)
Pachelbel's Canon (gayageum and beatboxing)
posted by tykky at 12:51 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


In it's own way, perfect. And, to capture Hendrix's psychedelic aggression like that, impressive indeed.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 1:34 AM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


That was fun and she is very talented. Anticipating listening to and watching the rest of her videos.

Also, I really like her name - Luna Lee.
posted by TrolleyOffTheTracks at 2:42 AM on March 25, 2013


flapjax, a few years back I saw the Contemporary Music Ensemble Korea (Ji-young Yi, gayageum; Chi-wan Park, piri; Woong-sik Kim, janggu) perform two original compositions by Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa Music Professor Thomas Osborne. The pieces were very soulful and if I remember correctly, explicitly incorporated American blues.

Won’t Do Wrong No More
Pieces of the Sky

Thanks nickyskye! Excited to check out Luna Lee and share with other Korean traditional music fans.
posted by spamandkimchi at 2:58 AM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thanks for this. Loved it. The dancer in the "beatbox" link posted by tykky is great too.
posted by bigZLiLk at 3:14 AM on March 25, 2013


Holding the pick in her mouth scares me. I do that myself, absentmindedly, while I'm tuning my guitar or something, and when I realize what I am doing, I'm horrified. I have this irrational fear that I swallowed all those guitar picks I've lost, and they're all still stuck in my gut causing an obstruction that will someday be fatal. I mentioned this to a friend while we were in a guitar store (shopping for her first guitar) and the guitar tech heard me describe my feelings of dread and said "me too!"
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:25 AM on March 25, 2013


If you'll bear with me for a moment here, I'd like to make a self link. That is, a link to some of my music. But it's not my post, someone else posted it to YouTube. The reason I want to link to it, though, is because it is one of the most startling examples of having something (in this case, musical sensibility) "in the blood". It's like this:

I made a record back in 1995 with Korean-American guitarist Hahn Rowe. Hahn's parents are Korean, but he was born and raised in America, speaks no Korean, and lived the life of, well, an *average* American suburban kid, that is, not culturally Korean in any particular way. At the time that we recorded my song "Soon As the Rain Lets Up", Hahn hadn't listened to much or any traditional Korean music, didn't know much of anything about the instruments, etc. But he recorded a guitar part that is so stunningly close to the sound and stylistic playing method of the kayageum that it's, well, amazing. After he'd recorded the solo, I remarked to him that it sounded uncannily like Korean music, and like a kayageum in particular. Later he checked out some traditional Korean stuff and he was as amazed as I had been! It really was pretty astonishing. Really doesn't even sound like a guitar *half* as much as it sounds like a kayageum. Plain and simple. His solo interjections start at 1:30, and appear throughout the rest of the tune, with the real solo entering at 3:25 and extending til the end of the song. Check it out.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:48 AM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am impressed with her version of Stevie Ray Vaughan's Little Wing...
posted by jim in austin at 4:50 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


her version of Stevie Ray Vaughan's Little Wing ...

Just a little odd that she posted that clip with the Stevie Ray Vaughan credit. Sure he covered it, but it's a Hendrix tune! Perhaps she wasn't aware of that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:08 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


His was a wee bit more than a cover but it would have been more accurate to say his version of Little Wing in her credit...
posted by jim in austin at 5:22 AM on March 25, 2013


Holding the pick in her mouth scares me.

charlie don't surf, they now make safety guitar picks specifically for this reason. They cannot be swallowed.
posted by orme at 5:24 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just a little odd that she posted that clip with the Stevie Ray Vaughan credit. Sure he covered it, but it's a Hendrix tune! Perhaps she wasn't aware of that.

She's definitely playing the SRV version, though -- pretty much note-for-note.
posted by svenx at 5:55 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Flapjax, I'm guessing the FABULOUS joke is based on the "gay" in "gayageum" (as spelled, not pronounced).
posted by mpark at 5:56 AM on March 25, 2013


This is really great!
posted by OmieWise at 6:11 AM on March 25, 2013


I love it. Thanks.
posted by Hobgoblin at 6:26 AM on March 25, 2013


Flapjax, I'm guessing the FABULOUS joke is based on the "gay" in "gayageum"

Ah. Well, by George, didn't catch that one! Or, should I say *Boy* George?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:34 AM on March 25, 2013


I like how some of her first covers were Steve Vai, Eric Johnson and Joe Satriani. Two of them were tracks from the first G3 tour too.
posted by ersatz at 6:38 AM on March 25, 2013


And if we're starting with the puns, all I have to say is DAYAEUM.
posted by ersatz at 6:39 AM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


that was the most subtle rocking out I've ever seen - she's awesome.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 7:00 AM on March 25, 2013


Whoa. Her version of Little Wing is incredible.

I have a question that someone out there might know. What's the difference between a gayageum and a Japanese koto? Is there something different about it that facilitates her pulling this off, or could someone do it with a koto as well?
posted by umbú at 8:16 AM on March 25, 2013


Oh yay, thanks for the great contributions to the thread guys. I'm crazy about spamandkimchi's contribution of the blues played brilliantly on the gayageum. That rendition of Won’t Do Wrong No More blew my mind.

And flapjax, that is so interesting about your observation of the Korean 2nd gen Korean musician playing Western guitar as if it were gayageum unconsciously, without him knowing it sounded like that. It seems that music is the food of neuroscience: a 2001 study that shows musical pitch recognition to be significantly heritable (somewhere between 71%-80%) (via this nifty website).

By the way, loved your fantastic rendition of Soon As The Rain Lets Up. That's a fave, wow.
posted by nickyskye at 8:21 AM on March 25, 2013


She does a nice version of Eric Johnson's Manhattan as well.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 8:26 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


From the wikipedia article on the gayageum: "The right hand is used in plucking or stromping the strings."

Stromping?
posted by yoink at 9:37 AM on March 25, 2013


Hands down, this will be the coolest thing I see all week.
posted by jquinby at 10:07 AM on March 25, 2013


This is great! Thanks, nickyskye.
posted by homunculus at 11:45 AM on March 25, 2013


Cool. On YouTube there were less than 2000 views early this morning and this afternoon Luna Lee's version of Voodoo Chile has 119,153 hits.
posted by nickyskye at 1:50 PM on March 25, 2013


have a question that someone out there might know. What's the difference between a gayageum and a Japanese koto? Is there something different about it that facilitates her pulling this off, or could someone do it with a koto as well?

My impression is that it's easier to bend notes in an extreme way on the gayageum: easier than on the Japanese koto. At any rate, Korean traditional music for the gayageum is *all about* extreme bending of notes, and in koto music, that's not practiced anywhere near as much.

That bending is what gives Korean traditional music so much soul, IMO. It's like blues guitar technique, where mimicking of the human voice is a key defining point.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:05 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nicely said flapjax. I was thinking, while watching/listening to Luna Lee that this bending notes thing works really well with rock guitar too, so that the gayageum is an apt choice for this East West rock fusion.
posted by nickyskye at 9:23 AM on March 26, 2013


Thanks for this, Nicky. I don’t think anyone can cover this great song more perfectly than Angelique Kidjo, but this version is pretty good. Nice to see that young people haven’t forgotten the classics.

Speaking of the classics, flatluigi did a post almost exactly five years ago about the traditional Japanese version of Smoke on the Water. The video is long gone from YouTube, but looks like it survives here on the internets.
posted by LeLiLo at 7:13 PM on March 31, 2013


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