If you want to pay homage to Nirvana, the spirit of ’90s Seattle grunge, and great music, all while trying to keep things fresh, original, and cutting edge, it’s pretty obvious what you have to do: just play “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on an ancient Korean instrument.
If you don’t believe me, just listen to this great version from Luna Lee, a musician who uses a Korean gayageum to play awesome and unique sounding covers of rock songs. This version of Nirvana’s most well known song (it is, fight me) is great, and absolutely needs to be used in a movie.
I imagine some of you are like me and have heard or seen this instrument before, but don’t know all that much about it, so let’s go to the Encyclopedia just like people would have during the decade Nirvana recorded Nevermind (yes we’re cheating and using an online one). Made from paulownia wood, it is “known as the national instrument of Korea,” and has “12 silk strings, 12 movable bridges, and a convex upper surface” which “forms a rectangle roughly 62 inches long and 12 inches wide.”
You will definitely want to spend lots of time with her YouTube page, where she and her gayageum recently paid tribute to David Bowie, and she also has covers of Adele, Elvis Presley, Radiohead, Stevie Wonder, and many others.
I didn’t know I needed Nirvana and Red Hot Chili Peppers translated into an ancient Korean instrumentation, but I’m damn glad I have it.
Which one of Luna Lee’s gayageum covers is your favorite? Tell us below.
Image: Luna Lee