Korean instrumentalist Luna Lee recently uploaded a video of her performing the iconic Radiohead classic “No Surprises,” using an ancient instrument from her homeland to do so – The Gayageum. Somehow, she manages to make the song sound even more delicate.
The combination of Lee’s angelic vocals, mixed with the zither-like instrument’s gorgeous sound, is exactly how a cover of the poignant song should sound. Lee’s clear musical talent shines through here, as does the original track’s touching quality.
It’s not the first time the YouTube star has combined the old instrument with contemporary music, in fact, it’s what she’s best known for. Other euphoric examples include Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child,” The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” and The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
Through a modification of the centuries old instrument, Lee is able to mix it with contemporary instrumentation such as guitars, drums and bass. She’s repurposed it to fit in with the 21st century, adjusting the tone, volume and sustain to match modern day musical standards.
The 12-string device is said to go back as far as the 6th century, created in order to play traditional Korean tunes. Many amendments have been made to it throughout the years to improve its function, with modifications like more strings, as well as nylon used instead of cotton.
Meanwhile, Radiohead are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their ground-breaking OK Computer LP, with this week marking two decades since their revolutionary sophomore album was dropped. In remembrance, the group will release a reissued version entitled OKNOTOK in June, which will feature B-sides, unreleased tracks, and more.
The 1997 record also spawned several successful singles in “Paranoid Android,” “Karma Police,” “Lucky,” and “No Surprises.” Widely regarded as one of the best albums ever made, OK Computer bagged the band their first Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album, and has sold four million copies since its initial release.