The traditional Korean gayageum would be the last instrument one could think of to match the high-voltage sounds of rock and roll songs. But not Korean musician Luna Lee.
Lee has been modifying the zither-like string instrument to reinvent classic rock music since 2009.
The video above is a cover of The Beatles’ While My Guitar Gently Weeps. It might make George Harrison, lead guitarist of the band and composer of this song, weep – with joy. The rendition has a distinctly mournful, throbbing sound.
Lee can be seen transitioning smoothly between two gayageums tuned differently – a difficult task if the flow of the music is not to be interrupted.
In February 2017, Lee had performed at Chennai’s Supportive Cities, a platform that uses the shared spaces in the city to give opportunities to artists.
Luna Lee’s YouTube channel is a veritable joy, with renditions of classic rock and roll music, and even of the blues. The “gayageum rocker” shot to fame with a cover of American rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix’s iconic Voodoo Chile, also known as Voodoo Child (Slight Return). The video below has had over four million views.
Her channel has garnered a global following with over 17 million views on YouTube, with covers of songs by iconic bands such as AC/DC, Metallica, Queen, and Pink Floyd, to name a few.
The film Great Big Story followed Lee from behind the camera (video below). Lee expresses her passion for rock and what inspired her to experiment with the ancient gayageum.