Traditional Korean Instrument Could Win SportsCenter Contest

Story by Ruth Kim. 

Traditional Korean gayageum player Luna Lee is one step away from winning ESPN’s SportsCenter’s Fan Jam contest.

The “Fan Jam” contest challenged participants to come up with the best original cover of its iconic “da-da-da, da-da-da” opening theme song. The competition began with eight contestants who showcased a variety of talents, from solo electric guitar to beat-boxing.

Lee, who iamkoream.com featured in a Video of the Week playing Jimi Hendrix, is going head-to-head against acoustic guitarist Trace Bundy. The winner will receive a trip to ESPN headquarters in Connecticut to perform as its “house band” for the day. Voters, who can vote for their favorite cover until Thursday on the SportsCenter Facebook page, determine the winner.

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Although both musicians play acoustic instruments, the distinctive sounds each have their own merit. The extremely technically-skilled acoustic work exhibited by Bundy is clean, classic guitar playing at its finest with virtuoso-like finger-tapping. However, the unique and authentic sound of Lee’s gayageum, a 12-string Korean zither, accompanied by a rock-and-roll track, holds its own in the competition.

Lee released her eponymous debut album, featuring music by Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix, in November. Check out her YouTube channel here.

This story was originally published on iamkoream.com  

Traditional Chinese Instrument Creates Best Super Mario Bros. Cover EVER

Who doesn’t like a good cover of Super Mario Bros. music? We’ve seen this with just about every sort of instrument imaginable– using a piano, using the guitar, using a harmonica and even using wine glasses.

So what sort of instrument can produce the best cover? As it turns out, the most fitting instrument may be something we didn’t expect at all. A traditional Chinese instrument called the sheng may be our top contender.

You may be unfamiliar with the strange device, but it has actually been around since 1100BC. The sheng is a mouth organ made of wood, metal, or a gourd with a blowpipe and at least 17 extending pipes made from bamboo or metal.

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Although  the sheng is used primarily to play Chinese classical music with other traditional Chinese instruments, there seems to be room for its beautiful sounds here in modern times.

In the video below, a Japanese student is seen doing a sheng cover of the Super Mario Bros. theme song as well as many of the songs and sound effects from the original game. We even get to hear as Mario accumulates coins.

Needless to say, this impressive cover is on its way to viral fame. Check it out for yourself.