The musicians of George Hinchliffe’s Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain do their part to bring a little cheer into our homes during the lockdown with a special quarantine edition of Gnarls Barkley’s hit Crazy. The ukuleles add a richly-layered sound to the track, while the lead vocals are a pleasant surprise.
THE BEST Music
Bob Marley’s track Three Little Birds is one of those songs that can brighten even the darkest day. Marley’s daughter Cedella asked Seed Animation Studio to create a music video for the track. Director Morgan Powell came up with a new take on the classic Big Bad Wolf fairy tale, in which peace and harmony win out over conflict.
Musician Florent Ghys isn’t what you’d call your “average” classical musician. After all, he’s played music with a game of Pong and a weather forecast. So it’s not exactly surprising that he made a virtual choir out of cats, goats, and cows, then made them perform a rendition of Erik Satie’s Gymnopédies.
Boots Randolph’s tune Yakety Sax is best known as the music behind the various pratfalls on The Benny Hill Show, and then later as the theme for any slapstick video. While it’s usually played on the saxophone, Maria Lazareva performed this energetic arrangement on violin, accompanied by Moscow’s Eccellente Chamber Ensemble.
German band The Heimatdamisch is best known for their oompah-infused covers of rock songs. If you’re looking for a soundtrack to go with a stein of beer and some bratwurst, their ska-tinged version of Guns N’ Roses’ hit Sweet Child o’ Mine should do the trick. Ready for another round? How about some AC/DC?
After impressing us with his vocalization of Star Wars theme, singer Matthew Van Ness is back with another multi-track a capella cover of a John Williams track, this time taking on the familiar main theme from Jurassic Park, and again performing all of the instrumental parts with his voice. The only thing missing is the dinosaurs.
With both Animal Crossing: New Horizons and DOOM Eternal released on the same day, The Chalkeaters and singer Natalia Natchan thought it might be fun if the two games were actually one. And so, they made a song and an animated music video featuring the adorable Isabelle and her new friend, DOOM Slayer. Full song here.
Times are rough, and we could all use a little encouragement. This cover version of Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush’s 1986 duet Don’t Give Up, sung soulfully by Puddles Pity Party and Rebekah Del Rio provides some much needed inspiration – in both English and Spanish.
The COVID-19 pandemic is nothing to laugh about, but that doesn’t mean should lose our sense of humor. Musicians Samuel Fu, Matthew Van Ness and Marin Drake, and lyricist Dana Jay Bein offer up a parody of “Bohemian Rhapsody” about self-isolating, washing your hands, and the other challenges of living in these trying times.
There was a brief moment in the 1970s when a unique musical style hit the scene. Musicians from Zambia, influenced by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Deep Purple, melded rock with African rhythms, creating a distinctive sound. Bandsplaining offers up a thoughtful look back at this seldom talked about genre, known as “Zamrock.”
Bob Marley music has a distinctively reggae sound. But in the hands of electronic remix artist Eclectic Method, it takes on a whole new vibe. This wonderfully chill edit was actually put together back in 2004, but the Method’s Jonny Wilson says he forgot to upload it until now.
Watch and listen in awe as violinist Dmitry Rotkin lets his fingers do the talking in this far too short pizzicato jazz improvisation, inspired by Duke Ellington’s It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing). His arrangement of The Beatles’ Come Together is pretty incredible as well.
Musical impressionist Anthony Vincent performs Rick Astley’s track Never Gonna Give You Up in the styles of 20 different bands, with crazy interpretations from everyone from Prince to Pantera. We’re thinking that New Order version could have definitely been a hit.
Artist and musician Bichopalo makes unusual electromechanical musical instruments which incorporate organic shapes and plant life. At the center of the magical Plantyflutesizer is a spherical birdhouse, where his avian pals Pico and Verdi take up residence and enjoy a soothing ambient tune.
While at home doing their part to keep their distance, Sting joined Jimmy Fallon and the Roots for a remote performance of The Police’s 1980 track “Don’t Stand So Close to Me,” using a mix of random instruments and household objects they each had lying around.
While sheltering in place at their homes, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong teamed up with Susanna Hoffs to perform a great cover version of the song that was made famous by her band The Bangles, and written by none other than the late great Prince Rogers Nelson.
(PG-13: Lyrics) With the NPR offices closed for now, their Tiny Desk Concert series is soldiering on without a live audience. In this intimate concert from The Roots’ singer and lyricist Black Thought, as he performs and tells stories about three new songs: Thought Vs. Everybody, Yellow, and Nature of the Beast f/Portugal. The Man.
While sheltering in place, Bay Area alt-folk group Thao & The Get Down Stay Down used the now ubiquitous videoconferencing service Zoom to create a music video for their track “Phenom”. But they didn’t just point webcams at their faces, and instead used the opportunity to do something truly creative with the medium.
With a little help from some beats by Dr. Dre, actor and comedian Wes Tank proves that Dr. Seuss books work exceptionally well as rap songs. His “Fox in Sox” rap is our favorite, but his versions of “Green Eggs and Ham” and “The Lorax” are pretty damned entertaining too.
Sammy Hagar & the Circle are still hoping to hit the road this summer for their concert tour. But for now, they’re confined at home. Fortunately, that hasn’t stopped them from rocking the world. Crank up the volume and enjoy the band’s awesome (though abridged) cover of The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”
Alan Silvestri’s score from Back to the Future includes one of the most memorable movie theme songs of all time. We’ve heard it played in various ways, but never performed by an orchestra of trombones. Thanks to musician Carol Jarvis, we can finally check that one off of our list.
With the recent passing of Bill Withers, we lost one of the greatest singer/songwriters of all time. Musicians around the globe have been paying tribute to Withers with heartfelt performances like this one by Rick Astley, whose cover of “Ain’t No Sunshine” gave us chills.
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