Contemporary music with traditional string instruments?

A couple days ago, I stumbled onto Hong Jin-young’s “Cheer Up,” and totally fell in love with it. I read somewhere that the string instrument in it is the erhu (but I wouldn’t be able to tell).

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone knew any pop-ish songs or even musicians that/who incorporate traditional-sounding strings into their music? In a similar way that this song does? Doesn’t have to be Korean or even Asian for that matter.

vitamin string quartet
cello guys
piano guys

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Well, since I’m Vietnamese-American and hear Vietnamese music at home and at parties, you could find a lot Vietnamese music with traditional sounds/instruments in it.

I’m also a dancer (focus: ballet and modern), so I dance to a lot of orchestrated music / gentle music.

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Dance Dance by VSQ is really good!

@sophie2you My sister got me into VSQ a few years ago, and I really like the Piano Guys too.

@icedthy Any Viet song suggestions? Or just a starting point to explore, since I’ve only ever really heard a handful of Vietnamese songs.

Just some recommendations that I like but never (literally :no_mouth:) listen to:

Let me know if you need me to translate the titles or have any further questions / comments. :slight_smile:

I’ve always liked “Beneath the willow” (柳樹下) by 謝和弦 (which I think is pronounced Xie Hexian based on my extremely limited chinese knowledge) because of its traditional Chinese sound once it hits the chorus. The song linked in the OP gave me a similar vibe, so I think you might like it, even though the strings aren’t really the focus of the song.

As for songs with strings in general, perhaps you’ll like Fairytale by Alexander Rybak, which really uses strings as its main element- truth to be told it was the first song I though of when I read the title. You might already be familiar with the song since it won the ESC a few years back, but I’ll link it anyway.

I’ll also recommend you “La Belle Epoque” by Kent which actually is one of my favourite songs personally. It’s in Swedish so you probably won’t be able to enjoy it because of its brilliant lyrics but it is musically very catchy and relies on strings for the hook.

Also, the Swedish pop band Sarek is well known for their nordic traditional sound. They use stringed instruments a fair bit, along with flutes and other traditional instruments. I won’t link any videos but check out “Över Tusen hav”, “Genom eld och vatten”, “Lilla barn”, “Ädelsten och guld” and “Skäl”, if you’re interested. The first two songs were mega big hits in Sweden about ten years ago.

SOREA TV (their channel on youtube). 2nd Moon of course I learned of them through Goong (Palace)OST.
Park Ji hye is a classically trained violinist who likes to do Baroque and Rock (youtube it). She plays in prisons.

sleightlymusical is a channel done by forgot his name and his sister (rainbowpig channel name). It’s nice.

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This is not exactly what you are asking for but a lot of OST from Moon Embracing the Sun have a feel of both modern and traditional feel to it.

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Love the METS ost as well. I have three songs downloaded into my phone from it.

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Wow, Sorea is really good.

I recommend you korean rock band Jambinai. That’s not exactly what you are searching for but they play with traditional korean string instruments like haegum (erhu is a chinese instrument) and geomungo (it’s like a gayageum with 6 strings) and sometimes they add oboes like piri or taepyeongso. Jambinai music is hypnotic and really strong. Hope you’ll enjoy it :slight_smile:


Time of extinction

On YouTube, Korean Traditional Instruments Version of modern songs:
Christmas songs, Mariah Carey, Ed Sheeran, BTS, Harry Potter (horror version lol), Avengers, Chihiro, Howl’s Moving Castle, Aladdin, Hotel Del Luna…

Viva la Vida!

The Korean instruments were:
25 Strings Gayageum, Geomungo, Daegeum, Haegeum, Ajaeng, Piri, Danso, Sogum, Taepyeongso, Janggu, Buk, kkwaenggwari, Yanggum, and Jing.

I don’t know even one, what do they look like?

Online free exhibition of Korean instruments with pictures, a short description and sometimes a video with the sound:

The pictures are provided by the National Gugak Center, located in Seoul. It’s the primary institution of learning for Korean traditional music, including both court music and folk music.