Vitamin String Quartet – Royals

You may notice I select more instrumental versions of popular songs than original versions. This is because something about a creative or clever arrangement tickles me more. The Vitamin String Quartet has an extensive catalogue of skillfully executed covers. These instrumental versions help me appreciate the composition of popular songs.

Michael Tai – Lapis Philosophorum

This piece was composed for the series Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. One of my good friends, Erich, told me about the show and we watched it together. Similar to the Final Fantasy piece, hearing this reminds me of him and I really enjoy those memories. This solo piano version is a great rework of the piece.

Blue Oyster Cult – Fire Of Unknown Origin

Like many other artists that have come and gone, Blue Oyster Cult is both blessed and cursed by their most popular songs. Tracks like “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and “Burnin’ for You” are constantly played on the radio and used in TV/film but the rest of their work goes largely unheard. Their projects are worth looking into and experiencing from start to finish.

Celia Cruz – La Vida es un Carnaval

A powerful female figure in Latin American music, Celia Cruz should be a household name. Her most popular song “La Vida Es Un Carnaval” helps spread Latin American music to wider audiences and brings awareness to the culture and sounds of Latin America.

Samvel Yervinyan – Mi Anoush Tzayn

I remember as a kid seeing Yanni CD’s on my sister’s bookshelf. I hadn’t listened to him until a couple years ago when my dad showed me a YouTube video and I noticed his violinist. Samvel Yervinyan is an extremely talented Armenian musician who adds a lot of his culture into his playing.

Tina Malia – Jaya Baghavan

Following on last weeks introduction to Indian music, we have a Westernized version of a popular folk melody. It’s a lengthy a track, but how they layer things together keep it engaging the whole way through. The album this is released on goes by the same name and makes for good background or meditation music.

Jeff Brown & Still Lonesome – Appalachian Is My Name

This band delivers exceptional musicianship and a distinct mountaineer voice that carries on the authentic sounds of southern Appalachia. A Distant Horizon is a splendid bluegrass album that meets in the middle between radio country and old timey southern music.

NRBQ – Magnet

This catchy tune feels a little bit like Steely Dan meets They Might Be Giants. It’s fast paced drums and keyboard paired with it’s slow harmonic motion gives this track a relaxed yet energetic sound. This album was released over 40 years ago and I’m upset I didn’t discover it sooner!

Barnaby Bright – Alive

This is the first appearance of an artist recommended to me by one of Resonance’s own families! Barnaby Bright is a soft, acoustic, indie style band whose latest project The Longest Day is a thoroughly pleasant album. Engaging enough to grab your ear at times but also passive enough to let you focus, this is perfect to put on during chores or work.

Nas – I Can

Nasir Jones is one of the greatest hip hop artists of all time. His album, Illmatic, was released in 1994 and has received several awards including greatest hip hop album of all time! His flow, metaphors, alliteration, and delivery have influenced other artists massively and ultimately helped sculpt the genre. “I Can” is off his seventh studio album. It samples Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” and communicates to people in his community about history, purpose, and potential.