The Eagles' “Hotel California” is an extremely famous song, which is why there are hundreds of covers out there. While it has been performed by legends such as the Gypsy Kings, Nancy Sinatra, and Frank Ocean, there is an elusive musician who has shared a unique version with the world. Armed with a guzheng, the enigmatic artist MoYun has versioned this popular song from the 70s. The result is incredibly beautiful, and it appeals to the harmonic complexity of “Hotel California.”
A guzheng is a Chinese plucked zither. The modern versions of this wooden instrument usually have 21, 25, or 26 strings and are about 64 inches long. The guzheng is tuned in a major pentatonic scale, and it is known for its sharp and metallic sounds. Thanks to its qualities and origins, it is mostly used to perform traditional Chinese folk music.
It can be hard to translate a song with multiple parts and different instruments, so the musician explained her choices in the video description. “The use of guitar in Hotel California can be regarded as one of the classic arrangements in history, especially the 1994 live version. So I made some deletions in the vocal part, focusing on the two guitar solos of the prelude and the ending.”
As if paying tribute to the timeless aspect of the instrument, the artist—who is known for rarely showing her face on camera— chose a traditional outfit for this video. “The costume this time is Wei Jin style wide-sleeved cross-collared Hanfu,” she wrote. “For the convenience of plucking the instrument, panbo are added. (襻膊, pàn bó, originated from the Song Dynasty, a tool used to roll up the sleeves for easy operation), the hat is a hand-woven straw hat, the overall mix and match looks relatively ‘plain,' and it feels like the rice planting will start in the next second hahahahahahaha.”
This isn't the first rock song the enigmatic player has tackled. MoYun has also shared her marvelous guzheng covers of “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC and “Numb” by Linkin Park. She has also recorded plenty of anime songs and video game soundtracks, vouching for the versatility of this ages-old instrument, and her mastery of it.
Stay up to date with MoYun's work by subscribing to her YouTube channel.