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Songs with foreign instruments

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One of my favorite instruments is the sitar. A couple of my favorite rock songs that has the timeless sound of it are The Rolling Stones' Paint it Black and The Electric Boys' All Lips and Hips.

If the sitar needed a different name then Ravi Shankar may very well be the prime candidate. The Beatles melded much of his work any many of their songs and George Harrison described him as the "Godfather of World Music."

This guy even played at Woodstock.


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I like Yugoslavian Gusle music:

Gusle is an very old instrument played all over the Serb lands. Its songs were basic and often the only way to hand down traditions and memory of Serb people during the rule of foreigners. People gathered around gusle players and listened epic songs about Serb heroes and suffering of Serb nation. Very often, large crowd and players began to cry touched by very emotional contents. It is said that in the year of 1189 grand Serb chieftain Stefan Nemanja saw German Emperor Frederick Barbarossa off from the city of Nis to Third Crusade with the sounds of gusle songs. Montenegrin prince-bishop, greatest Serb poet and father of modern Serb national identity Petar II Petrovic Njegos, in his poem "The Mountain Wreath" through words of his literature hero Vuk Micunovic said: "In a house where the gusle is not heard, both the house and the people there are dead".

Amen brother!

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The Theremin in "Good Vibrations" was definitely inspired, and to the best of my knowledge has not been used in any other famous songs. I'm sure lots of people tried and probably drove themselves nuts in the process.

Here are 3 of my favorites with unusual instruments:

"You Can Call Me Al" by Paul Simon - Check out the pennywhistle solo.

"Bodhran" by The Young Dubliners - Irish music at its finest. The fiddles are amazing.

"Dream" by Forest Through The Trees - This one's a little obscure, but it has a great Sitar open.

Honorable mention -

"And We Danced" by The Hooters, who named themselves after their nickname for their Melodicas. The delightfully tacky yet tastefully refined resturaunt chain came later.

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Within You Without You- by The Beatles! Wonderful use of that sitar George! I read an interview with the beatles about Sgt. Pepper and George mentioned that he still didn't really know how to play the sitar (even after they recorded the song), probably because the man that taught him in India didn't know that well either. LOL::

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  • 3 months later...
The theremin, baby :: Try Ultravox's "Reap The Wild Wind" for a taste of theremin-lite :headphones:
If I'm not mistaken, Good Vibrations has a Theremin in the chorus. I have always wanted to get one of those. And the good ol' sitar of course. It Can Happen (Yes), and Within You Without You (Beatles) has a little sitar in it. I didn't see it, but I heard Sting performed one of his songs at the Oscars a while ago or the Emmies or whatever they are called, and his song had a Hurdy-Gurdy in it.
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