Indigenous Brothers Performing 'Hallelujah' On Pan Flutes Is Exactly The Soundtrack We Need
Inka Gold is a music group consisting of two brothers from Ecuador: Oscar and Pablo Vega. This year, the duo did their own rendition of one of the most-covered songs online, Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" on pan flutes.
Leonard Cohen was hugely influential in his time. His songs explored a wide range of themes: from love and relationships, to death and loss, to depression, and even politics. While today we know "Hallelujah" to be his most famous song, it took quite some time to catch on and eclipse his other hits.
The reason for the late-blooming success of "Hallelujah" can be attributed to "Shrek," a lovable green ogre who first graced the big screen in 2001.
On the "Shrek" soundtrack, "Hallelujah" is performed by John Cale, according to IMDB. It plays during a scene in the movie in which Shrek and Fiona have just had an argument that ended badly and Fiona is now about to marry Lord Farquaad, whom she does not love. The producers most likely chose the song because it perfectly encapsulates the poignant nature of the scene.
According to Rolling Stone, Leonard Cohen’s "Hallelujah" is about the many irreconcilable conflicts which continuously conspire to tear the world apart. Despite this, Cohen believes that there are moments when we are able to simply “reconcile and embrace the whole mess."
It is in these moments that we arrive at the "Hallelujah" to which the song’s title refers. The song explains that "all kinds of hallelujahs do exist, and all the perfect and broken hallelujahs have equal value."
Inka Gold hails from the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. The brothers are descendants of Incas, an American Indian people with roots in the highlands of Peru, a neighboring country to Ecuador. They now live and work in New Mexico, where they are on a mission to infuse modern songs with the rich traditions of their Incan heritage.
The brothers have created unique interpretations of popular songs that have enthralled audiences around the globe. Their covers include "Unchained Melody," "The Sound of Silence," "O Holy Night," "The House of the Rising Sun," and "Amazing Grace."
In the video, the brothers, wearing modern clothes with a traditional twist, introduce the song first in Spanish and then in English. They proceed to sit at the base of a tree with a trunk painted white beside a beautiful mountain lake. The camera pans to a picturesque shot of ducks gliding out into the lake. When it returns to the two members, they have picked up their instruments—traditional pan flutes. They begin to play against the stunning backdrop of the lake and the mountains.
From sleeper hit to "Shrek" stardom to traditional Incan pan flute interpretation, Leonard Cohen’s "Hallelujah" has come a long way since it was released in 1984. Pablo and Oscar are deservedly getting accolades for transforming this classic, powerful song once again into something altogether new yet simultaneously ancient in its method of delivery.
What do you think of the song and its history, and of Inka Gold’s rendition? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments and be sure to pass this along to your loved ones.