September 28, 2014 6:13 pm
Updated: September 29, 2014 1:50 pm

WATCH: Vancouver musician’s Metallica cover on ancient Chinese instrument goes viral


VANCOUVER – After her last video of Guns N’ Roses’ classic “Sweet Child O’ Mine” went viral on YouTube with more than 1.2 million views, Vancouver musician Michelle Kwan asked her fans what song they wanted her to do next.

Turns out the most requested song was Metallica’s “One.” However, her version is a little different.

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Kwan has been playing the guzheng for the past 13 years.

An ancient Chinese instrument with 21 strings, the guzheng is not normally used for playing popular songs and it’s not an easy instrument to master.

“It took me around 3 months to prepare the song,” said Kwan via email. “It’s more tricky finding the right amp and pedal effects that brings out the sound of the guzheng while staying true to the song.”

Luckily Kwan was already a fan of Metallica.

“I really like [lead singer] James Hetfield,” she said. “In one of his interviews, he mentioned that he used to be a very shy kid and music was the voice he didn’t have. It was something that really resonated with me and I could identify with.”

She said if she ever had the chance to perform with Metallica this is the rendition of the song she would perform.

When she is not covering popular songs on an instrument that dates back to 221 BCE, Kwan works for BC Hydro, runs, plays table tennis and teaches the guzheng to others.

She is very pleased with the success of this song so far, however.

“The most challenging part of the song was definitely Kirk Hammett’s solo in the fast part of the song,” she said. “It’s probably one of the best guitar solos of all time. I wasn’t sure if it was going to work on the guzheng, but after a lot of practice I was able to get it down.”

© 2014 Shaw Media

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