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White Stripes’ ‘Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground’ Covered on an Unusual Instrument

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We’ve seen and heard a lot of unique cover songs before — like this beautiful rendition of Radiohead‘s ‘I Will’ or a classical take on Nirvana‘s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ — but this recent interpretation of the White Stripes ‘Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground’ might be the most exceptional yet. As you can see in the video above, there are no drums, no guitars, no instruments other than what looks like a huge, ancient xylophone.

A Berklee School of Music trained multi-instrumentalist, Rex Hussman sits behind a gyil for his Stripes cover. The gyil is a traditional West African instrument, specifically from Ghana. According to a music venue website in Atlanta, Hussman worked with the gyil during a three-month trip to Ghana. Since studying music in rural African villages, Hussman has continued his education with “gyil master and Saturday Night Live band percussionist Valerie Naranjo.”

If his cover of ‘Dead Leaves’ isn’t enough to convince you of his exceptional musicianship — he also sings while he jams on the gyil — then check out his cover of Beyonce’s ‘Pretty Hurts’ below.

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