It occurred to me that, for all the time I spend on YouTube, I haven’t done any sort of video round-up post for Book Riot yet. Here’s a list of some of my favorite covers that come from some kind of bookish adaptation, because bookish music is awesome, and there are some fantastically skilled artists out there.
I’m going to get this one out of the way first, because it’s just so easy. Peter Hollens is one of my favorite YouTube artists at the moment, and he’s a goldmine of nerdy covers. His most popular book-related work is from Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit, and my favorite of that bunch is his cover of Misty Mountains (embedded above). Alternatively, you can see him perform this same song in collaboration with violinist Jun Sung Ahn, which is also worth your time. His latest is Gollum’s Song. Ok, I’ll stop.
Speaking of Jun Sung Ahn, you can do worse than his violin cover of I Dreamed a Dream from Les Misérables. I think this might actually be my favorite (or at least in my top three) cover of that particular song. It captures all the emotion without the words, which is always a win.
While we’re talking about Les Misérables, though, here’s Nick Pitera’s medley. If you haven’t heard of him or seen his videos, I recommend you go through his work. He’s got an “upstairs” and “downstairs” register, as you’ll quickly note in the embedded video above, and does a great job singing in duets and ensembles with himself. If you’re into Disney, do yourself a favor and check all of those out, because they’re so, so fun.
Next up: Taylor Davis, violinist extraordinaire and awesome nerd on YouTube. Among her bookish works you’ve got some Hobbit and Game of Thrones, but I’m bringing her up for her lovely, lovely cover of Hedwig’s Theme (the main song you’d recognize) from Harry Potter. It’s part of her Legendary Movie Music album, which you could listen to over at Bandcamp. But seriously, Hedwig’s Theme. I like covers that build on the original work instead of straight up copying it, and Taylor is really, consistently, good at that.
We interrupt this round-up for: Frozen covers.
If you still have the energy for Frozen-related covers, I’m just going to list a few of them here and you can do with them what you will. First, we’ve got The Piano Guys’ cover (featuring piano and cello) which mashes up Let It Go with Vivaldi’s Winter in a most spectacular fashion. Next, I’ve got a Frozen medley for you performed by siblings Albert and Tiffany Chang. Violin, viola and piano! Third, we’ve got Ai Ninomiya, a Japanese YouTuber who performs Let It Go with her “Kitchen Orchestra.” She uses anything she’s got around the house and her videos are super fun to watch. Last, enjoy a metal cover of Let It Go performed by Eric Calderone. No, really.
We now return to your regular programming…
Laura Shigihara is a video games composer who tends to cover video game music (have you ever played or heard of Plants vs Zombies? That music is her work!), but sometimes a bookish song gets tossed in the mix. I’m featuring one of her most recent videos, a cute cover of Where No One Goes from How To Train Your Dragon 2. She’s also uploaded a piano cover of Flying With Mother. And I’ve got one more for you: the Japanese song that opens Kiki’s Delivery Service (titled Rouge Message).
Whether you’re a fan of BBC’s Sherlock or not, I think Albert Chang and Kevin Chung’s medley is worth checking out. The video is pretty funny (some good tongue-in-cheek humor for folks familiar with the series), and the music itself is delightful. Also, I’m sensing a theme – I keep bringing violin covers into this list. This video also features viola and cello, so there’s a bit of variety, at least. So sue me, my favorite instruments are stringed.
I’m sure you thought I was done with the Les Mis covers, but I needed to squeeze in this last one because I really want to feature Kuha’o Case, a blind, teen-age Hawaiian piano prodigy whose videos make me smile every time. He collaborated with popular nerd and violinist Lindsey Stirling to cover Bring Him Home.
Ok, for real, last one because I mentioned Lindsey Stirling. Lindsey is another great person to check out, and she has a fantastic cover of the main Game of Thrones theme in collaboration with Peter Hollens, who is featured at the top of this list. I wanted to feature her Lord of the Rings medley more than that one, though, so there it is.
Want more round-ups like this? Just let me know. I’m always looking for more excuses to spend hours on YouTube. Have any suggestions of your own? Drop them in the comments, because I’m always looking for new rad channels to subscribe to.