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This Is An Orchestra Under The Influence Of Chili Peppers

It's not unusual for musicians to play through pain. But instead of blisters or cramps, members of the Danish National Chamber Orchestra recently endured the searing throb of hot peppers. And it was on purpose: Each musician ate one of "the world's hottest chili peppers" whole, as they played a tango.

You can see for yourself how that worked out. Since a video of the event was posted last Friday, it's been watched more than 2 million times.

For the one-song experiment, the orchestra began playing Jacob Gade's famous tango "Jalousie" — and then stopped playing to pop peppers into their mouths. After chewing them up, the musicians launched into the piece's famously dramatic finishing movement, which lasts more than 2 minutes.

The orchestra was led by Danish entertainer Chili Klaus, who has made a habit of filming himself eating ridiculously hot peppers with celebrities — and, several months ago, with his mother-in-law.

Before playing, concertmaster Erik Heide told Klaus, "I think chili is a good ingredient to have in many parts of your life, and also in music."

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.

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