The K-Music Festival returns to London this autumn with a wonderful programme of music and performance from Korea, offering a glimpse of the stunning range of artistic work that comes from that country – improvisational, ancient, theatrical and modern.
Highly acclaimed jazz singer, Youn Sun Nah will perform a rare London concert, saxophonist Andy Sheppard will premiere a collaboration with gayageum-player Kyungso Park and the mesmerizing Jambinai come back to the festival with a new album.
Jeong Ga Ak Hoe combine ancient and modern with three free performances at the British Museum and National Gugak Centre perform a concert of traditional, ritualistic music at Kings Place.
Rich Mix presents Idiotape and PATiENTS for a slamming night of punk-inflected dance music and, on another night, Danpyunsun and the Sailors and Asian Chairshot.
The festival closes at The Place with a thrilling and powerful dance performance by Modern Table, ‘Darkness Poomba’, for their first ever appearance in the UK.
JEONG GA AK HOE
Thursday 15th September 11am & 3pm
Friday 16th September 6pm & 7.30pm
Saturday 17th September 11am & 2pm
British Museum FREE
Seoul-based Jeong Ga Ak Hoe perform ancient and newly composed works for traditional instruments, finding a balance between the old and the new. They explore the shamanistic inspiration in Korean music and draw on forms such as Pansori, giving it a contemporary relevance. They have toured widely in the US and Europe but this will be their first ever visit to the UK and this concert will draw on the folk songs and ritualistic music of North Korea “from an era when the Korean peninsula was whole” and harks back to the Korean travelling music groups of the 1940s.
YOUN SUN NAH
Tuesday 20th September 8pm
Union Chapel, Islington
We are delighted that one of Korea’s great voices will play a rare London concert in the glorious acoustics of the Union Chapel. Youn Sun Nah first made her name in France, described by Le Monde as having a “magnificent voice and passionate originality”. There is a clear influence of chanson in her performance – whether she’s singing Johnny Cash, a jazz standard or one of her own songs, she is always telling a story.
She will be accompanied by Swedish guitarist Ulf Wakenius (celebrated for his work with Oscar Peterson and Ray Brown) with whom she has made several albums on ACT Records, most recently, ‘Lento’.
“Korean singer Youn Sun Nah has a unique and refreshing approach to jazz singing – her voice is pure gold” JAZZ JOURNAL
IDIOTAPE + PATIENTS
Tuesday 27th September 8pm
Rich Mix, Shoreditch
Idiotape sound like a sixties pop band with a mighty drummer, fed through an analog synthesizer and turned into a dance phenomenon. They have toured all over the world, storming festivals such as SXSW, Glastonbury, Exit and Trans Musicales.
“If Cut Copy, Daft Punk and Chromeo had a Korean baby they would beget the funktastic, celebratory disco house trio Idiotape. They’ve been getting audiences in Korea jumping manically and now they’re preparing for global domination.” MTV
Patients have similar influences plus an added dash of punk and have triumphed at Liverpool Sound City while touring the UK.
“Killer hooks and great melodies – The Patients could be Korea’s answer to The Clash” (GETINTOTHIS).
Monday 3rd October 8.30pm
Jambinai were the sensation of K-Music 2015 and they are back to play one special show in the perfect setting of Oslo Hackney. Described as “genre-blurring…applying traditional Korean instruments to eruptive drone-rock reminiscent of Sonic Youth” (THE TIMES), they recently signed to Simon Raymonde’s Bella Union label and have just released ‘A Hermitage’, to great acclaim.
“An enthralling post –rock group – imagine Godspeed You! Black Emperor melded with strange and wonderful traditional instruments.” (THE GUARDIAN)
“thrilling, unexpected and perfectly controlled” (THE GUARDIAN)
KYUNGSO PARK & ANDY SHEPPARD
Tuesday 11th October 9.45pm
Elgar Room, Royal Albert Hall
Saxophonist Andy Sheppard premieres a new collaboration with Korean soloist Kyungso Park for a late-night performance at the Royal Albert Hall’s Elgar Room. Kyungso Park plays the gayageum, a traditional Korean instrument that sounds like a cross between a harp, an oud and a theremin, performing “riveting, state-of-the-art new and antique Korean sounds” (NEW YORK MUSIC DAILY). Her music will combine with Sheppard’s lyrical saxophone for what promises to be an extremely special concert.
NATIONAL GUGAK CENTRE
Wednesday 12th October
Kings Place, Kings Cross 7.30pm
The National Gugak Centre is responsible for touring the great folk artists of Korea and their last concert at Sadler’s Wells was the climax of K-Music 2015. They return to London with a more intimate acoustic performance which focuses on the wind music of Korea. The two main instruments will be the piri (double-reed oboe) and daegeum (bamboo transverse flute). They will play sanjo – a folk-based form of music that allows space to improvise. This concert is part of the Korean Sounds: East Meets West series.
DANPYUNSUN AND THE SAILORS + ASIAN CHAIRSHOT
Friday 21st October 8pm
Rich Mix, Shoreditch
The roots of Korean music go deep into ritual performance and Danpyunsun exemplify this with their mind-blowing theatre. They were a big hit at Brighton’s Great Escape Festival, as The Guardian put it: “they look like a totalitarian physics seminar circa 1976, and play magnificently bonkers sea shanties from weird and distant oceans, augmented by furious virtuoso violin and a sweary, hilarious frontman”.
Asian Chairshot are one of Korea’s biggest rock bands and there is a stunning beauty in their heavy psychedelia. Smashing Pumpkins helped them break through at last year’s SXSW and described them as “Black Sabbath playing Radiohead”.
MODERN TABLE: DARKNESS POOMBA
Monday 24th and Tuesday 25th October 8pm
The Place, Euston
Choreographer Kim Jae-Duk and his group of dancer/musicians take hold of Korean traditional dance and hotwire it with thrilling live music inspired by ancient Korean song (“poomba”) – a sense of reshaping the past to explore the future defines Modern Table’s powerful performance style. Highly acclaimed across Europe, they have been invited to London by The Place for their first UK performances.
“In a truly interdisciplinary work, the audience are taken on a strange and unexpected voyage through contemporary dance, traditional song and rock music. Executed seamlessly, ‘Darkness Poomba’ is a work that constantly transforms our environment, each new world a critique of the one that has come before.” TANZ CONNEXIONS
Presented by the Korean Cultural Centre UK and Serious
Sponsored by SOORIM Cultural Foundation, Korean Traditional Performing Arts Foundation, Korea Arts Management Service, Asiana Airlines.