INTO THE LIGHT MUSIC OF KOREA 4

Korea Arts Management Service

Into the Light, MUSIC OF KOREA is to introduce Korean traditional music to international audiences.

Geomungo Factory
Geomungo Factory will transport you back to the literati's elegant music salon in the past in one moment and then dazzle you with an avant-garde multi-media theatrical performance in the next. Geomungo Factory plays a bold, exciting, contemporary, and global music inspired by the centuries-old traditions of Korea’s most noble instrument. BiographyGeomungo Factory first came together in 2007 when a group of young college students began meeting to share their stories and music with each other. Their enthusiasm centered on their choice of instrument, the Geomungo, a six string Korean zither. Their passion for traditional Korean music soon has had leaded them onto a path of exploration with a clear sense of mission: to present the fascinating sound of the Geomungo to global audience. As the group’s name implies, Geomungo Factory is ready to give their fans a totally immersive Geomungo experience, with music ranging from the traditional to the contemporary.

Geomungo Factory invites their listeners to join them on a journey of discovery and savor the charms of traditional Korean music, letting them to experience for themselves its unique spiritual and meditative essence. This desire has found creative expression in a variety of settings and styles, from classical demonstrations to experimental fusions of East and West, Ancient and Modern. The music of Geomungo Factory preserves the aesthetic beauty of Korean music, while reshaping and transforming it into exciting new forms.

Geomungo : Yu Mi-Young, Lee Jeong-Seok, Jeong Ein-Ryoung
Gayageum : Kim Suna


Geomungo Factory | Movement on Silence

Geomungo Factory | Movement on Silence

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Contact:
geomungofactory@gmail.com

MOON Hyun
For singer MOON Hyun, he began his activities in Korean traditional music as a hobby but soon it had become his life. Trained as a chemical engineer, MOON spent his leisure hours learning the Danso flute, the Piri, a Bamboo Oboe, and other musical instruments in amateur music clubs. MOON's musical interest eventually lead him to study with the great classical vocalist, and holder of Important Intangible Cultural Asset No. 41 (Kasa singing), Yi Yang-gyo. From that moment, the young engineer’s life was changed permanently; he quit his job and devoted himself entirely into mastering the art of classical song. Sijo is mentioned in the words of the scholar Kevin O'Rourke: "... light, personal and often conversational; the language is simple, direct and devoid of elaboration or ornamentation. The Sijo poet gives a firsthand account of his own personal experiences of lie and emotion..."

At the end of the Joseon Dynasty (late 19th century), the composition of Sijo was on the decline but in the mid-1920s, young intellectuals like CHOI Nam-seon and Yi Kwang-su saw the vernacular Sijo as a distinctive Korean artistic form and used it as a vehicle for expressing nationalist sentiments during the period of Japanese colonization. This revival of Sijo has existed more or less uninterrupted for nearly a hundred years.MOON Hyun is one of Korea's paramount masters of classical art song. His artistry has allowed him to take these time-honored traditions, reshape them and find new modes of expression. Moon's highly acclaimed album, "Sijo, Walking Metro" takes Sijo as the starting point of a journey that transports the listener from smoky jazz ballads, and ambient soundscapes, and ultimately come to the rest at the heart of the Korean art song. MOON is currently a successor to Intangible Cultural Property No. 41 (Kasa).

MOON Hyun | Amongst the green mountains

Contact:
vocalistkr@gmail.com

MOON Hyun | Amongst the green mountains
Easternox
Easternox combines the relaxed attitude of Smooth Jazz with the manic energy of Korean Pungmul, and fuses them all together with a genre-blending attitude that perfectly conveys the Korean concept of ‘heung’ (excitement and fun through the loss of one’s loss of inhibitions). Under the leadership of LEE Suk-jin, band members, Mina Park (Daegeum bamboo flute), KIM Seung-Jin (keyboards), CHANG Tae-soon (drums), and CHOI Young-jin (Korean percussion) create an exciting cross-cultural encounter that opens new expressive possibilities for modern Korean music.

Formed in 2005, the name "Easternox" was chosen by the members to express the dynamic fusion they sought to achieve in their music - "Eastern" for their unmistakable Korean aesthetics and "Equinox" – the term representing the two days of the year where the length of the day and night are equal . Put together, Easternox stands for the balance of "East" and "West," "New" and "Old," and "Darkness" and "Light." Easternox has set lofty goals for themselves, but the streams of Korea's musical traditions run pure and deep. The powerful, hypnotic rhythms of Korean drumming are at the heart of every Easternox’s performance – being more than just a mere ensemble, Easternox is a bridge builder using the heartbeats of Korea to touch listeners everywhere! In January 2011, Easternox released their first studio album – “Eclipse.”

Mina Park : Daegeum, Vocals
KIM Seung-jin : Keyboards
CHOI Young-jin : Korean Percussion
CHANG Tae-soon : Drums
LEE Suk-jin : Percussion, Composition

Easternox | Take 7

Easternox | Take 7

Contact:
easternox@hanmail.net

PARK Kyung-so
PARK Kyung-so (South Korea) is one of the Korea's most active Gayageum artists playing in various fields such as traditional, contemporary music with an open-mind to experiment, avant-garde, as well as conversance with pop and classical Korean music. As an internationally promising gayageum artist, PARK has been invited from many festivals and was selected for various musical projects such as KOR-AUS project “makroPHONIA” and “One Beat” fellow, which is supported by the Department of States of the U.S.

PARK has graduated from Korea National University of Arts with Bachelor and Master Degree in Traditional Arts, and is currently in the PhD program in Seoul National University. She is active as a member of the Gayageum Ensemble AURA, and the Oriental Express. She is also lecturing at Korea National University of Arts, Chungwoon University, and Yeoju Institute of Technology. She released 4 solo albums including "Fragments Beyond" and "Dung-tta"

PARK Kyung-so | Fragments Beyond

PARK Kyung-so | Fragments Beyond

PARK Kyung-so | Fragments Beyond

Contact:
kyungso.park@gmail.com

LEE Seung-hee
The two-stringed, spiked fiddle is one of the most ubiquitous musical legacies of mankind, and Its local variant in Korea is “Haegeum.” It is believed that the Haegeum came to Korea by way of China during the Koryo period (792-1392) and is related to the Chinese Huqin, ("Haegeum" being the Sino-Korean translation of "Huqin"). Despite their common ancestor, Haegeum retained much of its authentic form and sound, while Chinese Huqin later evolved into the modern instrument Erhu, which now uses a western style bow and is played with vibrato like a violin.Despite its simple construction, Haegeum is notoriously difficult to learn and a true master of Haegeum might appear only once in a generation. LEE Seung-hee is now on her way to achieve this goal. Beginning her career in performance in 1993, LEE Seung-hee has concertized widely throughout Korea as well as participating in numerous international festivals and competitions, including the Festival Urban + Aboriginal XVI (Berlin, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Utrecht, and Amsterdam), Kajin Hoesang (presented as part of Germany’s Festival auf Korea) and in the USA at the University of North Texas. Since 2002, she has been a member of the innovative Korean Traditional Ensemble, Jeong Ga Ak Hoe.

Seung-hee’s critically acclaimed recordings of the Ji Yeong-Hee Haegeum Julpungnyu established her place in a distinguished lineage of Ji Yong-gu (1862 -?), the founder of the modern Haegeum Sanjo. It is no exaggeration to say that SeungHee Lee is a distinguished representative of the spirit of modern Kagok – both for her reverence of tradition and tireless advocacy of contemporary music. Her scholarship and spontaneity open exciting new vistas for the future of Korean music.

LEE Seung-hee | Yangcheong

LEE Seung-hee | Yangcheong

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Contact:
goangdae@hanmail.net

Bulsechul
The word "Bulsechul" roughly translates as "something extraordinary and without equal." Indeed, the young musicians in Bulsechul take their name very seriously - proving themselves in every performance. Bulsechul creates a music that is utterly authentic, while at the same time appealing to contemporary sensibilities; modern and ambitious without being trendy or superficial. Their mission statement is no less extraordinary than the name they have chosen for themselves, namely to create a "City of Pungryu!" (Pungryu is the foundation for all traditional Korean aesthetics - the love of nature, the elegant cadence of poetry, graceful dances, and of course, music). Each member of Bulsechul is an accomplished master of his instrument: Gayageum, Geomungo, (both are zithers, one plucked, the other struck with a dowel), Ajaeng (a bowed zither), Daegeum (a bamboo flute), Haegeum (a two-string fiddle) and Piri (a bamboo oboe) and Guitar. 

Their encyclopedic knowledge of the modes, melodies and rhythms of Korean music provide the sonic building blocks for their artistic explorations. Rather than attempting a forced stylistic fusion, Bulsechul’s music is organic. The influence of western folk rock and chamber jazz can occasionally be heard, but have been transformed and now speak with a Korean accent. Together, this diverse and colorful band demonstrates the vitality of 21st century Korean chamber music, drawing all of us closer to their fabulous “City of Pungryu.”
LEE Joon : Gayageum
JEON Woo-seok : Geomungo
KIM Jin-wook : Daegeum
PARK Gye-jeon : Piri
Kim Yong-ha : Guitar
PARK Je-heon : Ajaeng
CHOI Deok-ryeol : Guitar, Composition
Bae Jeong-chan : Perccusion

Bulsechul | Puneori

Contact:
bulsechulim@naver.com

Coreyah
Coreyah is a Korean/world music band is comprised of four Korean traditional musical instruments' players, one guitarist, and one world percussionist. The group’s unique composition allows them to blend a wide range of genres; pansori (a traditional Korean narrative song), western rock, Gypsy music from the Balkan Peninsula, South American music, and African music (the final two of which juxtapose sorrow and joy). Rather than the typical cosmopolitan music which exhibits no specific nationality, songs of Coreyah reflect the Korean ethnicity. Coreyah prefers to play “rough” tunes that include Korean traditional vocal and playing styles which do not fit the measures of western musical standards. Like contemporary Seoul, a city of mixture of modern and ancient buildings, Coreyah is now creating lively Korean music, while digesting diverse cultural heritages from around the world. Therefore, Coreyah’s music is popular music that attempts to connect present with past.

Coreyah proves their ability to blend tradition and modernity by actively performing at both traditional Korean music gigs and current popular musical gigs. They were awarded the grand prize at the Chunchamanbyul Concert, which was an influential contest in the field of Korean traditional singers and “Tune-Up Musician of 2011,” sponsored by CJ Culture Foundation (one of the biggest companies in Korea). Coreyah is also participating in the “Top Band 2,” which is a popular Korean televised contest between musical bands that airs on KBS (Korean Broadcasting System) and drawing wide range of attention because of their remarkable ability in fusing Korea’s own beautiful melodies and rhythm. Coreyah refers to their music as contemporary Korean folklore music because they embrace a wide range of music based on Korean traditional music.Coreyah released their first album “Walk into the Sea” in 2011 and produced an image musical theatre titled “Sugungga: The Blue House” with the French director Marion Schoevaert in May of 2012. Such endeavors are the evidence of Coreyah’s attempts to transcend the typical boundary between the arts.

KWON A-sin (Vocals)
KIM Dong-geun (Daeguem, Sogeum, Tungso)
KIM Heon-gi “Hombre”(Guitar)
JEONG Ha-ri (Geomungo)Daeng A (Percussion)

Coreyah | Dondolariyo (Don't know how it will be)

Coreyah | Dondolariyo (Don't know how it will be)

Coreyah | Dondolariyo (Don't know how it will be)

Contact:
coreyahband@gmail.com

YOON Eun-ja
If the sound of the Gayageum is to be associated with the delicacy and brilliance of traditional Korean culture, the stately, percussive Geomungo can be said to personify the literati's most profound meditations and search for enlightenment. An ancient legend recorded in the Silla kogi (The Records of Silla) tells of how the Wang San-ak, the Prime Minister of Goguryo modified a Chinese Guqin into something suitable for Korean music. Delighted with his creation, Wang began to improvise hundreds of songs. While he was playing, a black crane flew into his chamber and began dancing, thereafter; the new instrument came to be known as the "Hyeongeum" ("black crane zither"). The current name, "Geomungo" is the representation of Koreanization of the original Chinese characters.

YOON Eun-Ja embodies the vibrant spirit of the Geomungo, and translates its solemn melodies into an exciting contemporary musical language. Her work embraces both traditional performance, Changjak Gugak ("creative" gugak or "newly composed" traditional music) as well as innovative artistic explorations, including multi-media and film. In addition to an active career as a solo performer, Eun-Ja is the Principle Geomungo of the SeongNam Municipal Troup of Korean Traditional Performing Arts, a founding member of Ensemble Geomungo and now actively teaches and mentors to young musicians. EunJa's 2009 album, "Spring Snow" earned her the KOCCA Critics Choice Award (KOCCA is the acronym for Korean Creative Contents Agency, the international consortium representing Korean cultural productions around the world) and she received enthusiastic reviews in the local press, citing both her exceptional musicianship and her creative program of traditional and contemporary repertoire.


YOON Eun-ja | Sultaegut

YOON Eun-ja | Sultaegut

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Contact:
ljh020304@naver.com

Cheongbae Traditional Performing Arts Troupe
Cheongbae (Playing with the Spirit of Nature) - For most of the 5000 years of Korean history, traditional arts and music existed in two separate, broadly defined and socially distinct categories: the otherworldly spiritual minimalism of the literati and yangban (aristocracy) and the vigorous, earthy sensuality of the commoners. The artistic world of the aristocracy was defined by the modesty, self-restraint and sobriety of Neo-Confucian ethics while the majority of Korean merchants and peasantry embraced the passionate, mystical and at times irreverent and anarchic expression of shamanism.

Founded in 2001, the young musicians of Cheongbae have already established themselves as one of Korea's most energetic and innovative performing ensembles. Drawing upon pre-modern Korean theater and rituals for inspiration, they capture the essence of Yeonhee, or 'playing,' and bring the dynamism of Korean shamanism into the concert hall.A Cheongbae performance is a spiritual experience. Their recreations of traditional Gut (or shamanistic rituals) bestow blessings of happiness and health and well-being. The ecstatic clatter of gongs, cymbals, the thunderous beat of drums, the keening wails of a pair of taepyeongso (a type of shawm whose name enchantingly translates as "big peace wind instrument") and the chest-pounding drone of the nabal long-trumpet shapes a sacred space where the only thing you can do is jump to your feet and join them in their dance!

Kkwanggari – JOO Youngho, YANG
BonaJanggu – PARK Changgeon, YEO Seongryong
Buk – SONG Chiho, LEE Soeun
Zing – OH Wonseok, KIM Jinhwan
Taepyeongso, Bara- PARK Beomtae


Cheongbae Traditional Performing Arts Troupe | Cheongbae

Cheongbae Traditional Performing Arts Troupe | Cheongbae

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Contact:
cheongbae3253@gmail.com

Ensemble Sinawi
“Translating Korean Tradition into a Contemporary Musical Language.”(Soulful sounds to soothe the modern spirit) - “Translating Korean Tradition into a Contemporary Musical Language.”Ensemble SINAWI’s explorations of Korea’s musical heritage has led them to discover the tremendous amount of expressive potential in adapting traditional rhythms and melodies to create new and authentical Korean improvisational musical forms. Drawing inspiration from the ecstatic rhythms of Pungmul, shaman rituals and the impassioned melodies of Pansori and Sanjo, Ensemble SINAWI crafted a musical bridge from Joseon to Jazz.Lee Bongguen’s vocal and chamber group consist an Ajaeng bowed psaltery, Gayageum zither and traditional Korean percussion perform passionate modern versions of classic Pansori, and Shamanistic rituals or Gut (굿) as well as original compositions by pianist and ensemble director, Jeong Songhee. There is an intimacy in ensemble SINAWI's music, perhaps that is why they perform so many love songs.

Ensemble SINAWI’s collective musical vision challenges the conventions of “fusion” and “crossover” music. There is nothing forced or artificial here, only passion and extraordinary creativity. The rhythms and melodies you hear are the same as those that have been practiced for generations by Korean musicians of improvisation while the song lyrics all come from classical poetries of Pansori. The stunning juxtaposition of authentic Korean sounds within the context of a chamber-jazz performance provides a dynamic and exciting encounter with an extraordinary new form of traditional music for the 21st century.

SHIN Hyunsik - Ajaeng
KIM Jihye - Janggu, Percussion
HA Sera - Gayageum
JEONG Songhee - Piano, Composition
LEE Bongguen - Vocal, Jing

Ensemble Sinawi | Indang-soo

Ensemble Sinawi | Indang-soo

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Contact:
sinawi9@gmail.com

PARK Chan-yun
For Chanyun Park, the Geomungo's mysterious resonance provides the endless source of inspiration and wonder. By using her ancient instrument's six silk strings and a bamboo plectrum only, she has become a master storyteller, describing new and unexplored worlds of beauty and solitude, passion and possibility.Over the past decade, Chanyun's boundless creativity has been expressed in numerous artistic collaborations. She was one of the founding members of the pioneering Korean World music group, The Forest (The 林) that started out in 2001. The experience there as a performer inspired her to explore other artistic mediums, including composing and performing the soundtracks for the film "King Yebi" (Winner of the 2002 Seoul Performing Arts Festival "Best Picture Award"), and "Cinema Dance" (2005), as well as scoring and producing “Um,” a showcase for young neo-traditional choreographers. Whether she is writing works for her own performance, dance, film or for multi-media presentations, her compositions embody the bold spirit of Changjak Kugak ("Creative" Kugak). Chanyun’s music is well represented in a piece from her album in 2010, Geomungo Story, “Breaths,” which scored for Geomungo and Seanghwang (a free-reed mouth organ, similar to the Chinese Sheng).

Listen to the wordless tales of this musical storyteller: the dynamics and momentum of her music prove that the ultra-modern, ancient sound of the Geomungo is more than worthy of being part of the Korean wave.

PARK Chan-yun | Breaths

Contact:
yuniya.park@gmail.com

PARK Chan-yun | Breaths
Korean Arts Management Service
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