INTO THE LIGHT MUSIC OF KOREA 1

Korea Arts Management Service

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

Vinalog
Vinalog is a world music group organized in 2003 consisting of four male musicians who all have vast experience in Korean music as well as in other genres of music. The Name “Vinalog” is the combination of two words “Vinyl” and “Analog”, representing the group’s philosophy pursuing a warm, rich contrasting the ‘digital’ world contemporary Koreans live in. Vinalog envisions creative music that is easily understood by the people of all ages of any region around the world.

LEE Young-sub / Daegeum, Sogeum, Taepyeongso, Danso, Percussion
GAHNG Hong-gu / BassKIM Jong-soo / Drums
HWANG Keun-ha / Percussion
YUN Su-kyung / Ajaeng, Percussion
KIM Myung-whan / Piano, Keyboard
SHIN Hyun-suk / Haegeum

Vinalog | Doraji

Vinalog | Doraji

Contact:
fullmoon4569@hanmail.net

KANG Eun-il
KANG Eun-il is one of the most distinctive Haegum artists in Korea and is highly praised for her combining of traditional music with various genres. She is a musical pioneer who has established her reputation by her use of the Haegum to create 'crossover music.' Ms. Kang has performed both domestically and internationally with various world-renowned artists and groups, such as Bobby McFerrin, Luciano Pavarotti, Quincy Jones, Pat Metheny, NewYork Philharmonic Orchestra, NHK Orchestra, Turkey National Orchestra, KBS Korean Traditional Music Orchestra, Yoshida Brothers, and Salta Cello. Representing Korea, she also actively takes part in 'The World String Festival' held in Japan. Having made tremendous contributions to the popularization and globalization of Haegum, she has inaugurated a whole new context for this versatile instrument. 

It is by no means surprising that she has received several prominent recognitions for her work: KBS Korean Traditional Music Grand Prix, Korean National Assembly Culture and Media Grand Prix, 2005 Korean Culture and Art Committee Award, 2006 Ministry Culture and Tourism Artist Award, 2009 Korean Christian Culture and Arts Grand Prix…etc.

KANG Eun-il | Hey Ya

Contact:
gabrielhan@hanmail.net

Gongmyoung
GongMyoung is the group enlarging their music with passion and idea for the world. In 1997 in Korea, when they first came out, their debut was reported with such words like “exceptional, unconventional” in the articles. Their music was considered “an unprecedented music” to Korean Traditional musicians. In their music, each one’s color meets together and creates the harmony. As you know from the preceding part, each person can play various instruments more than the instruments mentioned above. Especially, all of them play percussion parts, and this makes GongMyoung’s music full of vivid energy of rhythm. 

GongMyoung’s Passion for Music is wonderful and marvelous. They compose their music for their own color and sometimes they create musical instrument for themselves.-Members-SONG Kyung-keun Sogeum, DaegeumPARK Seung-Won Guitar, TaepyoungsoKang Seon-il Yanggeum, ChanggoLim Yong-ju Percussion

Gongmyoung | Play with us

Gongmyoung | Play with us

Contact:
lunar132@hanmail.net

HWANG Byung-ki
When seeing for the first time the twelve stringed Korean traditional instrument gayageum, some may think it is similar to the Japanese koto. Likewise, a person listening to the gayageum’s traditional musical style of sanjo for the first time may associate it with Indian raga. However, gayageum music and the instrument itself, with twelve bowstrings that elegantly conjure up natural sounds, are representation Korean music and instrument. Now, various performance and composition techniques are constantly being shown, and recently, a custom-fitted 25 string gayageum has been produced. But the gayageum will remain among Korea’s traditional instruments as the first one to come into a mind as being deeply symbolic of Korea’s musical traditions. Thanks to the efforts of gayageum master players, this instrument remains cherished even in a modern age. Among these masters, it is Hwang Byungki who has been made the subject of much reverent discussions. As a composer, performer and educator, HWANG Byung-ki is adored both at home and abroad, especially for transforming and innovating the way the gayageum is played. 

HWANG Byung-ki has developed unique performance techniques and composition that bestow the instrument with limitless capabilities. Born in Seoul in 1936, he majored in Law, but started performing the gayageum in his early twenties, winning numerous prizes. From the 1960s he started to compose, and has reached the height of his career in the 1970s when he began to receive much acclaim. Still today, it cannot be denied that HWANG Byung-ki continues to be one of traditional Korean music’s greatest exponents. We are able to feel the aesthetic beauty of the gayageum as one of traditional Korean string instruments, when listening to him performing. At the same time we can certainly know more about the traditional style of sanjo to which the gayageum is played. Among his works, whether Silkroad (Bidangil), Chimhyangmu, or Labyrinth (Migung), these three pieces are the best works to listen to at first in order to truly understand the tradition of Korean gayageum performance. HWANG Byung-ki will surely remain as one of the most prominent performers of traditional Korean music in the 21st Century, and certainly a representative musician of Korean world music.


HWANG Byung-ki | Chimhyang-moo Part 2


HWANG Byung-ki | Chimhyang-moo Part 2

Contact:
willchoi@cnlmusic.com

YI Ji-young
Yi Ji-young is the most representative gayageum player that continues to carry the tradition of korean performing arts - music, dance, and singing as well as contemporary avant-garde. Colleagues and critics alike consider her to be the most talented gayageum artist of our time whose music represents a perfect harmony of the emotionand the senses and her musical spectrum ranges from very traditional to very avant-garde elements. She is also known as the most important figure in the interpretation and performance of gayageum.She began to learn Korean traditional performing arts, such as gayageum, traditional song, and dance, at the age of five. Her musical experience in Korean traditional arts along with teaching Korean traditional music from young age has made her perform the greatest traditional music. She obtained both BA and MA in gayageum performance from Seoul National University and Ph.D. in Ewha Womans University. She was the first Ph.D. in gayageum performance in Korean music history.She was a notable soloist of the National Center of Korean Traditional Performing Arts from 1988 to 1993. In 1991, she became the youngest member of the ‘Jeongnongakhoe,’ the most prestigious Korean classical music ensemble in Korea, and she now is a Candidate for Important Intangible Cultural Property No. 23 ingayageum sanjo (solo instrumental folk genre) and gayageum byeongchang (folk song accompanied by gayageum).

Since her professional debut, she has performed numerous solo recitals in Korea, the U.S., Germany, Hong Kong, Sweden etc. She has performed with numbers of world-renowned orchestras and ensembles including Shanghai Orchestra, Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra, Kyoto Orchestra, Jerusalem Philharmonic Orchestra, Atlas Ensemble, KNM Berlin Ensemble, Del Sol String Quartet, and Lydian String Quartet. In addition, she has been recognized as the most frequently invited Korean musician to international music festivals including the Edinburgh Festival, Kuhumo Festival, ISCM, Asian Composer's League, Otherminds Contemporary Festival, Pacific Rim Music Festival, MIDEM.In 2003, she was awarded "The Best Young Musician" by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which is granted to the most prominent young musicians.She is now serving as a professor of Gayageum Performance in the Department of Korean Music in the College of Music at Seoul National University and also a music director of Gimhae Municipal Gayageum Orchestra. She is also the representative of CMEK (Contemporary Music Ensemble of Korea) which consists of musicians who perform both Korean traditional musical instruments and Western classical instruments.


YI Ji-young | Rough Brush

Contact:
yijiyoung@snu.ac.kr

KIM Jeong-seung
KIM Jeong-seung plays daegeum for both traditional and modern music. KIM is a performer of the Traditional Music Troupe in the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts, the youngest member in Jeongnong ensemble and a member of Contemporary Music Ensemble Korea. While actively involved in the preservation of traditional daegeum music, KIM is also recognized as a forerunner of new Korean music. He is known as the first musician to incorporate ‘Multiphonics’ and ‘Circular breathing’ into daegeum performances. KIM has been invited to many international music festivals, such as Berlin Contemporary Music Festival, Pacific Rim Music Festival, and Asian Composers’ League Music Festival as a soloist. 

His interest in newly composed Korean music led him to engage himself in graduate studies; KIM received M.A with a thesis on daegeum techniques. KIM’s research explores innovative ways to extend daegeum’s role in traditional music, and provides guidance for daegeum musicians to approach contemporary Korean and Western music.

KIM Jeong-seung | cheongseong-gok (a part)

Contact:
jazzsoul@naver.com

JeongGaAkHoe
Since their founding in 2000, Jeong Ga Ak Hoe has been concertizing widely throughout Korea, Europe and the United States, presenting their unique, one-of-a-kind performances of both Korean traditional music and novel pieces for Korean traditional instruments. Jeong Ga Ak Hoe’s eclectic and diverse repertoire has deep roots in the ancient Korean concept of Johwa (조화), meaning ‘harmony’ or ‘balance;’, and each performance is an expression of the transformative power that exists in music and nature.Jeong Ga Ak Hoe’s holistic approach has led them to explore the potential of new, and at times, unexpected artistic collaborations resulting in a new genre of emotionally compelling performance art, by utilizing the aesthetics of traditional Korean music as a catalyst to create a new, multi-dimensional, visionary theater.

More than providing mere “incidental” scores, Jeong Ga Ak Hoe draws upon the ancient traditions of Korean musical arts; it adds narrative, recitation, dance and video to create a ritualistic, genre-defying space where past, present and future coexist simultaneously, for both preservation and transformation of the musical heritage of their ancestors.

JeongGaAkHoe | The moon reflecting in the water

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Contact:
jgah@jgah.co.kr

JANG Sa-ik
Songs make people happier when they are happy and more sorrowful when they are sad. This is true of the music of Jang Sa-ik, whose songs inspire hope in life by, ironically, touching upon death.On a day in November in1994, about 400 people packed a small, 100-seat theater near Hongik University in Seoul. A man appeared on the stage. He was making his debut as a singer. He sang songs in his own unique style, which was neither popular music nor traditional Korean music. He was overwhelmed by bliss. He was happy because, at last, he found the answer to a question he had long asked to himself: "Why was I born?" He told himself: "Oh! I came into the world to do this."So he started the music life of the master vocal artist. The man who made his debut at a 100-seat theater has grown to now perform in the 3.000-seated Sejong Cultural Center for the Performing Arts and on stages in Japan, New York, Washington D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles. Since the beginning, his public performances has been going on for more than a decade, and many of his concerts have been sold out.Jang maintains an earnest and unique vocalization and singing style wherever he performs. He started music pretty late in life. However, he was not in a hurry, was not preoccupied with popularity and tried to build his own music world. He enthralled his fans.

His identityWhatever the song sung by him belongs to the genre of Jang Sa-ik music. Sometimes, he churns out explosive sounds, which then move to elegant and calm tunes. His sound is kaleidoscopic. Through him, songs become magical and he transforms sounds into songs. That is why his songs do not belong to any particular genre. They are only the "music of Jang Sa-ik."The artist is not bound by the song's rhythm. If he wants to extend the intervals of rhythmic movement, he freely squeezes in between them and stretches them out without any hesitation. There is no doubt he has great empathy with his audiences, with whom he breathes together and communicates through music.For three years, Jang played the taepyeongso (Korean traditional double-reed wind instrument) for a samulnori(music played by four percussionists) troupe before he began singing. The samulnori performance, which is led by the player of the kkwaenggwari, a brass gong, allows for much variation. During that time, Jang learned how to transcend rhythms freely, immerse himself into the fun and exhilaration of music and gain confidence in expressing his emotions.To him, songs mean much more than the music. They are narratives of life, and can console people in grief and offer them a tonic. This is why he tries to fill his songs with sincerity of life rather than simply seeking to perfect them musically. Because of his obsession with sincerity, the lyrics of Jang's songs easily sink into and are united with the emotions of his audiences.He is an avid reader of poetry. He said he feels great excitement when he read poems and they just become songs naturally. He has written songs with lyrics based on some reputed poems, such as "Twilight Road" by So Chong-ju, "Back to Heaven" by Chun Sang-byung, "This Ain't It" by Kim Yong-taek and "Flower Watching" by Kim Hyung-young.These songs blend the poetic language refined and polished by the poets and Jang's indigenous, exquisite timbre -- resonating beauty to make audiences feel exhilarated. In addition, there are songs through which he expresses the joy, anger, sorrow and happiness he experienced in his life. They include "Jjillekkot" (wild rose), in which he sings about the difficulties he faced before he made his debut as a singer in his mid-40s, and "Coughing," which is about his father who died of lung cancer. These songs penetrate the hearts of those who listen to them.What charms people more than the songs is Jang Sa-ik himself. It is quite natural that his fans often get confused whether they like the maestro Jang or his songs. It is because they see his life is identified through his songs. Like his songs, he is supple, candid and humble. His life more resembles a jjillekkot than a rose. He rides the bus because he longs to meet people.


JANG Sa-ik | Arirang

Noreum Machi
Since its foundation in 1993, New Wave Korean Music Group, Noreum Machi has been trying to re-discover its traditional music that suits our time by communicating with various artists around the world. Noreum Machi continuously communicates with other kinds of music through the basic traditional Korean music(sound, beat), without loosing its traditional structure. The group seeks unique musical language of traditional Korean music(beat, breathing, mordent) through the members’ own interpretation. As a result, Noreum Machi has been invited to numerous music festivals so that Korean traditional music can be shared globally. By doing so, it has been developing its own special and unique repertoire.

Noreum Machi pursues to become a musical group that communicates and exchanges with people around the world, to deliver its profound impression to the world. Noreum Machi is pursues to become a musical group that communicates and exchanges with people around the world so that we can deliver its profound impression to the world.

Noreum Machi | Binari

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Contact:
juhongman@gmail.com

Puri
PURI has regularly appeared on numerous stages worldwide while searching for experimental sounds deeply grounded in Korean traditional music, and the present performance will attest to Puri’s continuous endeavor to fuse the particularity of Korean music with the universality of world music.The name of the group “PURI” is derived from a Korean word that means resolving knotty and discordant elements or situations and rendering them harmonious. In this suggestive name is registered and expressed Puri’s wish to engraft Korean traditional rhythm to the rhythm of contemporary popular music as well as to that of world folk music, thereby harmonizing these seemingly disparate musical traditions.Although initially launched as a group of professional percussionists performing works of their own creation, Puri has of late increasingly become more like a “sound group” engaged with the use of diverse sounds and musical instruments.In Puri’s music-making, a technical aspect is considered to be of primary importance not only because Puri believers that it should demonstrate on the world market flawless techniques befitting a professional performance group, but also because the vitality of the group will of necessity wither should its technical finesse not buttress its musicality. It is the group’s firm belief at the same time, however, that it never brings any music on the stage without (re)appropriating and (trans)forming the original or traditional work anew. For playing music “(re)created” in the style of Puri alone marks the point at which the inimitable characteristics of Puri/s music are to be sought.

Puri’s root is no doubt Korean tradition. Yet Puri’s music has the power to reverberate throughout the world. Puri wishes to prove the unlimited possibilities of innovative music by making an unflinching effort to move beyond the rigid traditional repertoire toward blending diverse genres of music, and, in so doing, to let the world experience the excellence of Korean music by communicating with a wide array of talented international musicians.

Won Il : Jhanggo, Piri, Buhk, Drums, Hojeok. Chorus
HAN Seung-seok : Voice, Kkwaenggwari, Changgo, Bahrah
Kim Woong-sik : Changgo, Didgeridoo, Kkwaenggwari, Buhk, Djembe, Udu, Jing, Cymbals, Chorus
Jung Jae-il : Guitars, Basses, Electronic Sounds, Chorus, Piano

Puri | Jaryong, Shooting an Arrow

Contact:
woongsikkim@naver.com

Korea Arts Management Service
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