Fusion tunes light up London for K-Music Fest

By Kim Hae-yeon
  • Published : Oct 1, 2021 - 20:09
  • Updated : Oct 1, 2021 - 20:09

Gayageum master and composer, Park Kyung-so (Park's official website, Nah Seung-yull)
London’s Festival of Korean Music, known as the K-Music Festival, which serves as a bridge for exchange and the promotion of traditional Korean music, is returning with live performances this fall.

This year marks the eighth anniversary of the festival, organized by the Korean Cultural Center UK, along with Serious, which also serves as the main organizer for the EFG London Jazz Festival.

A total of eight performances will be held across five different stages from Oct. 6 to Nov. 17, throughout the city of London and Norfolk county’s Norwich in southern England.

The festival will highlight a crossover of music genres from the east and the west, such as mixing Korean traditional music with contemporary jazz.

Fusion gugak band Ak Dan Gwang Chil (ADG7), who was invited to the 2019 Worldwide Music Expo, will take part in the opening event on the evening of Oct. 6, at Kings Place, known as the cultural pulse of London’s Kings Cross.
Fushion gugak band, Ak Dan Gwang Chil (ADG7's official website)
ADG7 is known by global music experts and critics as a “Shamanic Funk” band from Korea and presents traditional Korean music by adding its unique interpretations, making it compelling to listeners today.

Three performances will be held at the Southbank Center, a cultural space in London that hosts some 4,000 performances and attracts 6 million visitors annually.

A concert featuring two gayageum players, Park Kyung-so, Park Soon-a, with British Violinist Angharad Jenkins will be held on the evening of Oct. 17. Gayageum is a traditional Korean string instrument,

Park Soon-a is a third generation ethnic Korean born in Japan who studied gayageum in both in South and North Korea, and the trio will show off the charms of Korea’s traditional music in harmony with a medley of Welsh folk songs. 

Black String (London’s Festival of Korean Music's website)
Black String, a quartet named after the Korean zither, known as the geomungo, and French jazz guitarist Nguyen Le, will perform together at Grand Junction in Paddington on Oct. 28. Black String creates colorful harmonies using Korean traditional percussion, bamboo flutes, geomungo, daegeum and guitar, and was the first Korean band to win at the Songlines Music Awards in 2018.

The trio Coloris, consisting of experimental drummer Seo Soo-jin, pianist Kang Jae-hun and bassist Kim Young-hoo, will close the festival in collaboration with Nigerian-born, London-based saxophonist Camilla George.

“I am happy to be able to hold an offline live performance for the first time in two years since the pandemic,” said Lee Jung-woo, director of KCCUK. Lee expressed his excitement that the event would serve as a gateway across Europe, to emerging and future artists working in the realm of K-music.

A schedule and other details of the festival can be found at www.serious.org.uk.

By Kim Hae-yeon (hykim@heraldcorp.com)