Concert reviews

I’m sure most of you have been in the scenario of trying to get a drink in a busy bar, with an overstretched barman (or maid) not having a clue who’s next in the unspoken queue. He looks around, and whoever shouts loudest gets served. You wonder if you will ever get your thirst quenched. […]

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Gig review: Jang Kiha & the Faces + Yi Sung Yol at the Scala

by Philip Gowman 23 June 2013
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The advertised start time for the gig was 7pm, and at 8pm there was still a huge queue at the door simply to get in. Clearly the administration of rock concerts at the Scala is not bound by the same conventions as a classical concert at a mainstream venue. Inside, the down-at-heel décor is probably […]

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Concert review: Geomungo Factory at the Cadogan Hall

by Philip Gowman 21 June 2013
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Geomungo Factory was the second fusion concert as part of the K-Music 2013 Festival. The cool air conditioning inside the Cadogan Hall provided a welcome respite from the muggy atmosphere outside; and the clean, modern lines of the outfits worn by the four Geomungo Factory members promised that we were not about to hear a […]

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Hannibal Lecter plays Paganini – definitely NOT part of K-Music 2013

by Philip Gowman 18 June 2013
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Thanks to the pre-concert publicity, anyone going to an Amadéus Leopold gig knows they are in for something to entertain the eyes as well as the ears. So it came as no surprise that among the gothic paraphernalia on the stage of the Queen Elizabeth Hall for his performance as part of Yoko Ono’s Meltdown […]

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Concert review: National Orchestra of Korea gives K-Music 2013 a triumphant start

by Philip Gowman 16 June 2013
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The UK debut of the National Orchestra of Korea at the Barbican on 14 June launched the 2013 K-music festival. In his interview with LKL the day before, the orchestra’s musical director Won Il had promised sounds that a British audience had never heard before. And the orchestra certainly delivered on that promise. The 60-piece […]

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Samulnori, sanjo and jazz from the SOAS Korean Drumming Society

by Philip Gowman 5 June 2013
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The SOAS Korean Drumming Society gave an interesting and varied recital in the Lucas Lecture theatre on Monday 3 June. After a daegeum sanjo from Kim Hyelim, accompanied by Keith Howard on changgo, we had a very effective jazz improvisation by Choi Jeung-hyun (changgo) with Shzr Ee Tan (piano) using two samulnori rhythms, the daseureum […]

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Gig Review: Korea Rocks at the Barfly

by Saharial 2 May 2013
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It was a cold a windy day in Camden on Sunday, something easily forgotten at Barfly thanks to the energy that filled the venue during the four hours of Korea Rocks. I like the Barfly venue – just the right size space for a gig to feel busy but intimate, and the whole place as […]

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Tour review: Korea Rocks UK Tour

by Philip Gowman 2 May 2013
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With explosive noise and thudding bass line, Apollo 18 launched the headline Korea Rocks gig in the South East. The whole room shook, and you wondered whether the beams supporting the floor were able to take the vibration. As energy levels increased further the long hair of the lead guitarist flew back and forth – […]

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Bach and the Battle of the Red Cliffs: the KCC’s 5th birthday concert at the Cadogan Hall

by Philip Gowman 15 February 2013
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It is difficult to know what to make of a programme which was so obviously in two parts, and potentially likely to appeal to two completely different audiences. There will have been many who, in advance of the KCCUK’s fifth birthday concert, would have thought: “maybe I’ll just turn up for the second half”, or […]

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Tim Garland’s Korean collaboration: Sinawi and the Blues

by Philip Gowman 17 December 2012
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The combination of Korean traditional instruments with modern western ones gives rise to complex performance issues. Incompatibilities of style, volume, timbre and tuning are challenges to be overcome, not always with success. With the improvisatory nature of jazz, where instruments get their chance for solos and where amplification is a customary feature of the mix, […]

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BIGBANG at Wembley Arena: Fantastic, Baby

by Philip Gowman 15 December 2012
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The thudding of the bass speakers was turning my inside to soup as the shrieks of the fangirls were searing laser-like into my brain. And the concert hadn’t even started yet. I had brought a stiffening drink into the arena with me, but there was no chance to down it. As soon as the band […]

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CNBLUE at the indigO2 – Saharial reports from last Saturday’s gig

by Saharial 23 September 2012
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It was 3pm on a sunny but cool afternoon when I began to queue for the CNBLUE concert, though many had been there since early morning coming from as far afield as Finland, France, Switzerland, Italy and Poland – a wide mix of nationalities and ethnicity that seemed almost equal. As with all concerts there […]

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All Eyes on Korea: consistent investment in the performing arts brings its rewards

by Philip Gowman 29 August 2012
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The London 2012 Olympics was around a decade in the making: preparation of the bid, building the venue itself and putting in place the infrastructure required to run a successful games. And for the last couple of years of that preparation time, a separate team of hard-working organisers from the Korean Ministry of Culture Sports […]

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Battle of the Divas: Shining K-Classics at the Festival Hall

by Philip Gowman 9 August 2012
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Maestro Seigerstam eased himself onto the platform looking like a cross between Brahms and a benign troll, long white beard resting on a generous stomach, long white hair reaching down the back of his tailcoat. With a waggle of his baton, the woodwind started playing Tchaikovsky’s Romeo & Juliet Overture and the Shining K-Classics concert […]

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Concert notes: Be-Being’s Korean Masque Music Project at the QEH

by Philip Gowman 7 August 2012
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Be-Being (비빙) was the first of the five musical events of the All Eyes on Korea festival on the South Bank and set the scene well for the remainder. It was an evening of fusion: contemporary music on traditional instruments, with some of the numbers accompanied by traditional mask dances from a variety of traditions. […]

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Concert notes: HJ Lim at the Wigmore

by Philip Gowman 4 August 2012
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She strode onto the stage in her trademark silk trouser suit, casually tossed a handkerchief into the piano and launched immediately into the intensity of the first of Rachmaninov’s Etudes Tableaux Op 33. HJ Lim’s debut at the Wigmore had departed. As when a bus driver puts his foot on the accelerator before his passengers […]

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Concert Notes: All Eyes on Baramgot at the Purcell Room

by Matthew Jackson 30 July 2012
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I had expected the five-piece ensemble Baramgot (바람곶) to provide a solid evening of traditionally folk-inspired Korean  music. Having attended a number of traditional Korean music performances before, I had a fairly clear idea of what I was in for, and I was looking forward to it. The 75 minute programme consisted of seven items, […]

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