Concert reviews

Although the official opening concert of K-Music 2016 is Nah Youn-sun with Ulf Wakenius on 20 September, the British Museum’s Chuseok celebrations in collaboration with the KCC have given us several performances by the contemporary gugak group Jeong Ga Ak Hoe. They presented a programme of traditional music in the Korean Gallery on the morning […]

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Concert notes: China, Korea and Syria at Club Inégales

by Philip Gowman 25 July 2016
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The final gig of Club Inégales’ current season was predictably unpredictable. You know the format in advance, but you never know what the outcome will be. The house band, or subsets of it, improvise in the first set; in the second set the guests solo; and in the third set everyone plays together, cross fertilising […]

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Concert notes: Gamin and Notes Inégales at the Spitalfields Festival

by Philip Gowman 27 June 2016
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When we previewed the double bill at Wilton’s Music Hall featuring Purcell with Korean, Middle Eastern and western instruments, improvisation and more, we had an inkling that the evening might be something special. And we were darn right. This was music making and entertainment that is rare to find anywhere. First, the Purcell. King Arthur / the […]

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Neon Bunny – please come back to London soon!

by Philip Gowman 6 June 2016
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London has been doing well recently for live music: from B.A.P to Jambinai via Dead Buttons and more, there has been something for everyone. But the artist that I personally have been looking forward to seeing more than the rest is Neon Bunny (야광토끼) – whose debut album Seoulight made it into the list of […]

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Concert review: BAP – Live at the Coronet, Elephant and Castle

by Linda Derham 19 May 2016
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BAP – Live at the Coronet, Elephant and Castle, 13 May 2016. Sold out – and could have been sold out three times over, from what I hear. TLDR: the venue was awful but BAP lived up to their name! Do you want the good bit or the bad bit first? I’ll get the bad […]

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Concert notes: Joo Yeon Sir’s Festival Hall debut

by 앤서방 7 May 2016
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UK based violinist Joo Yeon Sir made a thrilling debut at The Royal Festival Hall last night. “Lament for the Valley”, a short piece for violin and orchestra, was composed for her by Karl Jenkins as part of his 2015 Music Award, in association with Classic FM. Conducted by Jenkins, Sir delivered an exhilarating, technically brilliant […]

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Concert Notes: National Gugak Centre at the Lilian Baylis Theatre

by Philip Gowman 18 October 2015
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You can’t really have a Korean music festival without some traditional music as once enjoyed by the court and literati. And who better to perform it that members of Korea’s National Gugak Centre, the body established to preserve and perform such music. The musicians have been touring Europe, most recently in Paris to launch Année […]

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Concert notes: Pansori night at the Cadogan Hall

by Philip Gowman 2 October 2015
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On the rare occasions that Pansori is performed in London I always get a sense of disappointment. The Pansori Night at the Cadogan Hall as part of K-Music was no exception, though there were mitigating factors. With a pansori the whole point is the story that unfolds before you. You know where the story is […]

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Concert notes: Jambinai at Rich Mix

by Philip Gowman 30 September 2015
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The somewhat spartan surroundings of the main performance space in Shoreditch’s Rich Mix was an ideal place in which to enjoy one of the most interesting fusion bands to have come out of Korea. For LKL, it was the highlight of the K-Music festival so far, and more than lived up to an extremely high […]

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Concert notes: The Barberettes at the Forge, Camden

by Philip Gowman 21 September 2015
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The three Barberettes, together with backing band of keyboard, drum and bass, received an enthusiastic welcome at The Forge in Camden for their two-night residency. They also did well to get coverage on London and national radio and national TV. Lola Kothari on BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction pronounced them ‘wonderful’, and one member of […]

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Concert notes: SU:M at the Purcell Room in K-Music 2015

by Philip Gowman 16 September 2015
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Kmusic 2015 got off to a haunting start at the Purcell Room on 1 September with the unusual fusion duo SU:M. I have to confess that, based on the one or two YouTube videos I had watched prior to the evening, I was expecting to be lukewarm. And having an English pianist playing some of […]

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Review: Kingston Welcomes Korea performances at the Rose Theatre

by Philip Gowman 14 September 2015
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Kingston Welcomes Korea is hopefully the first of several annual events at which Kingston will seek to welcome various foreign communities in a festival that combines cultural and business interaction. Korea was the obvious first choice to be welcomed in this way, given that ethnic Koreans represent around 10% of the borough’s population, and also given […]

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The Massive reports from the Boys Republic concert

by Philip Gowman 25 July 2015
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It seems the Boys Republic gig in Islington on 4 July went down well with the audience. The Korean Class Massive has a detailed account of the evening on their blog, and loads of photos on their Facebook page. Sounds like a good evening.

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2015 Travel Diary day 1: Arrivals — an evening in Hongdae

by Philip Gowman 29 May 2015
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Myeongdong, Seoul, 29 May. One flight is much like the next, the only differences being the food and in-flight entertainment. Asiana did a very acceptable bibimbap on the way out and, more ambitiously, a ssambap on the way back. Their tinned makgeolli, which I sampled on the return leg, is not to be recommended. Maybe […]

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Concert notes: Sunwook Kim at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

by Philip Gowman 18 March 2015
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The Southbank Centre’s International Piano Series features some of the best known stars in the classical music world such as Maurizio Pollini and Mitsuko Uchida as well as those at an earlier stage in their musical careers. 2006 Leeds prizewinner Sunwook Kim made his first appearance in the series on 3 March 2015 in the […]

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Concert Notes: Korean Chamber Orchestra with John Malkovich at the QEH

by Philip Gowman 26 February 2015
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To celebrate their 50th birthday, the Korean Chamber Orchestra are doing a European tour, and their first stop was London. For works involving just strings, the orchestra is directed by its konzertmeister Kim Min, and for their London concert Finnish conductor Ralf Gothoni took the baton for anything larger. It was ambitious to open their London concert […]

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Concert review: Ensemble Sinawi at the City of London Festival

by Philip Gowman 10 October 2014
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How can you adequately describe a gig which touched the highs and lows of human emotion? There were times when the melody sung by the voice or ajaeng had a searing, heart rending intensity which brought a lump to the throat and tears to the eye; and then in the next piece the toes would […]

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