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KAYA to perform at the KCC

KAYA: Jung Ji-eun (gayageum) and Jeon Sung-min (guitar)

Over the last 10 years Jung Ji-eun (gayageum) and Jeon Sung-min (guitar) have become familiar figures at Korean cultural events in the London area and elsewhere. But you might not have noticed that they have been steadily expanding their repertoire, in particular with their own compositions. One of these compositions was performed at the evening put together by the Korean Artists Association in the summer of 2009. Since then the duo have recorded two CDs which are well worth exploring, and Ji-eun has been performing further afield, most recently in Latvia to help celebrate 20 years of diplomatic relations with Korea.

Together they form the duo “KAYA”, whose name is derived from the gayageum, and there’s a great opportunity to hear them in action at the KCC on Friday 21st October 2011, 7pm-8:30pm. As usual, pre-booking is required via [email protected]

Ji-eun is a professional gayageum player and a national initiator of the Important Intangible Cultural Asset of Korea No.23, Jook Pa Kim Sanjo. She did her BA in Korean Traditional Music at Ewha Woman’s University and MA in Asian Music at Dong Gook University. Since graduation she has performed in many countries throughout the world.

Sung-min is a Korean guitarist and folk singer songwriter. He mainly plays a steel string acoustic guitar with a harmonica. He started playing the guitar when he was 13. His passion for music was inspired by his family. His father plays various instruments and is also a great singer, while his mother used to run a record shop. His uncle is the leader of the greatest Korean folk duo, ‘Sunflower’.1

To get a flavour of their music, here’s a sample of their “New Arirang”:

And one of “Heart for the People”:

You can sample more of their music on their website,

KAYA in concert

The programme for 21 October is as follows.

1. Sanjo
Sanjo, Korean representative music for solo instruments, was developed in the 19th century. It is thought to have been developed from shinawi, a form of improvisation played in shamanistic ceremonies in Jeolla Province, in the south western part of the Korean peninsula. Originally, Sanjo was improvised music but now the forms are set. It has five movements which increase in tempo Chinyangjo, Chungmori, Chungjungmori, Chajinmori and Hwimori.

2. Amazing Grace
‘Amazing grace’ is a hymn written by English poet and clergyman John Newton (1725-1807). It is one of the most recognizable songs in the world. Ji Eun Jung has arranged the song to fit the 25 strings of the Gayageum.

3. Thinking of you
Sung-min composed ‘Thinking of You’ inspired by one rainy day when he thought of someone he loves.

4. Heart for the people
This is Ji-eun’s own composition. As is well known, her home country Korea has been divided into North and South for more than 50 years. In the face of such geographical and ideological division, she believes the most important thing is to continue to love the people who are suffering.

5. Your theme
In Ji-eun’s composition ‘Your Theme’, she intends listeners to let their feelings roam freely inspired by the emotion of the music.

6. Dokdo
Sung-min’s composition ‘Dokdo’ was inspired by Dokdo, the island of the Korean coast in the East Sea. It literally means ‘Solitary Island’ in Korean. It’s a small but beautiful island. Also Dokdo is special and means a lot to Koreans. It’s in every Korean’s heart.

7. Market day / People of the sea / The field – ‘Home’
With photo slide show of Ji-eun’s father Jung Hoi Jung’s photo works – Korean rural scenery in 1970s
Ji-eun composed and arranged ‘Market day’ and ‘People of the Sea’ inspired by the photos taken by her father, Mr. Jung Hoi Jung, a professional photographer. His photos show scenes of Korea in 1970s. ‘Home’ is Sung-min’s composition.

8. The narrow way
‘The Narrow Way’ is Ji-eun’s own composition and words. There are many ways in our life, but she believes that the true way of life is narrow.

9. New Arirang
(Joined by daegum, the traditional Korean bamboo flute, and keyboard)
‘Arirang’ is the most representative Korean traditional folk song. ‘Arirang’ is an ancient native Korean word. ‘Ari’ means ‘beautiful’ and ‘rang’ can mean ‘dear’. Ji-eun arranged ‘Arirang’ into a modern style.

Should you need it, here’s the official press release / invitation from the KCC:

KAYA – Kayageum & Guitar

Korean Cultural Centre UK: Multi Purpose Hall
Friday 21st October 2011
7pm- 8:30pm

The Korean Cultural Centre UK is delighted to invite you to the Autumn Concert Series “Bridge”, the beautiful harmony of the traditional Korean string instrument Kayageum and the Guitar.

Please join us to experience the sensational trans-continental sounds of KAYA.

Please RSVP to [email protected]

For more details,
call 020 7004 2600

  1. Interviewed for LKL by Indieful RoK’s Anna Lindgren here. []

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