Park Jiha closed K-music 2017 supported by a trio of musicians (playing bass, sax and vibes). She returned to London this year as a solo performer, presenting material from her new album, Philos, as well as older material. We also got one premiere.
Park plays yanggeum (dulcimer), piri (oboe) and saenghwang (mouth organ), and when she plays one of the wind instruments she is generally accompanied by a backing track consisting of herself playing the yanggeum. Over an extended period the soundworld of the yanggeum can begin to lack variety, and in terms of musical experience the 2017 collaboration had more to grab the attention from the perspective of contrasts. But the 2019 concert had its own special magic in sustaining such a calm atmosphere for the full length of the programme. The tracks featuring the piri were the highlights, as the instrument has a yearning quality which tugs at the emotions – at least when in the hands of a master player like Park.
After the experience of listening to Woojae Park at the Rich Mix in 2017 I was a little concerned that the venue’s air conditioning system might prove a bit of a barrier to the enjoyment of the music. Initially the unit did not seem to intrude, which was a blessing because the third track in the set, Thunder Shower, relies for its effect on an audio sound track of gentle rainfall. But later on, as temperatures crept up slightly, the system began to be distinctly audible, and remained so for the rest of the evening. You could just about filter out the noise though, and Park’s charming interjections between tracks won you over to her musical vision.
All in all, a calm, relaxing evening, and we look forward to Park’s return in January next year.
Playlist: Borrowing Scenery | Throughout The Night… | Thunder Shower | Sounds Heard From The Moon | Easy (Poem read by Dima El Sayed) | Pause | Philos | Walker: In Seoul | When I Think Of Her | The Way Of Spiritual Breath (premiere) | On Water
K-music 2019 continues on 29 October with SB Circle and Hey String at the Purcell Room