Despite the pandemic, Serious and the KCCUK have arranged a great line-up for K-music this year. Bookended by live performances to open and close the festival, there’s a range of exciting online performances which involve new collaborations between favourite K-music artists from the past as well as some new names. We’ve already posted about the live concerts, and we’ll follow up with more information on the online events. Or you can consult www.serious.org.uk/k-music or kccuk.org.uk/en/programmes/k-music-festival/. Do check out the Spotify playlist at the bottom of this page to give an idea of some of the treats in store for you.
K-Music 2020: London’s Festival of Korean Music
30 Oct – 16 Nov 2020
Fri 30 October: ADG7 (Ak Dan Gwang Chil), Kings PlaceCANCELLED
Mon 16 November: SooJin Suh + Kit Downes, PizzaExpress Holborn
Plus online programme of performances + talks
We are delighted to announce that K-Music, London’s festival of Korean music, returns this year as a live and digital event with live concerts and a selection of streamed performances and talks. The Festival will run from Friday 30 October to Monday 16 November, with the final live concert becoming part of the EFG London Jazz Festival. The live shows include multi award-winning nine-piece ADG7 (Ak Dan Gwang Chil) and an exciting and completely new collaboration between experimental drummer/composer SooJin Suh and British pianist/composer Kit Downes.
A fantastic programme of online concerts and talks will run between the two live concerts and we have divided them into categories. K-Music Greats includes artists that have performed at previous K-Music festivals, are some of the biggest names in Korean music. This year they include Songlines Award Winners Black String and Jambinai, and the sensational singer Heemoon Lee alongside Prelude and NomNom. For K-Music Critics’ Choice we have selected world-renowned groups Coreyah, LeeNalchi and Sinnoi, who are enjoying growing success. K-Music Specials will stream full-length concerts and include a new performance from gayageum trio Hey String as well as an outstanding collaboration with Park Jiha, Kyungso Park, Woojae Park and Soona Park.
Artists in the K-Music Encounters category will discuss their work before presenting some unique collaborations and one-off pieces and this year include Yoon Jeong Heo, Kyungso Park & Soona Park and the renowned pansori artist Jaram Lee. A K-Music Encounters Special features a new collaboration from Jung Jae-il, the musical director of Parasite. The final category, K-Music New Talent, offers a chance to hear fresh sounds from Korea’s up-and-coming new groups and this year we showcase Dongyang Gozupa, Gray By Silver, Dal:um and Gonia.
ADG7 (Ak Dan Gwang Chil)CANCELLED
Friday 30 October, Kings Place | More details
ADG7 (Ak Dan Gwang Chil) made their world debut in 2019 at Womex and GlobalFEST to much press acclaim. With the explosions of a pop rock cabaret and the grooves of funk, the group draw on the sacred shamanic and secular ritual music and folk song of the Hwanghaedo region in western North Korea, their music expressing the true meaning of liberation and South Korea’s desire for reunification. The nine-member group perform traditional instruments – zithers, flutes, drums and gongs – with three powerhouse singers and together they create an exuberant, contemporary interpretation of the spirit of Hwanghaedo.
Band members include Won Meon Dong Maru on gayageum (zither); Grace Park on ajaeng (zither); Kim Yak Dae on daeguem (bamboo flute); Lee Man Wol on piri (bamboo oboe) and saenghwang (free reed mouth organ); Chun Gung Dal and Sunwoo Bara on percussion; and Hong Ok, Wol Seon and Meong Wol on vocals.
“The show has all the trappings of K-Pop – choreographed singers, candy-coloured costumes and bouncy, upbeat, often swinging songs that link the concision of folk tunes to the catchy repetition of pop, with cymbals for drive and flute and zither lines for instrumental hooks.” NEW YORK TIMES
“A most astonishing show musically and immensely entertaining” Bob Boilen, NPR
SooJin Suh & Kit Downes (Still going ahead)
Monday 16 November, Pizza Express | More details
SooJin Suh is one of Korea’s leading experimental drummers who studied music from the age of 5 and graduated from City College, New York. She has released four albums (The Moon in Your Hand, Strange Liberation, Colorist and Embrace) and is a member of K-Music 2018 performers, Near East Quartet, whose eponymous album came out on ECM in the same year.
BBC Jazz Award-winning, Mercury Music Prize-nominated pianist/composer Kit Downes is also an ECM artist, playing solo as well as with his own bands (ENEMY, Troyka, Elt and Vyamanikal). Soo Jin Suh and Kit Downes will be accompanied by Ruth Goller on bass for this collaboration, which is exclusive to the K-Music Festival in partnership with the EFG London Jazz Festival and promises to be a classic.
This category includes some of the biggest names in Korean music, each of whom have performed at previous K-Music festivals.
K-music New Talent
A chance to hear fresh sounds from Korea’s up and coming groups who are making waves in the East, we’re proud to present them in London’s Festival of Korean Music.
In our new series for this year, get behind the music with K-Music Encounters where compelling artists discuss their work before presenting some unique collaborations and one-off pieces.
Enjoy a full concert experience from home with our feature length broadcasts. This year, K-Music Festival has worked with Korea’s leading culture institutions including The National Theatre of Korea to provide some outstanding online performances.
K-music Critics’ Choice
Working with Lopa Kothari, Nikki Bedi and Max Reinhardt, we have specially selected exciting Korean bands who are just starting to find new audiences across the world.
31 Oct 5pm K-Music Greats I Jambinai 2 Nov 7pm New Talent I & II Dongyang Gozupa + Dal:um 3 Nov 7pm K-Music Encounters I Yoon Jeong Heo (from Black String) + Vincent Peirani 4 Nov 7pm K-Music Encounters II Kyungso Park & Soona Park 7.25pm K-Music Encounters Special Jae Il Jung & Soona Park 5 Nov 7pm K-Music Encounters III Jaram Lee 6 Nov 7pm K-Music Specials I Hey String 7 Nov 5pm K-Music Greats II Black String 9 Nov 7pm New Talent III & IV Gray by Silver + Gonia 10 Nov 7pm Critics’ Choice I Coreyah 11 Nov 7pm Critics’ Choice II Sinnoi 12 Nov 7pm Critics’ Choice III Leenalchi 13 Nov 7pm K-Music Specials II Jiha Park, Kyungso Park, Woojae Park & Soona Park 14 Nov 5pm K-Music Greats III Heemoon Lee + Prelude + NomNom
Watch at www.youtube.com/thekccuk and www.youtube.com/seriousmusiclive
A festival that is ‘original, powerful and thrilling like nothing you have ever heard before’ (★★★★★ Evening Standard)
Here’s a Spotify playlist curated by Serious, featuring the K-music 2020 artists