Those of you who followed the online K-music festival last year will have noted the “New Talent” strand, which included gayageum / gomungo duo Dal:um. If so, you’ll be as excited as I am that they’re coming to London in person for the 2021 festival – they’ll be appearing in the Purcell Room on 6 November.
Dal:um have just released their debut album entitled Similar and Different on the prestigious Glitterbeat label. You might recognise one of the tracks from their 2020 online showcase: the lead track on the EP, TAL, featured in the official video screened at the K-music festival last year, together with a nice interview with the duo:
The press release accompanying the CD issue gives an interesting introduction to the music: you can read a full version here, and I’ve included a couple of paragraphs below.
Dal:um – Similar & Different
The duo’s debut album seems to begin with a pause. A short silence that yields to soft strikes of a bell and repetitive sounds made by tapping against the wood of their instruments. The first plucks of the silk strings of the gayageum and geomungo are sustained and spacious as the composition unfolds slowly and gracefully.
“Dal:um’s music comes from ‘emptiness’” says Geomungo player Hwang Hyeyoung. “We’ve been working to create a balance between the original sound of silk strings and the beauty of emptiness. It’s easy to get obsessed with filling blank spaces when one wants to express something, so we always try not to fill things in rashly. We are focusing on the beauty of the pure sounds and tones of the gayageum and geomungo in order to change ‘blankness’ into a space of anticipation.”
Gayageum player Ha Suyean continues the thought: “the charm of Dal:um’s music comes from its natural gaps, not the hasty filling in of musical notes. The charm comes from conveying the sentiments inside these gaps.”
The CD has six tracks, three of them composed by Ha and Hwang – with Choi Jiwoon sharing the credits on one. The remaining tracks are composed by Jang Taepyeong, Lee Aro and Choi Jiwoon. The recording producer is a well-known name among K-music afficionados: Park Kyungso, who has now appeared in four editions of the festival.
Do download the album (link below) to tide you over to when you can hear them live later this year!
Here’s another taster, a piece called The Collapsing Time