Joo Yeon Sir: Chaconnes, Divertimento & Rhapsodies

Hearing Joo Yeon Sir’s barnstorming performance of Pancho Vladigerov’s Bulgarian Rhapsody “Vardar” at St James’s Piccadilly with Irina Andrievsky in August made me want to return to her recently-released second CD, Chaconnes, Divertimento & Rhapsodies, for which Vardar is the penultimate track. The album, from Rubicon Classics, follows on from her successful first album Suites and […]

Gig review: Kyungso Park, SB Circle + Hey String

Isn’t it refreshing when a band exceeds expectations? When you were expecting something pretty good, and you get something astoundingly good. When the newbie support band has the class to headline their own gig. OK, to call the gayageum trio Hey String a newbie band neglects to mention their success as prizewinners in Seoul Namsan […]

Exhibition visit: Najeon and Ottchil, at Asia House

The current exhibition at Asia House, featuring exquisite work by contemporary master craftsmen and women, celebrates 70 years of diplomatic relations between the UK and the Republic of Korea. Najeon is the craft of decoration using mother of pearl, usually made from abalone shells, while Ottchil is the craft of creating objects out of lacquer. […]

Film Review: Love, Lies (Park Heung-sik, 2016)

An historic album made by a hitherto unknown Korean popular music singer from the colonial period is literally unearthed in a modern-day construction site. Miraculously, although the LP is damaged, audio engineers can restore the sound to something like the original, for broadcast on a golden oldies radio show. But who is the singer, and […]

November events 2019

The autumnal calendar cornucopia, wastefully overflowing, continues into this month. Even the most assiduous devotees of Korean culture will only be able to attend around half of the screenings, performances and other events that clamour for your attention in the first full week of the month. Thanks to similar diary clashes and inconvenient screening times […]

Gig review: Kim Doo Soo at Cafe OTO

Kim Doo Soo’s stage set-up is simple but carefully planned. The stage hand has marked out the precise place where the music stand is to be positioned, and the chair – which offers the minimum of comforts. A table to the musician’s right has some water and a surface to keep the various harmonicas; also […]

A roundup of the early Autumn celebrations

As people return from their summer holidays and prepare for the autumn season, there’s a range of celebratory events that form part of the annaul cycle: from the Korean holiday calendar there’s Chuseok (celebrated over the full moon of the 8th lunar month – 12 -14 September this year) and National Foundation Day, also known […]

Brief review: Park Jiha at Rich Mix

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 […]

Samuel Hawley’s Imjin War comes to YouTube

One of my most enjoyable reads so far this year has been Samuel Hawley’s Imjin War, originally published in 2005. At 664 pages long it might seem a bit intimidating, but in my view it could probably be twice as long and still be as gripping. But for those who like their history in nibble-sized […]

Nature Republic comes to London

We’ve had temporary pop-up beauty stores before, and since earlier this year the independent SOKOLLAB has been in Soho selling K-beauty and K-pop products. But now the big Korean beauty brand Nature Republic is opening up in London as part of an international expansion plan across Asia, America and the Middle East. The store, at […]

Misun Won and Kyosun Jung at Goldsmiths Fair

Earlier this month LKL paid a brief visit to the second week of Goldsmiths Fair, primarily to congratulate Misun Won on her special mention in the Best New Design Award 2019. The award itself went to Patrick Davison, but Misun’s generously proportioned brooch caught the judges’ eye. While there, we also visited award-winning designer Kyosun […]

Jambinai launches K-music 2019 with explosive force

Call me a grouch, but when you need both ear plugs and a blindfold to survive a gig in any degree of comfort you have to start questioning the wisdom of some of the sound and lighting judgments. Ear plugs, handed out for free at the entrance to Jambinai’s Purcell Room gig that opened K-music […]