Preview: K-Music Festival (London; Wednesday 6th October to Wednesday 17th November 2021)


You might already be in full Korean mood thanks to the hype lingering around Squid Game, however London will be treated to something completely different in the upcoming weeks… 

After its virtual version went online in 2020, K-Music Festival, the event organised by the Korean Cultural Centre UK and Serious dedicated to South Korean music, is ready to be back “in flesh and sound” around town with a launch happening on Wednesday (6th October).

The inauguration, which will go on stage at Kings Place, will be a tribute to the most authentic and glittery Korean pop, in the true sense of the term. ADG7 (Ak Dan Gwang Chil) is a triumph of musical pop-art: funky, dancy and shiny, but also folksy and rootsy and traditional enough to embody some of the most traditional characteristics of Korean culture.

The 9-piece band will be followed, ten days later (17th of October at Southbank’s Purcell Room), by an exclusive collaboration between composers and gayageum players Kyungso Park B and Soona Park with fiddler and creative practitioner Angharad Jenkins. They will join forces to blend Korean (both North and South) and Welsh contemporary and traditional repertoires and find a connection between their traditions which are only apparently five thousand miles apart.

While on the 23rd and 24th October in Notting Hill (at the Coronet Theatre), the festival will move towards more alternative sonorities. The two nights will indeed be about jazz, psychedelia and post-rock courtesy of Sinnoi and Dongyang Gozupa. Despite their underground artistic approach, the bands, which are two of the most intriguing new names coming from the Korean indie music scene, still fully appeal to their traditional background employing century-old instruments (like the yanggeum and geomungo) and embracing their cultural roots.

On the 28th of October at Grand Junction in Paddington, a good old acquaintance of the K-Music Festival will pay a visit to London to celebrate its 10th anniversary. We are talking about far-out quartet Black Strings and its original sound moving from jazz and connecting it with folk, blues and rock. On the same night, we will also be treated to the absolute and elegant musicianship of French-Vietnamese composer, producer and guitarist, Nguyên Lê.

In early November, on Saturday the 6th, the K-Music Festival will move back to the Purcell Room stage for a forward-looking duo redefining the contours and empty spaces of traditional Korean music. Ha Suyean and Hwang Hyeyoung are two zither players who have dedicated their talent to the gayageum and geomingo. Together, in 2018, they gave life to Dal:um to “create a balance between the original sound of silk strings and the beauty of emptiness”. In June, they released their debut album similar & different via Glitterbeat Records, and their upcoming show at Southbank Centre will be a unique opportunity to experience their imaginative sound.

The very last event enriching the 2021 calendar of the festival is another one-off collaboration between outstanding musicians. The Purcell Room will also be the set of the jazzy musical partnership between Korean avant-garde jazz act Coloris Trio led by drummer Soojin Suh, and London-based saxophonist, composer and teacher Camila George. Together, they will link up their East-Asian and Afro-Caribbean roots for a visionary set.

 Across October and November, the K-Music Festival will renew its dedication to the new as well as traditional sounds coming from the Korean peninsula by bringing to London some of the region’s most up-and-coming acts. So don’t miss the opportunity to discover and delve into its original musical expressions.

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