Byungki Hwang: The Best of Korean Gayageum Music (Arc/Elite)

 |   |  <1 min read

Byungki Hwang: Hamadan (second movement, for gayageum and janggu, 2000)
Byungki Hwang: The Best of Korean Gayageum Music (Arc/Elite)

At the Auckland Arts Festival AK '07 one of the most fascinating (if least attended) events was an afternoon concert of tea music by a Korean ensemble -- essentially traditional music about the qualities of tea, and performed while tea was being prepared.

While you might have come away thinking it takes a helluva long time to get a cup of tea in Korea, the music was sublime.

This album by Korea's acknowledged master of the gayageum contains a cycle of such tea music pieces (for the stringed instrument, the gayageum, and voice) and a number of other equally enchanting tunes.

These are all contemporary works although obviously refer to a long and estimable tradition, but for even those unfamaliar with Korean music on any level this music -- especially the instrumental tracks which form the bulk of the 22 tracks -- is quite transporting.

Meditative or joyous ballads (which can sound like avant-garde, acoustic indie-pop) abound.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Angelique Kidjo: Oyo (Razor and Tie/Shock)

Angelique Kidjo: Oyo (Razor and Tie/Shock)

When singer Kidjo from Benin emerged in the early Nineties it seemed to me she got more mileage than she deserved, largely on the back of her story and looks rather than the music. Her early albums... > Read more

Savina Yannatou/Primavera en Salonico: Songs of An Other (ECM)

Savina Yannatou/Primavera en Salonico: Songs of An Other (ECM)

Not going to lie to you: this one isn't easy and certainly won't be to everyone's taste -- but I guess you have to expect that when a Greek singer takes on Armenia, Bulgarian, Albania etc folk in... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Quick Red Pepper Dip

Quick Red Pepper Dip

This is one of the best ways to get kids to eat vegetables - you'll have to be in quick if you want a bite! Ready in 25 minutes, serves six. INGREDIENTS 1 red pepper 1/2 Tbsp chopped... > Read more

dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip: Angles (2008)

dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip: Angles (2008)

Hip-hop's global reach was achieved well over two decades ago now, and because "the word" is the most important medium for a message in any culture it's no surprise that just about... > Read more