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

Various Artists: Saoco! (Vampi Soul/Southbound)

Various Artists: Saoco! (Vampi Soul/Southbound)

Subtitled “The bomba and plena explosion in Puerto Rico 1954-66”, this double disc ensures your library of bomba and plena just got a shelf-filler. For most of us, myself included,... > Read more

Utsav Lal: Indian Classical Music on the Piano (digital outlets)

Utsav Lal: Indian Classical Music on the Piano (digital outlets)

Elsewhere will occasionally preface or conclude comments on albums with something like “not for everybody”. The implication is that the music is of some specialised nature, but the hope... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Billie Holiday: Lady Sings the Blues

Billie Holiday: Lady Sings the Blues

Anyone who has followed this fairly frequent column where we suggest reasonably priced records to expand your collection knows that, as a consumer service, we try to aim wide. In the past we've... > Read more

SHORT PASSAGES: A quick overview of recent jazz releases

SHORT PASSAGES: A quick overview of recent jazz releases

Facing down a slew of jazz releases, Elsewhere will every now and again be obliged to do a quick sweep like this. Comments will be brief. But we are keen to acknowledge as many jazz releases... > Read more