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

Jimi Tenor and Tony Allen: Inspiration Information 4 (Strut)

Jimi Tenor and Tony Allen: Inspiration Information 4 (Strut)

The Flight of the Conchords’ astute parodies have spoiled some music for us -- and the opener here where Jimi Tenor oozes darkly “lean against the wall, I want to do it dancehall style... > Read more

Tri Nguyen: The Art of the Japanese Zither (ARC Music)

Tri Nguyen: The Art of the Japanese Zither (ARC Music)

As with the Korean gayageum, the 16-string Vietnamese zither (dan tranh, pronounced “dan chang”) is fiendishly difficult to play but offers gloriously, light and evocative charms in the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITER CHRIS CREE BROWN on Tony Palmer's film about the life and music of Benjamin Britten

GUEST WRITER CHRIS CREE BROWN on Tony Palmer's film about the life and music of Benjamin Britten

There's a wonderfully poignant tale about Benjamin Britten and (Sir) Michael Tippett. Britten, along with his long-time companion and inspiration Peter Pears, were both British pacifists and... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Byrds, Original Album Classics

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Byrds, Original Album Classics

While it's true to say the best of the Byrds as a folk-rock act moving into psychedelia came before the albums in this set of somewhat diminishing returns, there's a case to made for these years... > Read more