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

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

Changui Majadero: El Changui Majadero (Changüí del Guaso Productions)

Changui Majadero: El Changui Majadero (Changüí del Guaso Productions)

As we've previously observed at Elsewhere, Cuban music has, since the Buena Vista Social Club more than two decades ago, been often reduced to the cliches of romantic old folk and supple... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Peter Tosh; Legalize It (Sony Legacy)

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Peter Tosh; Legalize It (Sony Legacy)

This expanded-to-double-vinyl edition re-presents the '76 debut by the former Wailer who carried a number from that band into the sessions. While Bob Marley delivered the serious Rastaman... > Read more

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: The Ultimate Collection (1998 compilation)

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: The Ultimate Collection (1998 compilation)

Before the Supremes overtook them – on the charts and in Berry Gordy's affections – Martha Reeves and the Vandellas were the seminal girl group on Gordy's emerging Motown label out of... > Read more