Posts Tagged ‘geomungo factory’

K-Music 2013 – London’s Festival of Korean Music

Posted on May 17th, 2013 in News, Recent posts by .


Words by Luke Shekerali

Thanks to YouTube, most people have heard Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’, but it’s unlikely that they are aware of the rich selection of music Korea has to offer other than this one-hit wonder. Well, luckily for Londoners, there is a chance to experience it first-hand at K-Music Festival 2013 this June. Whether you’re a fan of Korean music or not yet sure, this looks set to be a special event, with venues all over London getting involved.

The week-long festival opens with a UK debut from the highly innovative National Orchestra of Korea at the Barbican, who will dazzle the audience with sounds drawn from ancient instruments and Korean shamanic traditions.

Meanwhile, Geomungo Factory (pictured above) will also make their UK debut at the Cadogan Hall, improvising sounds inspired by jazz, folk and ambient on the thousand-year-old geomungo (zither).

Also making a rare appearance at Cadogan Hall is Ahn Sook-Sun, Korea’s most celebrated pansori star (read more about her in our next issue, #93, on sale June 7). Often described as Korean opera, pansori is in fact more rooted in folk. The audience can expect to be immersed in Sook-Sun’s vivid performance in Heungbo-ga, a comic story surrounding two brothers.

Expect all this and more at this year’s UK celebration of Korean culture.

Upcoming June dates:

June 14 –The National Orchestra of Korea - Barbican
June 16 – UhUhBoo Project + Pere Ubu - Scala
June 19 – Geomungo Factory, Cadogan Hall
June 20 – Yi Sung Yol + Kilha, Scala
June 21 –Pansori Night (Ahn Sook-Sun), Cadogan Hall

Preview video:

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Top of the World: Geomungo Factory – Metamorphosis

Posted on November 12th, 2012 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

Words by Simon Broughton

More long zithers than you could shake a stick at

South Korea’s Geomungo Factory are the most exciting group I’ve seen in the past year. Contemporary, traditional and inspirational. Their music sounds organic but is full of playfulness as well as wisdom. This is their debut CD. The music is deeply based in Korean tradition, but also innovative and compelling. The exotic sound of the geomungo is their USP: it is one of Korea’s many long zithers, with six strings, and it’s struck with a stick. Its sound is deep, muscular and gutsy.

Traditionally, the geomungo is played solo with percussive accompaniment from a drum. But Geomungo Factory bring five different instruments together, composing new music and create a galaxy of acoustic textures with throbbing beats, delicate plucked strings and visceral bowing and string effects. ‘Geomungo & Tango’ is a good example of this – it’s almost like Astor Piazzolla going Korean. ‘The Starry Night’ apparently alludes to Tchaikovsky’s ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ and features a ‘xylophone geomungo’, but it fits the texture of the music. ‘Groundless Fear’ is one of the most arresting tracks with a bowed ‘cello geomungo’ and plenty of experimental techniques, while the final track, ‘Cycle of the Sound’, brings in an electric geomungo and a whole new sound world. They have included one vocal track, though they scarcely needed it when the range and dynamism of their instrumental sound is so strong. It has been hard for Korean bands to break through to a worldwide audience, but Geomungo Factory really deserve to. They are playing at WOMEX followed by several European dates, so let’s see.

Track to try: Movement on Silence

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Youtube Playlist #88

Posted on October 28th, 2012 in Recent posts by .

Now that you’ve had a chance to read about all the exciting music featured in the current issue of Songlines, don’t forget that you can watch it and listen to it too. Each issue, we create a YouTube playlist of featured videos to help give the full interactive experience. You can view the playlist here.

Some of the highlights of this issue’s videos include:

Africa Express: 80 musicians touring Britain on a train seemed a virtually impossible feat (read more on p54-58)


Bye Bye Bayou: Cajun punk trio Mama Rosin were this issue’s Globe-Rocker (read more on p24)


Modern History: The groundbreaking Korean zither quartet, Geomungo Factory (read more on p41-43)

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Nov/Dec 2012 issue of Songlines (#88) is on sale in the UK from October 12

Posted on October 10th, 2012 in News, Recent posts by .

The November/December 2012 issue of Songlines is on sale in the UK from October 12 and includes our regular Top of the World CD with ten tracks from the finest new releases from around the globe. Also included on the Top of the World CD is an exclusive playlist chosen by the Adjaye brothers – the renowned architect David and musician/producer Peter.

The Top of the World CD features tracks from folk big band Bellowhead; Finnish musical veterans Värttinä; The Souljazz Orchestra; Korean six-stringed zither quartet Geomungo Factory; genre-bending Brazilian Lucas Santtana; and award-winning Lau, among others.

If that wasn’t enough, Songlines columnist and 6Music presenter Cerys Matthews has compiled a bonus CD of sonic treats straight from the valleys, to celebrate Wales welcoming WOMEX in 2013.



The main editorial features include:

• Bellowhead – English folk’s most raucous big band divulge some secrets and guilty pleasures.
• Mali crisis – A report on the dire effect the situation in Mali is having on its musicians.
• Geomungo Factory – An in-depth look at the sound world of this groundbreaking Korean quartet.
• Melingo – The Argentinian who has created his unique tango bizarro style talks to Chris Moss about Piazzolla, politics and nationalism.
• Africa Express – “Magical, unforgettable, blessed” – three words that sum up the Africa Express rail trip for roving reporter Andy Morgan.

• Beginner’s Guide to the Oscar D’León.
• Sounding Out Thessaloniki – WOMEX 2012 host.
• Festival Profile: Sufi Sutra, Kolkata.
• Postcard from the Dominican Republic.
• Backpage from Sarajevo.
• My World – with the Adjaye brothers.
• Grooves – Norwegian music producer and activist Deeyah, award-winning BBC broadcaster Mark Coles and traditional English folk singer Fay Hield.
• News, including Sam Lee’s Mercury Prize nomination and Värttinä’s WOMEX Artist Award triumph.
• Reviews of the latest CD, book and World Cinema releases.

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