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Title Talented Korean Musicians Come on the Stage at New York: SORI, Global Sounds of Korea
No Inquiry 791 Date 2018.01.25

SORI (Representative: Shawn Choi), a New York-based Korean arts and culture agency that helps Korean traditional and world musicians' advancement into North America, held a concert on January 13 in New York. Three teams of talented Korean musicians, who encompass traditional, jazz, pop and world music, met the New York audiences this day.

 

The concert held at Rockwood Music Hall, one of Manhattan's best music clubs, was part of the official program of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals Conference, which is the world's largest performing arts forum and marketplace taking place in New York every January. SORI's concert was the only Korean music showcase in the program. The showcase, which was supported by the Korea Arts Management Service under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Korea, featured Coreyah, a Korea's leading world music band, Park Kyungso X Kim Chaek, a duo consisting of a gayageum player who won the Grand Prix at the KBS Gugak Awards in 2017 and a musical anthropologist and jazz drummer, and Joe Kye, a violinist-looper and vocalist.

 

On this Saturday from 7 pm to 9 pm, these three teams offered their performances one after another, creating passionate stages captivating many New Yorkers and North American performing arts experts. Coreyah, a band consisting of four Korean traditional musicians, one guitarist, and one percussionist, presented a perfect blend of traditional Korean music and modern pop music. Known as the first Korean band invited in 32 years to the Summerstage NYC held in Manhattan's Central Park last summer, the band’s enchanting music intertwined with Korean sensibility resonated with the audiences' feelings.

 

  

Performances of Joe Kye (up) and Coreyah (bottom)

 

Park Kyungso from the second team, who is a gayageum player, composer and improviser, is known as a musician who breaks the boundaries between traditional and modern music. Since her solo debut in 2008, she has released two regular albums including 'The Most Beautiful Connection' (2015) and four singles including 'Be My Neighbor' (2014) and EP albums, writing a modern history of gayageum, an ancient Korean musical string instrument.


Kim Chaek, who started to play the piano and mandolin guitar even before he learned to speak, came to New York in adolescence and received regular musical lessons here. He is a veteran musician who participated in a number of musical projects as a session musician. Kim is one of the best Korean jazz drummers and a musical anthropologist who studied music at Pusan National University College of Arts, acquired his master's degree in anthropology at Seoul National University College of Social Sciences and his doctor's degree in musical education in Seoul National University College of Education. Park and Kim have been performing together since 2017. This gayageum and jazz drum duet have created a new breed of music that the audiences have never experienced before, drawing enthusiastic reaction and applause from the locals and people from the performing arts circle.

 

Park Kyungso X Kim Chaek/ Photo courtesy of SORI.


Joe Kye, who made a finale of the concert, is a violinist-looper and composer born in Korea and raised in Seattle. Since starting his music career in 2013, he has been acclaimed as an artist “discharging a world of emotions” and “delivering divine messages” by prominent local media. He presents a unique sound and style that combine indie rock, jazz, classical, pop, and folk music on the foundation of his personal experiences as a Korean-American and immigrant. Kye has majored in music and culture at Yale University and studied in musical education as a full-time higher educator. After the release of his EP in 2015, he collaborated with the world famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma at a performance for Senator Bernie Sanders, attracting even more attention, and the last performance of this talented Korean American, Kye, contributed greatly to the success of SORI's showcase this year.

 

About this second showcase in 2018 that followed the first in 2017, Shawn Choi, the representative of SORI mentioned, 'Hundreds of showcases are held every day in New York City. On this battlefield-like performance marketplace APAP Conference, SORI offers the only Korean music showcase. We are inviting performance planners who visit New York to participate in the APAP Conference from all over the US and abroad and making them view the performances of Korean musicians to set a foundation for the advancement of Korean musicians into the US and overseas music markets.'

 

In fact, SsingSsing, one of the bands who participated in the showcase in January 2017, has toured the US three times since the concert. They also became the first Korean band to appear in NPR's representative show “Tiny Desk Concert.” Beyond idol band music, drama, and pop music, Hallyu is rising quietly, but strongly even in the indie music scene. It is expected that the influence of Korean artists and the Korean culture and arts market will expand in the US, including New York, in the year 2018. The performances to be held in the first half of the year are already attracting the attention of local musical experts with the lineups of highly talented artists.

 

* Kang Gi-hyang (Correspondent of  KOFICE in New York)