(All information are obtained from the outlet given on the performance day)
1. Gayageum Quartet Yeoul
Yeoul (a group of 4 beautiful girls) creates a beautiful harmony of gayageum (12-stringed zither), the most popular string instrument that represents traditional Korean music.
All "Yeoul" members are graduates of Ehwa Womans Universtiy. The music created by the gayegeum quartet spans a variety of regions and genres. Their repertoires range from classics through jazz and the incorporate Western tunes and chords into their music. However, one can easily feel 'Korea' in their music. And that is in some part attributed to the uniqueness of the instrument itself, while in other aspects, that comes from the unique sensibility the quartet creates.
The group's name, "Yeoul," means "rapids" in Korean. THat is exactly what "Yeoul's" music represents. While their music may seem calm and peaceful on the surface, there is immense energy running deep inside it.
Hwang Byung-Ki, one of the most renowned gayageum players, was captivated by four young gayageum players. Recognizing their talent and potential, he suggested that they team up with each other, which they finally did, in 2003, when 'Yeoul' was established. The four gayageum prodigies, who had focused on their own world while attending the same middle, high, undergraduate and graduate school, finally combined their talents to present an entirely different kind of Korean traditional music - a crossover of Korean traditional music with contemporary appeal - under the name of 'Yeoul.'
The gayageum quartet has experimented with new sounds and genres, testing the potential and limist of the instrument. Their music is at the same time traditional and modern, static and dynamic, intellectual and emotional, and even provocative.
It is their success in creating inspiring transformations of Korean traditional music by incorporating a variety of music genres that has been enthralling audiences. They have presented a perfect blend of gugak 국악, or Korean traditional music, and contemporary pop music so that they provided an avenue through which gugak can appeal to audiences.
7th Train 08:30
Fly Me to the Moon
Stairway to Heaven
2. Group wHOOL
Ethnomusicologists say that traditionally Asia emphasizes melody, while Europe focuses on harmony, and Africa on rhythm. Yet the traditional music of Korea, a part of Asia, employs a variety of rhythms, unlike its neighbouring countries. People who have ever had a chance to listen or see to a Samulnori performance will certainly agree with this.
Meanwhile, wHOOL's music has its roots in Korea's traditional rhythms. But they neither limit themselves to percussion instruments, nor do they stick to the Korean traditional rhythms. Rather, they have tried to weave the traditional rhythms into the feel of contemporary pop music.
One of the hotspots for young and hip "Seoulites" is the vicinity of Hongik University. And here, you can see "wHOOL's" performances almost every day. Based on traditional Korean instruments or rhythm, "wHOOL" has invited many youngsters to join in creating music that is really "open" to audiences.
The group's name is "wHOOL" has various meanings in Korean. In English, its sound is similar to "whole," while for Koreans, "wHOOL" sounds like an adverb "hul-" or "hul hul"-, which has the connotation of completely getting rid of , or forgetting about, everything that bothers you.
wHOOL is a team of six individual members that create and recompose traditional Korean music that is enjoyable to people of all ages living in this modern era. They use the changgu, small gong, pipe, taepyeongso and other traditional isntruments along with handsonics, synthesizers and other modern digital musical instruments.
After forming in 2003 wHOOL has sold albums in Germany where they are based out of, and has performed by invitation in France, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and San Fransisco confident in representing Korean music through their music. wHOOL has designed their own instruments, developed a super changgu, composed and produced music with the help of Seoul National University professor Lee Don-weung.
At present they are performing a Koreans' Culture Party at the "Pink Blossom Party" monthly at the Blossom Land in the vicinity of Hongik University.
The videos of wHOOL which I recorded that night couldn't be used because its extreme loudness! So sorry.