Down at the V&A at the moment is an unmissable exhibition called ‘Hallyu! The Korean Wave’, which showcases the vibrant world of South Korean popular culture. Also running is London’s K-music festival, now in its ninth year, and a great opportunity to hear Korean artists who go beyond pop (or K-Pop) to experiment with jazz, metal, electronica and prog or post-rock, often with an interesting twist on traditional Korean music or performance of some kind.
At Rich Mix in Shoreditch on 13 October, multi-instrumentalist Lee II-Woo (or EERU) joins heavy rock band PAKK for a collaboration called Silent Excorcism. The band, known for their furious blend of grunge and psychedelia, will see II-Woo play instruments such as the taepyeongso (a small wind instrument a bit like a bugle) to enhance PAKK’s “raging anger and exorcise devils”. As leader of various ensembles, such as Gyeonggi Sinawi Orchestra, II-Woo has explored Sinawi, a traditional improvisational music that can accompany shamanism. He will be well served here.
Description-defying Dongyang Gozupa (translated as “eastern high frequency”) have to be heard to be believed. Wild forms of percussion combine with yanggeum (hammered dulcimer) and bass guitar to create intense and mesmerising post-rock, laced with the most beguiling melodies. They play at the Purcell Room on the Southbank on 2 November at 8pm and have three UK dates beyond London. Visit: www.serious.org.uk/DongyangGozupa.
Jazz drummer Sun-Mi Hong and her quintet is one to catch in an overlap with the London Jazz Festival, again at the Purcell Room on 17 November at 8pm. After moving to Amsterdam to study at the Conservatoire, Hong became well established on the Dutch jazz scene with an irresistible groove-based style that can bleed into traditional Korean music. She won an award for her 2021 album A Self-Strewn Portrait and a new set, Third Page: Resonance, is out in November.
At the intersection of jazz, drone and the traditional is the music of Park Jiha: her sound unfolds with a slow, immersive clarity that can induce in the listener a deep sense of reflection. Jiha plays the piri, which is a type of oboe, the saenghwang (like a mouth organ), a glockenspiel and the hammered dulcimer. See this singular musician on 24 November at the Stone Nest, Shaftesbury Avenue at 8pm.
For more information and to book tickets, visit: https://kccuk.org.uk/en/programmes/kmusicfestival2022/
Main image: Park Jiha ©Marcin T. Jozefiak