K-MUSIC Festival 2015

After the very successful London Korean Festival, the K-Music Festival is back for all those craving more Korean music! The last K-Music festival by SERIOUS was in 2013 which featured The Uhuhboo Project, Geomungo Factory and a packed out night at London’s iconic Scala with Yi Sung-yol and Kiha & the Faces. The Festival also had a very grand opening starring the National Orchestra of Korea and ended with a beautiful night of Pansori at Cadogan Hall with world famous legend Ahn Sook-sun. This year we’re being treated to a whole month of music performances from a very exciting and varied programme!


1 – 30 September 2015Various London Venues

Tickets – Links as below.

*SPECIAL TIME OUT OFFER – Time out are currently offering discounted tickets to all shows! Offer ends 23 August, midnight! TIME OUT OFFER LINK

SU:M – with special guest Arthur Jeffes from Penguin Cafe

Tuesday 1 September, 7.45pm LONDON Purcell Room – tickets

SUM Korea Music gayageum saenghwangLondon

The start of the festival features two very iconic traditional Korea instruments, the gayageum and the very interesting saenghwang. They have been described as “an astonishing experience live“, so this is one opportunity not to be missed!

SU:M‘s name (pronounced “soom”) translates as “breath” and it expresses the physical connection of these two women to the music they create – sometimes a soft sigh, sometimes a cry, sometimes a silent holding of breath. Jungmin Seo plays the gayageum (a massive 25-string zither) and Jiha Park plays wind instruments including the saenghwang (imagine the subtlest mouth organ, with 17 bamboo pipes) – SERIOUS


Friday 4 September, 8pm LONDON Forge – tickets
Saturday 5 September, 8pm LONDON Forge – tickets

The Barberettes London

This is the performance we are most excited about. We have had all kinds of Korean music in London from Kpop and indie to Pansori and a whole national orchestra, but the Barberettes bring something totally different and retro to the festival. Just visually you can tell they’re all about the cool, fun and quirky and make sure you check out the video below for a very cool cover of the Beach Boys.

The Barberettes are a spectacular vocal harmony trio, a timeslip girl group who turn classics of the 50s and 60s inside out as well as creating their own theatrical music. Singing doo-wop in Korean and English, they only made their first album last year (in a retro homage to their inspirations, they called it The Barberettes Vol 1) but this year they’ve already stormed SXSW and Midem. These are their first UK shows, and they have chosen the spectacular setting of The Forge in Camden, a great cabaret space with a clutch of architectural awards and a 20ft-high “living wall” of plants – SERIOUS


Friday 11 September, 7pm LONDON Scala – ticketsSupport acts at 7.30, No Brain play at 8.30pm

No Brain London korean rock

Back at the London Scala, we see the K-Music festival bring over some more Korean rock. Guckkasten gained many new fans at the London Korean Festival showing that London is truly the city of rock; it’s a genre of music where even if you cannot understand the lyrics, everyone appreciates an epic rock scream. No Brain is all about the punk rock and have been around for the last 15 years and will no doubt rock out the Scala!

In England, we know a bit about Korean art music and hold some preconceptions about K-Pop – but we don’t know much about Korean rock music, and that’s where Seoul’s finest, No Brain, have built a huge following, playing over three thousand gigs across Korea in the last 15 years. Powered by raw vocals (Bull is the lead singer), razor guitars (Vovo plays guitar), sharp suits (Bogle plays bass) and a drummer called Dolly, they’ve won lots of Korean Music Awards, but never played London before. They’re expecting a young Korean audience so they’re playing an early show – support hits at 7.30, they play 8.30pm – SERIOUS


Wednesday 16 September, 8pm LONDON Rich Mix – tickets

Korea is a country that really values it’s heritage, but it’s also a country that is great at modernising itself. Jambinai uses traditional Korean instruments to create something new, using the mystical and strong sounds of instruments such as the geomungo and haegum, bringing the traditional to the 21st Century.

Jambinai are the next thrilling instalment in the tale of new Korean music.  They sculpt sound in a way that’s drawn comparisons to Mogwai, Explosions In The Sky and the crystalline power of Sigur Ros – but they draw deep on Korean traditions. It’s not just a stage full of amazing instruments – Korean fiddles, massive zithers blended with glorious lyrical guitars – but also a conscious sense of using the tradition to create something thrillingly new. You can see them this Sunday at 6pm at WOMAD, and then they’ll play their first London show in September — catch them as Jambinai step out onto a world stage – SERIOUS


Sunday 20 September, 8pm LONDON Kings Place (Hall Two) – tickets

Noreum Machi has been called most widely recognized Korean traditional music group in South Korea. They perform Samul Noris which is a type of ritualistic celebratory event so expect an audio and visually stunning performance!

There’s a theatrical strand to a lot of Korean music and, for more than 20 years, Noreum Machi have been creating a thrilling spectacle from virtuosic percussion, shamanic vocals and acrobatic dance. Powered by gongs, Samul Nori drums and wind instruments like the piri (think of an oboe, but mellower), they work within the framework of Korean traditional performance, with a commitment to communicate their music to audiences worldwide – SERIOUS


Wednesday 23 September, 7.30pm LONDON Cadogan Hall – tickets

It wouldn’t be a K-Music festival without Pansori. Last time we got world-famous Ahn Sook-sun, this year we have a whole collaborative performing. Pansori can be an acquired taste but this performance sees a very special and refreshing element, break-dancing!

The Pansori Night will bring together six talented performers for an evening of music, dance and song with a contemporary twist. Pansori is a form of vocal story-telling that reaches back centuries — the stories sung are often comic, with a Chaucerian comedy to them, but they are also more than just bawdiness, and can be romantic, sad and emotional to boot. Rising Pansori talent Sang-il Nam will be joined by Aeri Park, one of Korea’s leading female pansori performers. Aeri Park will also perform with ‘Poppin’ Hyunjoon, who takes breakdance moves and blends them with traditional rhythms. Our three stars will also be joined by Bae Reon, playing the ajaeng – a seven-stringed instrument, percussionist Kye-youl Jun accompanying the pansori with the janggu (Korean drum) and traditional dancer Ji-sun Choi -SERIOUS


Wednesday 30 September, 7.30pm LONDON Sadler’s Wells – tickets

The K-Music festival will end with an atmospheric night of traditional Korean music by the Korean National Gugak Centre. Featuring many of the iconic Korean instruments such as the Gromungo, dageum and haegeum as well as many Korean drums, the 2015 K-Music Festival will no doubt go out with a rhythmic and heavy bang!

The Korean National Gugak Centre is one of the great arts companies of Korea, and this performance concentrates on Sanjo – that’s a style of instrumental music accompanied by a drum and sometimes by dancers, starting slowly and gathering speed, with a structure that allows for virtuosic improvisation. This evening shows off some of the great traditional instruments of Korean traditional music such as the geomungo (large zither), daegeum (transverse flute) and haegeum (Korean fiddle). This is the last date on the group’s European tour, and provides a fitting conclusion to the K-Music Festival – SERIOUS

Make sure you check out the K-Music Festival trailer for a taste of all shows!

Not to your taste? Don’t worry there are lots more to look forward to, London seems to be on a high of Korean music at the moment. If you’re looking for something more Kpop, make sure you check out TOPP DOGG’s upcoming showcase on 4th September (more info here) or why not some K-Hip Hop. For the first time ever, UK will see Korea’s young rebel hip hop artists Okasian and B-free of Hi-Lite Records performing at trendy Shoreditch on 17 November (more info here).


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