Tag Archives: South Korea

Artist Profiles: Lim Ji Hye

Lim Ji Hye

A key artist of the world music group Duobud, Lim Ji Hye presents rhythmically delicate yet energetic performances on the gayageum, the Korean zither.

Through works such as Duobud’s signature repertory Over the Stars (별빗위로) and Boundary (경계), she has been experimenting with never-before-seen ways of playing the gayageum.

With Korean traditional rhythms as the foundation, she is making music that presents the diverse aspects of her instrument.


Artist Profiles: Lee Hye Joong

Specializing in Korean double-reed wind instruments including piri, taepyeongso, and jangsaenap, Lee Hye Joong is a promising new performer in the Korean traditional performance arts, orchestral music, and folk music scenes. She endeavors to develop her own performance style through her diverse experiences.

Through the interplay of percussion and wind instruments, she aspires to create yet another approach and to expand her presence in the world music scene.


Artist Profiles: Hyun Seunghun

Hyun Seunghun is a Korean traditional Percussionist, leader of the Hyun Seunghun Korean Traditional Performance Arts Company, North Jeolla Province Intangible Cultural Asset No. 7-2 Jeongeup Nongak Ambassador, and Samulnori Hanullim Senior Member.

His major works include True Colors of Korean Traditional Performance Arts (연희본색), Homage to Samulnori, Samul the Special, and LIGHT:BEAT (빛:BEAT). Selected every year as essential arts enterprises, his works have been recognized for their artistic value several times.

He continues to improve his craft while reinterpreting Korea’s traditional performance arts in a modern way.


Artist Profiles: Kim So Ra

Kim So Ra

A multi-award winning Korean percussionist, composer, and representative of Honam Province Jeongeup folk music, Kim So Ra is one of the most skilled and well-known janggu (Korean double-headed drum) players in Korea.

Kim is known for her genre-defying performances combining Korean traditional sounds with creative, captivating and modern interpretations.

An apprentice of Human Cultural Asset Master Yu Jihwa, Kim has received eight first-place awards from major national music competitions since 2005, including National Nongak Master Competition, Gyeonggi Nongak National Competition, National Women’s Korean Traditional Music Festival, JeonJu International Sori Festival, and others. These awards demonstrate her prevalent recognition as one of the top Janggu players in Korea.

Kim has performed at the World Music Expo WOMEX 2018 and Mundial Montreal 2018 as official showcase artist, and Kim’s album, A Sign of Rain, was nominated as the Best Jazz and Crossover album at the Korean Music Awards 2019.


Artist Profiles: Kim So Ra

Kim So Ra

Korean percussionist Kim So Ra has played the hourglass-shaped, two-headed drum known as janggu since she was a child. In high school she became a leading prize-winner at folk festivals and cultural competitions, going on to eventually to achieve her Master of Korean Music degree in 2012. Since then she has been taking groundbreaking steps to modernize perceptions within traditional Korean music.

Her 2013 visit to Chicago to collaborate with musicians of diverse backgrounds was fundamental. She named the project ‘The Modernization and Globalization of the Janggu’, returning the following year for the Janggu Rhythm Connection project.

In Korea, she formed the first all-female traditional arts performance group, Norikkot, as well as the electronic/ traditional fusion band, nuMori. In her performances, she explores new rhythmic concepts with traditional Korean instruments.

Kim was selected as the only Korean solo percussionist to perform at the official showcase of the World Music Expo, WOMEX 2018, and the 2018 Mundial Montreal World Music Summit.


Artist Profiles: Dulsori


The fundamental basis of Dulsori’s creative work is through various Korean percussion instruments. Since the beginning of Dulsori this group has tried many different kinds of performances based on the traditional rhythms of Korea. As a result, Dulsori has developed unique performances and interactive programs which encourage audience members to take part in the performances.

Dulsori believes in creating a sense of community and understands the existence and importance of communal values in every culture. Dulsori’s performances and interactive programs attempt to build harmony and unity between the audience members and performers, thereby forming a sense of harmony.

Dulsori (literally wild beat) was formed in 1984 and primarily aims to rekindle the spirit of ancient festival sharing the inner-energy through the art form that can enrich our life. “Festival is the place where everyone’s energy mingles together creating a sense of pleasure in a collective manner. Dulsori can never reach this dream alone and that’s why we always invite the audience to join the show.

The fundamental basis of our creative work is a Korean percussion play. Since the beginning of Dulsori, we have tried many different kinds of performances based on the traditional rhythm of Korea. As a result, we have developed unique performances and interactive programs. We believe that creating a sense of community is important in any cultures.




Our performances and interactive programs attempt to build harmony and unity of community among the audience members and performers.

Our energetic and passionate team has staged hundreds of international performances and toured Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Israel, Africa and across Europe. We also conduct workshops, classes and camps on Korean traditional arts and are open to all age groups.”

Ha, Taekhu – percussion
Lee, Kyuhyun – percussion
Jun, Hyunsook – Percussion
Lee, Eunbi – vocals, pansori singer
Oh, Hyuna – geomungo
Yang, Jeongyoon – gayageum
Shin, Myeongook – daegeum


Eternal Memory (Dulsori, 2007)
Korean Drums (Arc Music, 2012)


Artist Profiles: Easternox


Easternox is a Korean world music band, quite different from ordinary Korean music bands that only play chamber music and existing arrangements. Inspired by a wide spectrum of traditional rhythms, the band’s music has been drawing great attention from the fusion and traditional Korean music scene.

By leading the musical evolution of Korea’s traditional music and fusing modern and traditional instruments together, Easternox has opened the door to brand new Korea-born world music and continues to produce energetic performances that people from all around the world can listen to and identify with.

The essence of the traditional Korean arts is recreated for the 21st century. Easternox’s musicians believe that by far the most appealing and creative element of the Korean music are Korean rhythms. The group composes new pieces based on various rhythms of Korean traditional music, such as 6-Chae, 7-Chae, 5-Chae. Taryeong, Hwacheong, Ujilgut, Jwajilgut, etc

The name Easternox is a shortening of Eastern and Equinox symbolizing the oriental nature of our music together with the two days each year when day and night are of equal length. Though balancing the new and the old. east and west, the name of our group nonetheless indicates that our roots are firmly grounded in Korea.

Easternox musicians: Mina Park on daegeum (Korean wind instrument); Noo Ry Lee on keyboards; Young Jin Choi on Korean percussion; and Suk Jin Lee on Korean percussion, composition and drums.


Artist Profiles: Noreum Machi

Noreum Machi at Rainforest World Music Festival 2009 in Sarawak – Photo © Angel Romero


Noreum Machi was founded in 1993 and is currently the most widely recognized Korean traditional music group in South Korea. Noreummachi’s performances are based on their original rhythms and sounds of Korea’s Jindo region. The musicians deliver their traditional sounds, movements and rhythms by putting them together as a harmony or by emphasizing each element apart. “Our slogan is new wave Korean music group,” says group leader Kim Juhong.

Noreum Machi performs the virtuosic percussion music known as samulnori. First introduced to the West in the late 1970s by the legendary ensemble Samul-Nori, this vibrant music had a huge effect in galvanizing the student movement in Korea and reengaging Koreans with their traditions.

Samulnori is a modernized staged adaptation of p’ungmul nori, a ritualistic celebratory event with origins in shamanism and animism performed by rice farmers and professional musicians at harvest festivals. Noreum Machi’s colorful program includes spectacular percussion dialogues, shamanic chants, and acrobatic dances.

Noreum Machi essentially continues and expands the journey that Samul Nori began. The group was founded in 1994 by Kim Juhong, a graduate of the Korean Traditional University who studied singing, shaman rhythms, and pansori (traditional storytelling/vocal music) with masters of these various genres, including Kim Duk Soo, one of the original members of Samul-Nori.


Noreum Machi at Rainforest World Music Festival 2009 in Sarawak – Photo © Angel Romero


While steeped in the tradition of p’ungmul nori and its derivative samulnori, Noreum Machi has reached out to embrace outside elements and improvisation is a key element of their performance. “The name Noreum Machi comes from the Korean minstrels,” adds Kim Juhong. “In competition among minstrels Noreum Machi referred to the minstrel so skilled that no one could match. In other words, the best.”

Noreum Machi uses the janggo drum, the buk barrel drum, the kkwaenggwari gong, and the jing gong.


Two World Music Festivals Taking Place in China and South Korea

Two world music festivals, featuring over 80 international performances are taking place in China and South Korea. Chevrolet 2016 World Music Shanghai Festival started on September 24 and will run until October 9 in Shanghai, Foshan, Wuhan, and Chongqing.

The Jeju World Music Oreum Festival will take place October 7-10 in Jeju Island, South Korea.

The festivals are a partnership between World Culture Open and World Music Shanghai. The concerts are free and open to the public as part of the joint initiative.

We are happy to partner with World Music Shanghai – pioneering advocates of world music in China – to transcend borders with world music throughout East Asia,” said Kseniya Tsoy, Director of Network Relations at World Culture Open. “We hope the festivals will allow more and more people to connect with themselves and with one another, as music truly is humanity’s common language, connecting us beyond borders and spoken languages. Aesthetically beautiful and socially interactive, music is one of the most engaging and accessible ways to connect to our shared humanity, and such an amazing way to learn about new cultures.”

Some of the performers at the Jeju World Music Oreum Festival include MoT (South Korea), Arifa (Netherlands), Trio Kazanchis (Switzerland), Shanren (China), Dagadana (Poland), Lass (Poland), Teleferik (France), Adam Sullivan & The Trees (USA) and Ooberfuse (UK).

Headline photo: Tuvan ensemble Alash, one of the performers at Chevrolet 2016 World Music Shanghai Festival