Black String
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Black String

Gapyeong, Seoul, South Korea | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Gapyeong, Seoul, South Korea
Established on Jan, 2014
Band World Jazz

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Black String (South Korea), Parkteatret

Written by Giulia Pratico, Switzerland

As an asiaphile (a person keen on Eastern culture, not a sleazy old man trolling China to chase tail) this gig was right up my alley, and I absolutely loved it. Heo Yoon Jeong wears a traditional hanbok, looking powerful and self-possessed. The audience holds their breath as instruments get tuned. If the band stops this necessary cacophony, a dropping pin would make a loud bang. The atmosphere is nothing short of mystical. Black String open with a traditional Korean music trot that progressively gallops into increasingly sensual tribal rhythms. Seven Beats, the first tune, would be the yin to the yang of an abruptly blood-splattered thriller scene. The music evolves so grippingly that I am compelled to jot down a corny animal kingdom metaphor. As the drums subside to give way to the gentler flute, I see the fluttering wings of a bird in flight. Against all odds the metaphor turns out to be fitting, as the second tune is introduced as Growing Wings. Growing Wings takes me for a stroll in Seoul. It’s an electric night. The music synthesizer walks arm in arm with me on the deserted pavements of a city I have never visited – but I can see the skyline so clearly: orderly, traditional, on the verge of exploding. Song To Heaven is the penultimate song. It introduces itself with languid ajeang accents and powerful male vocals. Heo Yoon Jeong explains that this is shamanic music, and should convey the cadences of a magic ritual. It does. The audience is entranced, and dares not breaking into applause. The gig closes with Masked Dance, the story of which goes untold but that evokes what must be a very dark Korean legend. Black String is a beautifully fitting name. It reflects this band’s stark pathos and their ability to drag you into an inescapable animal chase. - HJA.com


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Bio

World-music band, Black String, was founded in 2011 as part of government sponsored Korea-UK cultural exchange program titled "UK Connection" project. The band consists of Yoon-jeong Heo(Geomungo), Aram Lee(Daegum&Yanggeum) and Jean Oh(Jazz guitar).
The band made its debut at Jarasum International Jazz Festival(Korea) and London Jazz Festival(UK) in 2012 collaborating with UK artists; Tim Garland(Saxes), John Turville(Piano/Keys), Asaf Sirkis(Drums) and Gwilym Simcock(Piano).
Since then the band is expanding their musical horizon by teaming up with prominent Korean artists such as Min-su Kang (Janggu&Vocal), Dong-jin Shin(Drums&Percussion) and Bora Kim(Vocal).

Black string aims to seek a new sound that can internalize a variety of musical expression in traditional music, as well as harmonize with other expression in world music.
The new sound will be reinterpreted by artists who embrace traditional music as well as jazz, reflecting composed and improvised creations.
It especially focuses on improvisation as an important aspect of Korean traditional music and attempts to create a unique language through Asian intuition and musical idiom.
The music of Black String based on Korean musical traditions, will offer a fresh, new sound to audiences. And Black String will offer an experience that broadens the appreciation of the world music audience by presenting an ancient tradition within a modern setting.

Especially the leader of Black String, Yoon-jeong Heo is interested in expanding the possibilities of Geomungo and bringing together different genres ranging from Korean traditional music, contemporary music and improvisation as a master of Geomungo. Furthermore, she is a founder and a leader of world music project band Tori Ensemble which was selected at the 2010 PAMS Showcase and got invited to 2010 WOMEX(opening concert), 2011 WOMAD UK, 2012 WOMAD AU, and 2012 WOMAD NZ. Black String is another attempt after her Tori Ensemble.

  • 2015 Clandestino Festival(SE)
  • 2014 Jazz Korea Festival(DE)
  • 2014 Jarasum Int'l Jazz Festival(KR)
  • 2014 Bukchon Changwoo World Music Festival(KR)
  • 2013 Penang Island Jazz Festival(MY)
  • 2013 Oslo World Music Festival(NO)
  • 2012 London Jazz Festival(UK)
  • 2012 Jarasum Int'l Jazz Festival(KR)

Band Members