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10 Seconds: Hyelim Kim

1. Moon Dong-Ok & various - Sinawi (0'00" - 0'10")

"Sinawi is the genre of Korean traditional music that speaks most directly to me. It evolved from shamanistic music that is close to nature and pagan animalistic rituals, hence there is a strong element of improvisation in its performance.

The first cycle in this recording is played on the Korean drum, janggu, which immediately sets the tone and improvisatory format for the rest of the piece and for the ensemble. The drum part provides the backbone and barometer, allowing the other instruments to push as far as they are comfortable. This kind of dynamic is in fact the true ‘Korean groove’ and is the anchor and foundation that provides me with the gravity to envelop and embrace all the challenges I have faced in working on various projects."

2. Weather Report - A Remark You Made (0'14" - 0'24")

From Weather Report - Heavy Weather (1977)

"This piece has given me constant inspiration over the years.

In my music making I have strived to encompass various other disciplines and art forms. At times my music has transformed and informed physical movement, colours, human voices and various aspects of nature. When listening to Weather Report perform this iconic piece, to me each instrument is an individual’s voice, as if they are interacting in a theatrical play. This kind of musical conversation affects my playing of the daegeum flute, as it provides me with the platform to imagine I am part of this group of people conversing about love & life."

3. Caetano Veloso - Cucurrucucu Paloma (0'58" - 1'08")

From Caetano Veloso - Fina estampa ao vivo (1995)

“I first heard this piece as performed in Almodovar’s film ‘Hable con Ella’. Such beauty in it's simple melody and structure, it introduced me to the amazing music of Caetano Veloso and the even more fascinating world of Brazilian music."

4. Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah (3'22" - 3'32")

From Jeff Buckley - Grace (1994)

"This is a bit of a guilty pleasure. It is interesting that Buckley’s version has almost all but eclipsed Cohen’s original version. Irresistibly, I find the mixture of excitement and devastation in the voice and performance strangely life-affirming."

5. National Gugak Center Orchestra - Sujecheon (19'40" - 19'50")

From National Gugak Center Orchestra - Organized and filmed/National Gugak Center (2016)

"Sujecheon is traditional Korean court music, in the jeongak repertoire. It is usually played by an ensemble of wind instruments, including piri (reed instrument) and daegeum (bamboo flute) and percussion instruments. In this version, string instruments are added. The horizontal flow of the melodies from these traditional instruments provides a very different sensation to us. The microtonal modulation of each tone reminds me of the lifespan of sounds and its individuality. You can find the notion of being yourself and of being together at the same time in this Korean orchestration."

6. Jacqueline du Pré - Elgar Cello Concerto (2'22" - 2'32")

From Jacqueline du Pré & Daniel Barenboim - Elgar Cello Concerto (1967)

"This kind of deepest connection and commitment to the immediacy of the music that one isperforming, which du Pré so clearly embodied and demonstrated here, is what I constantly strive to achieve in my performance. It is a magic always aspired but seldom attained, requiring one to be entirely merged with your instrument hence reaching a Zen-like detachment from one’s own ‘self’.

Aside from that, having had the fortunate experience of being backed up as daegeum soloist by prestigious orchestras, there is something to be said about the sonic blanket that a full orchestra provides to a soloist. As can be seen in this live recording, the sound grounding provided by the orchestra allows du Pré to stretch herself to the maximum – such a liberating sensation to witness it."

7. Hwang Byunggi: The Silk Road (7'24" - 7'34")

From Kayagûm Masterpieces Vol. 2 - The Silk Road (2001)

"Hwang is one of the contemporary composers whom I admire a lot. Most of his compositions are for his own instrument, the gayageum (zither). Whole books have been written about how he approached writing contemporary Korean music. Eschewing any academic analysis, I simply love the way he is experimenting with sounds on the instruments, resulting in a piece that is theatrical and earthy."

8. Jessye Norman - Stormy Weather (0'36" - 0'46")

From Jessye Norman - My Life, My Song (2009)

"This Harold Arlen standard is probably not a piece most people would associate with the legendary operatic diva, but this unusual live recording amply shows that there are really only two types of music; good and bad. When a performer is able to fully let go and express straight from the heart, the performance need not necessarily fit into the rules and conventions of a particular genre, it can still hit home!"

9. BTS - Permission To Dance (3'42" - 3'52")

From BTS - Butter/Permission to Dance "12 (2021)

"There are many Korean boybands known globally, but there is no denying the reign of BTS in the K-pop world. Mainstream music can be said to have somewhat put traditional music in a precarious position. However, in the context of Korean music generally the popularity of K-pop has actually brought about a healthy recognition of tradition music and dance through BTS incorporating various aspects of K-culture into their performances. And from a purely musical perspective, I also like what BTS has done, which provides a unique influence to the younger generation and very effectively disseminates ‘Korea’ to the rest of the world."


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