Saturday, December 2, 2023
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K-MUSIC FESTIVAL: The synergy of two cultures

From October 6 to November 17 2021, London is hosting the annual K-MUSIC FESTIVAL. For the occasion many Korean artists are announced to perform on stage, presenting a wide range of musical genres. K-Station TV had the chance to be invited to the concert of “KYUNGSO PARK – SOONA PARK – ANGHARAD JENKINS“, a wonderful meeting between two cultures: Korean and Welsh. 


PARK KYUNGSO is a gayageum master, a traditional Korean instrument made of 12 silk strings, similar to a harp. Starting her solo career in 2008, PARK KYUNGSO keeps innovating and composing both traditional Korean music and contemporary music.


Accompanying her on stage is PARK SOONA, who also plays gayageum. Having studied music in North Korea at the Pyongyang National University of Music and Dance, PARK SOONA stands out for her outstanding technique and speed.


PARK KYUNGSO has been invited several times to the K-MUSIC FESTIVAL in London, and this year she returns with PARK SOONA for a special collaboration with Welsh fiddle artist ANGHARAD JENKINS.
For the first part of the concert, ANGHARAD JENKINS, accompanied by PATRICK RIMES, presented the audience with her Welsh music compositions. From traditional music to softer songs carried by the voice of ANGHARAD, she showed the audience the extent of her inspiration. She confided about her inspiration for K-Station TV

In general what inspires me most is life experience. Going for walks in the fresh air, and surrounding myself with nature often proves to be a creatively productive time for me. I’m also interested in playing traditional Welsh music; it feels natural to do so, as it represents me and is a
musical marker of where I’m from in the world. I feel very lucky to be able to make connections through sharing my own traditional music with other cultures.


Following the Welsh music glimpse, the second part of the concert focused on Korean traditional music with the two gayageum musicians, PARK KYUNGSO and PARK SOONA. The two musicians transported the audience through the harmonious sounds of their compositions “Rubin’s Vase” (두 개의 그림자) or even “Eternity” (무상에서 영원으로).


The two Korean artists then presented their collaboration song with ANGHARAD JENKINS, “Hiraeth em Feition and Shingosan Taryeong” (Hiraeth em Feition & 신고산타령) a song with melancholic notes evoking the memory of returning home. Asking ANGHARAD, if she saw any similarities between Korean traditional music and Welsh traditional music for this collaboration, she replied:

Musically, one of the biggest similarities, is the importance of the harp to both our cultures. In Wales, we call the instrument the telyn, and in Korea it is a gayageum, but it is essentially a plucked string instrument. The telyn is played in an upright position, whilst the gayageum rests on the floor horizontally. The sonic textures of the plucked strings are familiar, but the harmonies are quite different. […] I love the ability the gayageum has to bend notes. This kind of extended techniques aren’t a feature of the telyn, so the gayageum, and Korean music in general hasdistinct exotic flavour to my Western ears.

The gayageum combined with the fiddle and voice of ANGHARAD JENKINS for “Hiraeth em Feition and Shingosan Taryeong“, perfectly succeeded in creating a nostalgic atmosphere, leaving the audience dreamy by the end of the concert.

The K-MUSIC FESTIVAL continues until November 17 to showcase outstanding artists. All the information below: 


Journalist: Julie,
Translator: Julie,
Photos: Ikin Yum photography

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