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Experimental music group Gongmyoung to embark on voyage 'With Sea'

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : July 12, 2023 - 20:00

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South Korean experimental music group Gongmyoung (Seoul Donhwamun Traditional Theater) South Korean experimental music group Gongmyoung (Seoul Donhwamun Traditional Theater)

South Korean experimental music group Gongmyoung is set to perform at the Seoul Donhwamun Traditional Theater on Friday and Saturday.

Known for experimenting with sounds from both Western and traditional Korean wind and percussion instruments, Gongmyoung has been an in-house artist at the traditional Korean music performance venue in Jongno-gu since 2022.

The upcoming performance titled “With Sea” will take the audience on a musical voyage to the sea. The band has selected 10 songs they created while traveling around Korea's islands and seasides.

The title song, “With Sea,” was inspired by an incident that occurred in 1995 near Sorido, Yeosu in South Jeolla Province. The 140,000-ton Sea Prince boat collided with a reef and sank on July 23, 1995, resulting in the release of approximately 5,000 metric tons of bunker fuel and crude oil.

Additionally, the band will perform compositions they created during their exploration of islands and seas, such as "Wave's Memory," “Sorido” and "Deep Sea."

“(The songs) reflect the colors of Gongmyung, who continue to engage in creative activities inspired by nature,” said an official from Seoul Donhwamun Traditional Theater.

Electronic janggu, one of the instruments unique to Gongmyung, is used in the performance of "Sorido" and "Deep Sea." The electronic drum incorporates sampled sounds from traditional Korean instruments and is played in a traditional manner. As a result, a blend of analog and digital sounds can be heard through the speakers, said the official.

Tickets, priced at 20,000 won, can be reserved through Interpark Ticket and the Seoul Donhwamun Gukakdang website.

Gongmyoung, which translates to "resonance" in Korean, has been introducing a new genre of Korean music since its debut in 1997. The four-member band blends traditional melodies with innovative sounds through playing the guitar, piri, daegeum, haegeum, taepyeongso and more. They also have a number of new instruments including a bamboo percussion instrument named "gongmyoung.”

The group is also scheduled to perform at an open-air event, “Let’s Play in the Yard,” in September, and a concert in November.

Poster for Poster for "With Sea" (Seoul Donhwamun Traditional Theater)