Korean folk songs meet jazz for a unique blend of music and comedy.
Originally created for the National Theatre of Korea, Korean Men takes a hilarious look at male and female roles today, through the use of Korean folk music and jazz.
Led by Lee Heemoon, an extraordinary ‘sorikkun’ (Korean folk singer) who earns acclaim as a groundbreaking iconic artist with each performance, seven Korean Men create today’s sarangbang (salon to receive guests in traditional houses) combining Gyeonggi minyo (folk songs from central province around Seoul) and jazz performed by Korea’s top jazz group Prelude, accompanied by an electrifying minyo duo Nom Nom.
Lee’s performances attempt a hybrid of genres, taking the vast repertoire of Gyeonggi minyo as motif. He brings traditional Korean vocal music, which has been sidelined in the Korean art world, to the core and creates a distinctive sound that suggests to the audience a new way of appreciating vocal music.
The Korean Men is a perfect musical harmony of East and West that included a reinterpretation of 9 kinds of minyo, each assigned with a visual idea, unique storytelling and performance. By rearranging the most famous minyo, ‘Jabga,’ with jazz vocabularies, the company is discovering a musical apparatus that clearly portrays the sensibilities of Jabga. The bluesy arrangement of the mournful song, ‘A Widow’s Prayer,’ maximizes a feeling of sadness and ‘Cloudy Days in June and July’ about a young servant is arranged in a swing style, making the character come alive as it humorously satirizes the times. Showing both creative energy and virtuosity, the company was acclaimed as ‘the best possible collaboration’ expressing a ‘new iconic musical language integrating the essential sentiments and musicality of minyo and jazz.’
Lee Heemoon (Director/lead vocal)
Choi Jinbae (Music Director/bass)
Ko Heean (piano)
Richard Rho (tenor saxophone)
Han Woongwon (drums)
Shin Seungtae (chorus/A comedy act)
Jo Wonseok (chorus/A comedy act)