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“Kang’s voice is astonishingly good…The blend with Mowat’s clear-toned trumpet gave the whole thing something of the air of the great Azimuth” Mainly Jazz In Bristol

“BEJE tap a rich vein of global sources and infuse it with an inspired freshness” Philip Clouts Bridport Arts Centre

Wednesday January 23rd 8pm £10 Fringe Jazz Bristol 32 Princess Victoria Street BS8 4BZ

Friday  January 25th 7pm £8 seated Peggy’s Skylight Nottingham 3 George Street NG1 3BH

Saturday January 26th 7.30pm £12/10/7 Taunton CIC Memorial Hall, Paul Street, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 3PF

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STORY OF THE TOUR During the tour there will be a recording session of the pieces performed and you are invited to register an interest in the forthcoming album by leaving a comment here or on the BEJE face book site.

Up and coming young Korean jazz stars pianist-singer Yunmi Kang and guitarist Sangyeon Park had heard of Bristol’s jazz repute, checked it out last summer and met trumpeter David Mowat of BEJE. It was jazz love at first hearing, given their predilections for the lyrical and cool.

Together they decided to explore further what Korean-European jazz might sound like and this tour, backed by Arts Council England, is their first experiment in creating it, using their own introspective compositions and the common language of African-American jazz.

Yunmi Kang studied piano in Germany, obtained a Jazz vocal Masters at Amsterdam Conservatory Netherlands and won 2nd place at the 2011 Netherlands Jazz Vocalists competition. She’s performed at the National Museum of Korea, Taehwa River International Jazz Festival, Yongin Jazz Festival and is Professor of music in Chugye Conservatory Seoul.

Sangyeon Park studied at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague in The Netherlands and has appeared at numerous jazz concert and festivals in Korea and outside, notably Thailand lnternational Jazz Conference. Park is now teaching in Jung-Bu University.

What is distinctively Korean about this ‘Korean jazz’? Whilst Yunmi and Sangyeon are highly skilled and trained modern jazz performers there is a sort of ‘Korean blues’ and stillness in their playing. Asked about that Yunmi offers this insight:

“It’s true we got a lot of influences from America. Many musicians in Seoul studied in America or Europe. But Jazz is not limited to American standards. As musicians we want to write our own songs and tell own story. And Jazz is just the way how to express that, like a language. So if we tell our own story, of course we should think about our route. Where we are from, what kind of history we had.

Korea was a very strong Buddhist and Confucian country before the 20th century. These outlooks are about stillness and calm. And we were colonized by Japan for 36years. After the Korean war, we were divided. We had many sad stories but the vibes of society are such it was not easy to express this sadness openly. [Free speech was restricted] because of the army dictators (1970 to 1980) and society had interest only in fast economic growth. Everything has happened to us over the last 100 years.

For these reasons Korean people have a deep sadness inside which we call a “Hahn” translated as deep sorrow, manifested in a calm and still way. So our music based on these cultures. It makes our music different from Americans jazz music.”