Camino de Sangjaru
- Henry Northmore
- 8 August 2019
This article is from 2019
Traditional Korean music with a modern twist
Traditional band Korean Gipsy Sangjaru set out on a musical pilgrimage of discovery, strapping their instruments to their backs and walking the 800km Way of Saint James trail from France to Santiago in Spain, along the way exploring the idea of where tradition meets modern innovation.
Bounding on stage in elaborate white fluffy headgear, bashing out a frenzied traditional Korean instrumental on gongs and drums, they then add swing and jazz elements before (electric and acoustic) guitar and bass are layered over janggu and gayageum (Korean drums and strings). Inspired by their mammoth trek, they mix eastern and western influences into new and intriguing sounds.
It sometimes drifts into weird, bizarre and slightly surreal territory, touching on prog rock but still underpinned by Korean folk – an interesting mix of old and new, offering a fresh take on traditional music. A perfect example is an early track about Alice in Wonderland's continual pursuit of the White Rabbit, accompanied by cute and quirky 8-bit graphics.
They are a continually engaging trio and even if their final message – that the journey can be as important as the destination – isn't exactly groundbreaking, their sense of adventure is infectious.
Assembly George Square Studios, until 26 Aug (not 12, 19), noon, £10–£12 (£9–£10).