Building a New Traditional Sound
Combining musical carpentry, performance art and some clever world music/fusion arrangements,
Geomungo-Factory embodies the spirit of adventure and innovation found in many of today’s young Kugak performers. The Geomungo is a six-string zither, played with a bamboo dowel called a suldae. Once thought to be a local adaptation of the Chinese Guqin, recent archeological evidence, have conclusively established the Geomungo's Korean pedigree as far back as the 4th century. As their name suggests, Geomungo-Factory brings this venerable instrument into the 21st century, updating and modifying its structure to create an entire universe of exciting new musical possibilities. Among the Factory's latest "creations" are the Xylophone Geomungo (played with felted mallets), the Electric Geomungo, a Cello Geomungo (played with a bow, of course) and a streamlined Mini-Geomungo they call "Damhyeongeum," whose portable size enables the musicians to dance and move about the stage.
A performance by Geomungo-Factory will transport you back in time to a Joseon dynasty
pungnyu-bang, (a literati's private music salon) and then dazzle you with a thoroughly avant-garde multi-media theatrical presentation. Their music both draws on the centuries-old traditions of Korea’s most noble instrument and boldly translates those traditions into a contemporary, global language. Geomungo-Factory has toured South America, and wowed the attendees at the Performing Arts Market in Seoul - where their fresh take on Korean traditional music delighted audiences everywhere they performed.
"Just as jazz draws from the traditions of the past while searching for new territories to explore, Geomungo-Factory draws heavily from the heritage of Korean traditional music while creating a very personal sound which has an unmistakable energy combined with a meditative, spiritual soul."
- Ian Patterson, All About Jazz