Geomungo Factory: Metamorphosis

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COMPOSERS: Geomungo Factory
LABELS: Synnara
ALBUM TITLE: Geomungo Factory: Metamorphosis
WORKS: Metamorphosis
PERFORMER: Geomungo Factory


Geomungo (‘G’mungo’) factory, a three-women and one-man South Korean band, thrilled London’s Cadogan Hall at this year’s K-Music festival. Named after the ancient Korean zither made with Pawlonia wood and six silk strings, Geomungo have revitalised and used it as a modern instrument. As you can hear in Metamorphosis (available iTunes), there’s quite a swagger to their fierce plucking and bowing, often suggesting the dynamics and energy of Western rock. They toy with tango and do a delightfully potty version of ‘Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy’, featuring their own new instrument – a ‘xylophone geomungo’. Other novel sounds come from the more commonly encountered 21-stringed gayageum, the hammered yanggeum and the damhyeongeum, a mini geomungo which they can play as they walk around the stage, contrary to the traditional practice of playing while seated only. And there’s an electric geomungo, as well as the theremin-like wail of a cello geomungo. Oh, and they sing as well.


Jon Lusk