Classy take on Latin American folk

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jan 29, 2015 - 21:08
  • Updated : Feb 4, 2015 - 09:52

Up-and-coming violinist Zia Hyunsu Shin ventures into a new terrain, playing Latin American folk songs on a new album.

“Canto Antigo,” released Tuesday by Universal Music, is a collection of 16 folk pieces ― mostly from Latin America ― played on a rare combination of instruments ― one violin and two classical guitars.

“At first, I was a little worried about the combination, but it turned out very nicely. The sounds (of violin and guitar) go really well together, adding a warm feel to the music,” Shin said during a showcase of the album held in Seoul on Wednesday.

“The songs are from countries like Brazil and Spain, but I felt in them something fundamentally similar to Arirang (Korea’s most representative folk song),” she added. 
Violinist Zia Hyunsu Shin performs during a media showcase held in Seoul on Wednesday for her recently released album “Canto Antigo” in which she collaborated with a veteran guitar duo — Lee Song-ou and Oliver Fartach-Naini. (Yonhap)

The album was first conceived by Olivier Fartach-Naini, a German guitarist living in Australia with an international reputation for innovative collaborative projects across diverse musical genres.

Mostly known here for his duo performance with Korean classical guitarist Lee Song-ou, he also collaborated with the famed Korean-American violist Richard Yongjae O’Neil on the 2008 album “Winter Journey.”

“Canto Antigo” is the result of nearly six years of planning and trying different arrangements and instrument combinations, said Fartach-Naini.

For Shin, who is among the very few classical musicians in Korea to achieve sizable success with no overseas training experience, the project was part of her journey to expand her musical scope.

“(In my early 20s,) I poured myself into major international music competitions. Since (winning the third prize at) the Queen Elizabeth competition (in 2012), however, I focused more on finding my true colors,” the 28-year-old musician said.

“I don’t want to limit myself to certain genres of music. I believe it is a lifelong journey as an artist.”

Shin and the Fartach-Naini-Lee duo will perform at Seoul Arts Center on Feb. 14. The program includes some pieces from the album as well as “Oblivion” and “The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires” by Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla. Ticket costs 30,000 won to 70,000 won. For details, 1577-5266 or visit www.clubbalcony.com.

By Lee Sun-young (milaya@heraldcorp.com)