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Powerful female vocalists to take to Seoul stage

World musician Kidjo and jazz singer Nah Youn-sun bring their unique sound to Seoul


Those tired of Seoul’s brutally cold winter may want to check the upcoming concerts by two female vocalists, Angelique Kidjo from Africa and Nah Youn-sun from Korea, at the LG Arts Center in southern Seoul.

Their powerful and energetic voices, combined with experimental and fun music will melt and unlock the most frozen of hearts.

Angelique Kidjo, a Benninoise singer-songwriter from western Africa, will showcase her unique musical style, mixing up R&B, funk, jazz, American pop, European and even Latin American music.

She has become an iconic figure in the African continent, since her three albums “Oremi,” “Black Ivory Soul” and “Oyaya” were nominated for the Grammys in 1998, 2002 and 2004, respectively. In 2008, Kidjo’s “Djin Djin” won the Best Contemporary World Music Album. Last year, her latest album “Oyo” had Grammy nomination for the Best Contemporary Word Music Album.

Kidjo has been searching for the links of world music, mixing and matching a variety of musical styles and origins. Her repertoire includes collaborations with artists such as Mexican-American guitarist Carlos Santana, British singer Peter Gabriel, U.S. singer Alicia Keys, saxophonist and composer Branford Marsalis and Brazilian guitarist Gilberto Gil.

“I don’t want to beat drums to introduce Africa’s traditional music, nor do I want to sing American country songs,” the 50-year-old was quoted by the event organizer LG Arts Center as saying.

Kidjo’s Seoul concert will include songs from her latest album “Oyo” and some of her representative hits including “Africa,” “Agolo,” “Batonga” and “Tumba.” 
World music vocalist Angelique Kidjo   (LG Arts Center)
World music vocalist Angelique Kidjo   (LG Arts Center)

Irish rock band U2’s Bono, trumpet artist Roy Hargrove and jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves worked together for Kidjo’s 2010 album “Oyo.”

At the Seoul concert, her supercharged voice, strong energy and joyful dance will be accompanied by guitars, percussions and drums.

Kidjo’s concert will be held on March 13 at 6 p.m. and tickets range from 30,000 won to 70,000 won. For details, call (02) 2005-0114.

Jazz vocalist Nah Youn-sun, whose popularity in Europe means that this is a rare Korean performance, will return to the LG Arts Center for the first time in five years.

Nah will collaborate with guitarist Ulf Wakenius, bassist and cellist Lars Danielsson and accordionist Vincent Peirani.
Jazz vocalist Nah Youn-sun (LG Arts Center)
Jazz vocalist Nah Youn-sun (LG Arts Center)

Without any percussion or drums, Nah will create rhythms and beats only with guitars, bass, cello and accordion.

“Through this new kind of musical collaboration, I’m really excited to see what kind of sounds will come out,” Nah said.

“There will be a totally different world of music, which I currently can’t really imagine.”

Peirani’s accordion, in particular, will give Nah’s songs a completely new color, as the accordionist has a broad repertoire ranging from contemporary to classical and world music.

In January, Nah won the best jazz vocalist award at L’Academie du Jazz, the French Jazz Academy, for her latest album “Same Girl,” after topping the French Jazz Charts for four consecutive weeks for the first time as an Asian artist. She also garnered the CHOC award from Jazzman, a renowned jazz magazine in France.

In 2009, she received the French medal of Chevalier, equivalent to “knight” in Britain, for her contribution to active cultural exchanges between Korea and France. It was the first time that a Korean artist in popular music received the medal.

Nah will be performing on March 23 at 8 p.m. and tickets range from 30,000 won to 70,000 won. For details, call (02) 2005-0114.

Concerts of Kidjo and Nah are part of the LG Arts Center’s special concert series called “CoMPAS11,” or Contemporary Music & Performing Arts Season 2011, which runs throughout the year. The concert series include classical music, dance and even pansori ― traditional Korean narrative song. For details, visit www.lgart.com.

By Kim Yoon-mi (yoonmi@heraldcorp.com)
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