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Sumi Jo
Universal Music

Marking the 25th anniversary of her international debut, soprano Sumi Jo has released “Libera,” an album which encompasses musical genres from opera arias to musical numbers. In an interview, Jo said the title, meaning “free” in Italian, represents her 25 years of free spirit, expressing all kinds of music she wanted to express. Among the 13 tracks, Jo picked three as her favorites -- “Hijo De La Luna” by Jose Maria Cano, “Songs My Mother Taught Me from ‘Gypsy Melodies’ Op. 55” by Dvorak and “Song for Reunification” by Ahn Byeong-won and Kim Texu. The recording was done with Prague Philharmonia, conductor Ondrej Lenard, violinist Kim Su-yoen, tenor Jo Jung-ki and baritone Han Myung-won.


Milos Karadaglic
Universal Music

Young guitar virtuoso Milos Karadaglic has released his debut album “Mediterraneo.” In the CD leaflet, the 28-year-old says, “The music on this recording reflects my character. It tells the listener who I am.” Born in Montenegro and boldly moving to London, he fell in love with the guitar when he was 8. Most of the tracks in the album were originally written for the piano. The pieces include Isaac Albeniz “Asturias,” Francisco Tarrega’s “Lagrima” and Mikis Theodorakis’ “Epitaphios.” Italian guitarist-composer Carlo Domeniconi’s “Koyunbada” aptly reflects Karadaglic’s first encounter with the song when he had just arrived in London. A bonus DVD is also included with the CD.


Yi Sung-yol
“Why We Fail”
Fluxus Music

After releasing a solo album “This Day, This Moment, This Time Around” in 2003 and sophomore effort “In Exchange” in 2007, it took singer-songwriter Yi Sung-yol four years to release his third, “Why We Fail,” because he was busy producing or composing soundtracks for Korean movies such as “Duelist” and dramas like “Que Sera Sera,” “My Lovely Sam Soon” and “The Secret of Keu Keu Island.” Yi was inspired by a Japanese poem of Kobayashi Issa to write the title track, “Doraoji AnaX (Not Coming Back).” In the poem, a person is watching a butterfly sitting on a petal and taking off to fly off somewhere. The flight signifies the meaninglessness of life -- there is no more to do with this world, Yi said. The song begins with lonely acoustic guitar sounds, and the sad but beautiful voice of the singer. It later develops with organs, drums, clarinet and finally with symphonic sounds. The album also includes a hidden track, No. 14, which is an epic-length (10 minutes) and surreal-sounding number with English lyrics.