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[Herald Review] Jazz vocalist Woong San and musicians share message for environment

Jazz vocalists and musicians including Woong San (ninth from left) pose for photos after the Seoul Green Art Festival on Wednesday. (Korea Jazz Association)
Jazz vocalists and musicians including Woong San (ninth from left) pose for photos after the Seoul Green Art Festival on Wednesday. (Korea Jazz Association)

A jazz concert calling for action to save the environment took place on Nodeul Island, in Yongsan, central Seoul, Wednesday evening.

Eleven jazz vocalists teamed up for the Seoul Green Art Festival, which is part of the Green Jazz Movement, led by Woong San. As a major jazz vocalist in the local and international scene for decades, the artist also serves as chair of the Korea Jazz Association.

Opening the performance at Live House, Woong San said, “The project started when I thought ‘Even me, even us, even like this’ I could do something for the environment."

“I thought about how jazz musicians could take action,” she said. “And since we are musicians, I think the best way is to write our own songs and lyrics and talk with the audience.”

Jazz vocalist Cho Jung-hee kicked off the concert with her warm voice singing “All or Nothing at All.”

“Jazz musicians gathered today to sing and talk about our environment,” said Cho. “I guess I could bring my own tumbler or container instead of using a disposable cup or plastic. I think I’ll start like this.”

She added that she hopes to see the clear blue sky again -- something she loved when she was younger -- before singing John Lennon’s iconic “Imagine."

Kim Hyo-jung amped up the mood with her powerful vocals, singing “Aquarela do Brasil” (Watercolor of Brazil). With jazz saxophonist Lee Jung-sik joining Kim, the rhythmical Latin jazz filled the stage.

Kim also sang her upcoming English song “Mother of Life” composed by Choi Sung-rak.

As part of the long-term project, the musicians are writing their own songs about environmental issues and releasing three new songs every month through Universal Music. Kim's "Mother of Life" is one of the three songs scheduled for release this month.

Jazz musicians perform during the Seoul Green Art Festival on Wednesday. (Korea Jazz Association)
Jazz musicians perform during the Seoul Green Art Festival on Wednesday. (Korea Jazz Association)

Lee Dae-won also introduced his yet-to-be released song “For All of Us” composed by Jami Soul. Lee wrote the lyrics for the song. Guitarist Choi Woo-jun from SAZA Band showed off his vigorous playing style.

Park Raon sang “I Need to Send a Refrigerator to the Polar Bear” that was inspired by the poem of the same title by Kim Yi-yul. The song is about a polar bear writing a letter to the narrator asking for a refrigerator because its ice cream is melting away.

Vocalists Lee and Park brought a festive mood as they each sang a heartwarming carol. The audience was clearly enjoying themselves, with some cheering and clapping along to the performances.

Vocalist Lee Ju-mi sang “Waters of March,” a Brazilian song by Antonio Carlos Jobim. She explained that the lyrics list a series of images that float down after a sudden storm and heavy rains.

The crowd cheered enthusiastically when Woong San appeared on the stage. Woong San dazzled the audience with her riveting voice singing “Rabbit Story,” a song which incorporates pansori, a traditional Korean narrative singing.

Woong San then performed a song released earlier this year, “I’m Not A Butterfly.”

For the finale, all 11 jazz vocalists came out on the stage wearing Christmas headbands, singing a Christmas carol, before ending with the campaign song “Be the Light.” The song is available in both Korean and English through Universal Music.

It was the first of the two-day concert in Seoul.

Separately, an art exhibition under the theme of protecting the environment also took place during the two-day festival at the Music Lounge RYU.



By Hwang Dong-hee (hwangdh@heraldcorp.com)
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