Music is the most precious thing. It surpasses all the borders and boundaries that we humans like to put up. It speaks directly, heart-to-heart, in a troubled world and reminds us of all the things we have in common. Luckily, we found an easy resonance between South Korea and Denmark in this project.
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Coming just after the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Denmark and South Korea, The Gori Project brings together 2 renowned traditional South Korean musicians with 3 of Denmark’s most established jazz performers.
Led by Danish bassist & composer Torben Westergaard, the album fuses together two diverse sets of instruments, styles, harmonies & melodies into a new cultural expression.
“I’m fascinated by how we can use music in a wider perspective and in a more mindful way. How creativity and creation springs from the present moment and how to best facilitate that.”
Marking his 13th album as a bandleader, Westergard’s electric bass grooves and atmospheric synth lay the foundation alongside two very different percussionists: the driving jazz-pop-sensibilities of Jacob Andersen and that of Byunggil Choi, traditional Korean music specialist. These three voices underpin the shimmering, filmic lines of Nordic trumpeter René Damsbak and the traditional zither-like gayagum playing from Eunhee Choi.
The result: a deeply intriguing set of music which seems to effortlessly mix and meld the two styles and make it its own.
January 24, 2020 – Far (Blandt Graner) (1. single)
February 14. 2020 – Indigo (2. single)
March 27, 2020 – Full album
- Eunhee Choi 최은희 (KR) – gayageum
- Byunggil Choi 최병길 (KR) – Korean percussion, vocal (track 7)
- Jacob Andersen (DK) – percussion
- Torben Westergaard (DK) – bass, keyboard, voice
- René Damsbak (DK) – trumpet and electronics, voice (track 8)
All music by Torben Westergaard,
Except Make No Gap by Byunggil Choi, Eunhee Choi, Jacob Andersen, René Damsbak, and Torben Westergaard
Recorded Sept. 16, 2019, by Timo Mehrländer, Millfactory Studios, Copenhagen, Denmark
Additional recordings at Myogen Productions, Hvalsø, Denmark
Mixed by Boe Larsen, Millfactory Studios, Copenhagen, Denmark
Mastered by Brian Mørk Hansen, BMH Lydproduktion, Copenhagen, Denmark
Coverart and -design by Bønnelycke MDD
Acknowledgments: Halym Kim (interpreter), JazzDanmark
Label and catalog number: TWMUSIK016
Personal notes on the songs
FAR (BLANDT GRANER)
The song came to me in a dream about my late father. He was walking among pine trees while the music sounded. I got out of bed, recorded the melody on my phone and later put the chords to go with it. Far means Dad in Danish and ‘mellem graner‘ between pines.
It was the last song we did, and everybody was probably feeling a bit looser and comfortable at this point. Orange as the color and the fruit – comes with a bite!
Slowly the world spins, slowly the stars turn above our heads. Free as a bird, the beauty of unrestrained, slow, and continuous movement.
This song which I brought in to the session pretty much played itself and has a nice cool atmosphere which reminded me of the color indigo.
MAKE NO GAPS
This song is entirely improvised on the spot with only an added shaker later on. Make no gaps refers to keeping your concentration on the task 100%, here playing music, and don’t let anything distract your mind.
THE BLUES IN YOU
Eunhee played this fragment within a longer improvisation and in my ears, it sounded like Korean blues. Maybe more in its feeling than the actual notes. I added some bluesy chords to go with it later on. Cultures share common feelings, blues and ‘tristesse’ being some of them, and somehow the musical expression becomes trans-cultural.
BEYOND (CRITICISM AND PRAISE)
Byunggil broke out in this amazing vocal feature with us playing a meditative groove under. I added the chords later which, in my mind, kind of were there already.
The process of recording the music was, for half of it, sheer improvisation, where I later added structure, chords, and form editing, if needed.
Courage was the very first thing we played – and it takes courage to travel around the world and go into the studio, not having a mutual language besides the music. When the technician press ‘record’ you just have to trust yourself, the others, and the music. This is quite a remarkable aspect of music-making in the way we did it.
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Released with support from Koda’s Cultural Fund and Danish Conducters Association