Jazz on the Rise in the ROK

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I didn’t know it, but apparently jazz is seeing its star rising on the peninsula. Not that bland Kenny G kinda “jazz”, but the good ol’ traditional stuff. There were over 100 jazz offerings released in Korea in 2012 alone.

I interviewed jazz singer-songwriter Jumi Lee in the latest issue of Haps about her music and jazz in Korea.

Among other things, I was curious why she chose to sing only in English, a language she scarcely speaks, on her debut CD The Rising Sun. Her response was interesting:

“Frankly, when I sing in Korean, I cannot sing well, especially the high-pitched tones. It is really difficult to sing in Korean, as other musicians will attest,” says Lee. “Even though Korean can be very poetic and highly expressive, it is not easy to sing well.”

One other thing of note, which I didn’t include in the article, was concerning her choice of the title “The Rising Sun.” Lee was a bit shocked when I explained, through the interpreter, the Japanese connection to that term. I have a feeling she’ll be a little more thorough in researching the name of her next release.

You can read the rest and check out some of Jumi Lee’s great tunes here.


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