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The Warsaw Voice » Stage & Screen » September 29, 2014
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Avant-Garde Asian Music in Warsaw
September 29, 2014   
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The first Radio Asia series of concerts this autumn will introduce Polish audiences to alternative Asian music acts.

Radio Asia is a new project by the Arteria Art Foundation, which for the past eight years has organized the Five Flavors Asian Film Festival in Warsaw (Nov. 12-20 this year). The first Radio Asia event will span three concerts featuring new music from east and southeast Asia, with a special focus on music with a strong cultural identity. The performers are the Be-Being group from South Korea, Hiromichi Sakamoto from Japan and China’s DaWangGang group, all of whom steer clear of mainstream music, like to experiment and seek new sounds to incorporate into their work. They play both traditional Asian instruments and cutting-edge electronic equipment. Warsaw audiences will hear distinctive sounds that might appear exotic to the European ear, such as elaborate rhythmic sequences, unusual music scales and vocal techniques, quarter tones, dissonance and unfamiliar forms of onstage expression.

Radio Asia was inspired by last year’s successful concert by South Korean band UhUhBoo Project. Known for their collaboration with choreographer Pina Bausch and film director Park Chan-wook, the band gave an inventive show that left audiences mesmerized by frontman Baik Hyun-jin’s eccentric dance moves, outlandish vocal techniques and the honest and emotional message conveyed in the music. The enthusiastic response from the packed house proved to the organizers that audiences in Poland were keen to hear more music from Asian countries and so the Arteria Art Foundation decided to go on exploring music from that part of the world.

The Radio Asia project aims to showcase music that pushes the boundaries in terms of conventions and genres. This year’s concerts will feature such genres as noise, avant-garde, minimal, industrial, punk, rock, blues, ethno and religious music. Many of the modern-sounding tracks to be played during the Radio Asia event are, in fact, rooted deeply in classic Far Eastern performance arts.

The first Radio Asia concert will take place Oct. 20 and feature Be-Being, a group formed by the UhUhBoo Project’s bassist Jang Young-gyu. Be-Being will deliver a show where traditional Korean music will blend with Buddhist dance, mantras and contemporary art. The band will combine live, acoustic sound with electronic music, spicing it all up with intriguing visual displays. The day before the concert, the band will meet audiences at the Muranów movie theater after a premiere screening of Bitter, Sweet, Seoul, a 2014 movie directed by Park Chan-wook and Park Chan-kyong.

The second concert of the Radio Asia series will be held Nov. 27 and feature Japan’s Hiromichi Sakamoto. A performance artist, instrumentalist and composer, this versatile musician plays the cello, makes unorthodox use of his voice and plays a variety of unlikely instruments such as grinders, drilling machines and other seemingly non-musical objects. Like Be-Being, he will meet with audiences before his concert at a screening of a French movie entitled We Don’t Care About the Music Anyway (2010), directed by Cedric Dupire and Gaspard Kuent.

The first Radio Asia project will close Dec. 8 with a concert by China’s DaWangGang. The group play early Chinese music that they mix with traditional songs from Central Asia, religious music and contemporary rock. DaWangGang successfully combine tradition with the modern, blending Asian multi-ethnic folk music, Beijing opera and a variety of contemporary trends in music.

M.R.

Radio Asia; Be-Being (South Korea), Oct. 20
Hiromichi Sakamoto (Japan), Nov. 27
DaWangGang (China), Dec. 8
The concerts will be held at the TR Warszawa Theater Room,
8 Marszałkowska St. The movies will be shown
at the Muranów cinema, 5 Andersa St.
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