Korean pop music—or Kpop as it’s commonly known—is a huge phenomenon in east Asia, with countless websites dedicated to parsing every minute detail of its teenage stars’ lives. So it came as a refreshing surprise when kpopstarz.com chose to feature one of Korea’s indigenous classical music virtuosos, Jin Hi Kim, highlighting her upcoming performance of Digital Buddha January 31 at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Riding a cheeky/respectful line, the article says, “Jin Hi Kim is no Kpop star, but she would have been 400 years ago.” True enough. The invention of Kim’s instrument, a flat, seven-string zither called a komungo, dates back to the fourth century CE, but Kim has taken it in decidedly modern directions. She’s credited with inventing the first electric komungo, for example, and has performed internationally in collaboration with musicians of many different genres.
Kim will bring all these innovations and more together for the meditative Digital Buddha, her original 70-minute, multi-media composition. The performance, augmenting the Met’s ongoing Silla: Korea’s Golden Kingdom exhibit, will feature her mastery of both the traditional and electric komungo, the sounds of percussionist Gerry Hemingway, and a constantly morphing backdrop of digital imagery, including a “video mandala”. Click below to see excerpts from a prior performance:
Visit the Met’s website for details about Jin Hi Kim’s January 31 performance of Digital Buddha.