WOMAD 2014: 숨[su:m]

On June 10, 2014 by Tim Newman

Rhythmic Space 숨sum

As WOMAD approaches I’m picking through some of the acts that I’m most excited about seeing this year; this time we’re off to the Korean peninsula. South Korea’s  숨[su:m] mix traditional instrumentation with modern drama to produce a movie soundtrack-like hypnosis.

숨[su:m], or in English – A Rythmic Space: A Pause For Breath – consist of two young and talented Korean musicians.

These Seoul sisters – Jungmin Seo and Jiha Park – are classically trained and have been producing modern music on ancient instruments together since 2007. They use an impressive list of mysterious sounding classical Korean instruments in their work: Piri-Bamboo Oboe, Saenghwang-Mouth Organ, Yanggeum-Dulcimer, 25 string Gayageum-Zither and the Steel string Gayageum. 

Rhythmic Space 숨sum WOMAD

The pair studied at the Korea National University of Arts but it’s not just their playing that’s immaculate, they have a creative flair to match. Pulsing and twitching between melancholy and drama. Their first album ‘Rhythmic Space: A Pause for Breath’ was released in November, 2010 to popular acclaim.


The cinematic vibes of [su:m] put their music in a category all of its own. It can sit comfortably next to an epic post rock shoe gaze just as comfortably as it can sit next to a Brian Eno soundtrack.



At some points the sounds of [su:m] seem sinister and at others a welcoming blanket after a soaking in winter showers…



This is the type of act that will sound right at WOMAD whether the sun is blazing down or the heavens have opened.

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