Creating some of the most innovative sounds in East Asia’s underground scene, Jambinai are an award-winning post-rock/world music hybrid act that was formed in Seoul, South Korea in 2009 by guitarist and piri (oboe) player Ilwoo Lee, haegum (a fiddle-like instrument) player Bomi Kim, and geomungo (zither) player Eun Young Sim.
Ilwoo, Bomi, and Eun Young became acquainted while studying at the Korea National University of Arts. After graduating, they ran into each other after a mutual friend’s concert. They began chatting about Korean traditional music and how they felt it needed to find a new way to present itself. That chance encounter led to the birth of Jambinai.
Ushering Korean traditional music into the 21st century, Jambinai’s stunning sonic compositions mix mesmerizing sounds from the past with elements of folk, metal, and electronic music. In September 2010, Jambinai issued its first recording, an eponymous three-song EP, through the highly-respected Korean hardcore label GMC Records. In the summer of 2011, the band was invited to play at the
Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival, one of South Korea’s largest music festivals. And in November of that year, they came in second place winning the “Jury Prize” at the EBS Hello Rookie Final – an award show created to highlight South Korea’s top young bands.
Jambinai issued their debut full-length album, Différance, in February 2012. Challenging and compelling, the highly-acclaimed cd won “Best Crossover Album” at the 2013 Korean Music Awards and also earned Jambinai a nomination for “Best Jazz & Crossover Performance” at the ceremony as well. Looking to build upon their success at home, 2013 saw Jambinai making their first strides abroad. Gigging as a quintet with the addition of a bassist and drummer.
The group has been wowing audiences at a number of international festivals since then including SXSW (US), Roskilde festival (DK), Exit festival (SR), Primavera (ES), Glastonbury (UK), The Great Escape (UK) and Trans Musicales (FR).
Their latest album A Hermitage was released by Bella Union on June 17th 2016 and received great reviews all around, 4* in Q and Uncut and rising stars in Mojo. With the success of “a Hermitage” in mind, Bella Union will release their debut album “Différance” on February 24, 2017. This album was released in Korea only and sold by the band at shows but now will get the proper release it deserves.
Music this rousing and beautiful, rising and subsiding in epic fashion, will doubtless trigger a flood of images, might recall an abyss, or the apocalypse, but Jambinai also represent a positive force, resisting the old ways and reinventing the future. Come join their thrilling adventure.
- Bomi Kim – (haegum, vocals)
- Ilwoo Lee – (guitar, piri)
- Eun Youg Sim – (geomungo, vocals)