South Korea

Where folk tradition goes pop

As musical descriptions go, Korean shamanic folk-pop appears to have plenty of points of attraction. And this is the trade of the extraordinary nine-piece ADG7, more formally known as Ak Dan Gwang Chil. Their sound is properly ear-expanding, an unlikely amalgam of various Korean folk traditions and brightly coloured K-pop stylings. On paper, it shouldn’t work, but on record and live, it most definitely does, thanks to the telepathy and chemistry between the group’s six traditional musicians and the three flamboyantly dressed singers. As the people behind the independent New Jersey radio station WFMU declared, “there’s a flowering folk-roots revival in South Korea, but no band combines virtuosity, charisma and pure energy like Ak Dan Gwang Chil”. The sages over at Songlines magazine are on the case too. “You’ll believe this band can fly” is their wise observation.