So, the winners ofKorean Music Awards 2011, the 8th edition of this annual event, were announced yesterday. I take it readers of this blog will be familiar with most of the winning names already, but still feel like I should take a bit of time covering some of the artists/releases not previously mentioned here.
First up Rookie of The Year: Gate Flowers
Four member rock band Gate Flowers has been around since 2005. They were the Hello Rookie winners in October 2009 and the same month they got to kick off one of the days at that year’s Grand Mint Festival playing from the grand stage. However it was not until October 19 2010 that the first self-titled EP was released. According to the album info, Gate Flowers has a vocalist influenced by Seattle grunge and progressive metal whereas the band itself is more of a jazz/funk hybrid.
Best Pop Album:
Cho Kyu Chan started his musical career as the vocalist in Shade Blowing New Wave (새바람이 오는 그늘) in 1990 and went on to release his first solo album in 1993. His 9th full length album was released in 2010 on July 27 and one of the songs on the album, WOW, features last year‘s pop winner Lee Sora. Although not included on Tearliner‘s list of favorite releases in 2010, he did mention this as his favorite Korean album of the year.
Best Crossover Album:
Jazz and Tango project band La Ventana album debuted with Como El Tango, Como El Jazz in 2008 and returned on June 22, 2010 with the award winning album Nostalgia And The Delicate Woman. The quartet’s leader and accordion player, Jung Tae Ho, has been a session player for many of the biggest jazz names in Korea, including Woong San that won both Jazz & Crossover awards in 2008.
Best Jazz & Crossover Performance:
Pan Geun Lee Project is a group of 6 musicians including jazz guitarist Jean Oh and jazz pianist John Nam. The project group performs songs composed by jazz composer and theorist Lee Pan Geun – active during Korea’s “Dark Ages of Jazz” – after updating the arrangements. Audioguy Records offers a sample of the project’s ska jazz take on A Farewell To Madness on SoundCloud.
Best Film & TV Music:
Documentary Bravo! Jazz Life (브라보! 재즈 라이프) follows a group of Korea’s first generation of jazz musicians now that they have reached an admirable age. They jam and meet young jazz musicians that play music in their honor – check out the trailer here. The movie opened to the public on December 16, although the OST has been out since August 11. The soundtrack includes music from both the old and young musicians as well as previously released tracks from La Ventana and Winterplay
Choi Yi Chul, Ohm In Ho and Ju Chan Kweun were all together nominated for Musician of The Year, but even though Galaxy Express won that award, the KMA jury made sure three old time rockers did not leave empty handed.
Although Ju Chan Kweun acted as a one man band and released a bunch of albums on his own I’m guessing he is still best known as the drummer of Deulgukhwa. Back in the 90s Ohm In Ho too released a bunch of solo albums, but as far as I’m aware he never did better than when he was a guitarist in Shinchon Blues. Early in his career Choi Yi Chul was a member of Kim Trio (that had both albums re-released by Beatball last year) and later on he became the guitarist of Love And Peace.
Not too long ago the three men came together and formed a unit called Super Session, building on the sound they knew from the past to create a merger between folk rock, blues, and funk. The album Super Session was released on October 19.
Special Merit Price:
2011 marks 50 years since the release of The Boy In The Yellow Shirt and so the KMA thought to award the man behind it – Sug Woo Sohn. Although a name long forgotten the jury claim he was one of the pioneers in Korean pop.
From what I can tell he didn’t sing anything himself but he did produce an impressive body of work sung not only by a number of Korean artists but (provided I’m reading this information right) also by singers in Japan and France. Active as a composer he not only crafted catchy pop songs, but also songs for the TV dramas of the time.
I won’t get into details on the Dance/Electronica, Rap/Hiphop, or R&B/Soul winners myself, but here’s a 10Asia article on Garion that went home with the most awards: Hip-hop duo Garion triumphs at 2011 Korean Music Awards. If you’re looking for information on the artists/albums winning the other categories it should all be possible to find on this blog using the search function.