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“Street Veterans” to Hold First Concert

Posted March. 18, 2004 23:17,   


Dazz band Asoto Union will hold its first individual concert near the end of this month. “Dazz” is short for Danceable Jazz, representing funky music with a lot of groove. Black musicians in the 1970s used to call their music “dazz.”

Though this is their “first individual concert,” Asoto Union is a “veteran” in the underground music world, with over 100 street performances and club concerts under their belt. They have performed on the streets in front of Hongik University and at Itaewon since May 2002, and rumors of their performances have spread far since then. Therefore, the reason for the unusual emphasis that it is their “first” concert is because they released their first album in December last year. “Asoto” is the name of a drum used in voodoo rituals, also called the conga drum.

Asoto Union consists of four members, Kim Ban-jang (drum, vocal), Im Ji-hoon (keyboard), Kim Mun-hee (Bass guitar), and Yoon Gap-yeol (guitar), who are all near the age of thirty.

On March 17, the members, who met each other while honing their music skills at Donam-dong in Seongbuk-gu, Seoul, said, “We are quite overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response we are receiving from the fans. We do not necessarily insist that we be an underground band.”

Despite the fact that it is not a familiar genre, their first album “Sound Renovates a Structure” sold nearly 20,000 albums, and is ranked high on internet music charts such as “Bugs Music.” Their music is characterized by its cheerfulness from putting soul music together with jazz and its Korean lyrics that goes well with the rhythm traditionally found in black music.

The band’s leader Kim Ban-jang says, “Our music has to be felt, rather than just heard.”

“Think About Chu” from their first album, and hit songs of the band’s favorite U.S. musicians, the Ohio Players and Ramsey Lewis, will be played at the concert. They say “since our goal is to perform, we will continue to do so in places where we can get closer to the public, such as street performances.” The band was awarded a special award at the first Korea Music Awards held on March 17.

Their concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. on March 26, 6 p.m. on March 27 and 28, at Ziller Hall, Dongsoong-dong, Seoul. The Admission fee is 35,000 won. Call 02-741-9700 for information.

Sun-Woo Kim sublime@donga.com