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Leenalchi to release new songs at Seoul concert

Posted October. 21, 2022 07:43,   

Updated October. 21, 2022 07:43


After a three-year break, South Korean pansori pop band Leenalchi is back with new songs. It debuted with a worldwide hit, "Tiger is Coming," taken from Sugungga of Pansori Five Madang. The band will hold an “Under the Water” concert at the LG Art Center Seoul in Gangseo-gu, Seoul on October 29-30. Their news songs include 11 new songs, such as the recently released “Hi-Ha-Ha,” and the unreleased songs "Primal Planet," "The Horrible Rumor," and "Bing Bing Bing.”

The songs to be featured in the "Under the Water" concert are in their own right, but there is a single overarching story at the center: It is a journey of an astronomer exploring the bottom of the water, the source of life. Unlike the first album, inspired by the folktale of a tortoise who came to the land to secure a rabbit liver, the new songs are unrelated to the Pansori Five Madang. “We debated whether to use other works from the five Madang cycles as a huge portion of Leenalchi’s music is an adaptation of it,” leader Jang Young-gyu (bass) said at the press conference on Wednesday. “Yet, we decided going forward we need to make music with what we have now.”

The performance is structured so that the story of an astronomer, designed by director Park Jeong-hee, was set in Leenalchi songs. Filling in the gaps between the songs will be aniri pansori (a technique of weaving spoken parts with free rhythm in pansori). The 34-meter-deep backstage will be used to capitalize on its vast and deep sense of space.

Leenalchi will release the 2nd album in the first half of next year, showcasing the songs in the upcoming concert. Their reputed "Leenalchi style," with its rhythmic solid bass and addictive chorus sending bodies to make upbeat movements, is preserved. Still, electronic sounds have also been added to rock music that gives a dreamy feeling. The vocal style has also changed. The four singers at times gave up pansori techniques to create harmony while using singing techniques that are not found in pansori, such as falsetto and whispers.

Leenalchi finished its first European tour in England, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Hungary last month. Rave compliments such as " fairly familiar and beautifully unfamiliar" (BBC Radio) or "voices slide between notes" (Brian Eno, a famous British producer) came pouring in. "Rather than feeling obligated to safeguard our tradition, we want to become a band that creates music with what we think is right as Leenalchi," member Lee Na-rae (vocal) said. Ticket prices range from 30,000 to 70,000 won.

Ji-Hoon Lee easyhoon@donga.com