The six-piece Korean band Coreyah, who will perform at the David Rubenstein Atrium on Thursday, July 6, crafts an exuberant new breed of music that breaks the barrier between the traditional and the contemporary. Rooted in Korean folklore, the group strives to create "living Korean music" by folding in American rock, Balkan gypsy music, Latin American dance music, African rhythms, and anything else that crosses its path. Bandleader and percussion player Kyungyi curated this truly epic eclectic playlist of Coreyah's influences and inspirations.


"Bolero" by Maurice Ravel
Performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Even though I'm in a band that uses Korean classical/traditional instruments, I'm very interested in Western classical music, and I think "Bolero" is rhythmically compatible with Korean music. A few of our songs, such as "Tomorrow Morning" and "People," were inspired by this piece.


"Asa Branca" by Luiz Gonzaga

This iconic Brazilian singer's music and its northeastern musical style go very well with Korean traditional sounds, maybe because it is simple music composed of percussion and woodwinds. We recorded this song in Korean and it was loved by the Brazilian fans.


"Night Bird" by Deep Forest

"World music" is ambiguous in its identity, but I think Deep Forest's music sets a very high standard for world music created by western musicians. I would say our music exists in various streams of world music.


"Encore: Making Music Revisited - Live" by Zakir Hussain (with Jean-Michel Veillon, Charlie McKerron, Ganesh Rajagopalan, Fraser Fifield, Rakesh Chaurasia, Tony Byrne, Patsy Redi, and John Joe Kelly)

This music by Zakir Hussain, a master table player of India, has beautiful rhythm and melody, which are equally inspiring to us when making our music.


"Hop Hop Hop" by Goran Bregović

Goran Bregović's music can truly show how much energy folk music can have. He's such an inspiring musician for many reasons, including his pride of local music tradition, contemporary musical sense, and stage production.


"Boom! Shake the Room" by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

Surprisingly, I'm a big fan of hip-hop, going back to '80s old school. When making songs or performing, I tend to have a rather hip-hop approach, just like when we made one of our most beloved songs "Born Wrong," which is the perfect song for a hot summer. Boom! Shake! Shake! Shake! Shake the Room!


"Baque de Brookyn" by Maracatu New York

Brazilian music is such a big part of me. Our music was influenced by bossa nova, samba, and other sounds from various regions of Brazil. One of our favorite songs, "Whale of a Time," was based on the Brazilian maracatu, a dynamic rhythm that has a lot of fans around the world.


"Canto De Xongô" by Baden Powell and Vinícius de Moraes

Brazilian and African music have so much in common that their rhythm, melody, and distinctive religious sentiment, created a new genre of Afro-Brazilian music. I think this song really represents what the rhythm of Afro-Brazilian is about. We used the same rhythm for our song "Seoul."


"Ijexá (Filhos de Gandhy)" by Clara Nunes

This song is also based on the Afro-Brazilian rhythm Ijexá. We mashed up this rhythm with a popular minyo (Korean traditional song) "Farewell Song" to create our own version of the "Farewell Song."


"Kut" by SamulNori

Although our music is influenced by various folk/traditional music from all over the world, the most important root in our music is Korean traditional music. Unfortunately, Korean traditional music that can be streamed in the United States is very limited. The song "Kut" by SamulNori represents one of the Korean traditional musical styles and shamanistic rituals, and it also achieved worldwide recognition for its distinctive music based on Korean traditional shamanism and farmer's music. The intense and primitive energy felt in this music is the root of Coreyah's music.


Listen to the full playlist on Spotify.

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About the Curator

Coreyah's percussionist, Kyungyi, has made it his lifelong pursuit to explore ethnic music from around the world. His specialty is Brazilian percussion, such as the pandeiro, the surdo, and the berimbau. Kyungyi has performed with Sorri, a bossa nova singer-songwriter, and has helped record albums with many Korean popular musicians such as Lee Han Chul, Fortune Cookie, Ra.D, and Nunttugo-Kobein.