Jambinai sound less like a band than a force of nature, fusing the full dramatic range of post-rock dynamics to Korean folk roots to create an exhilarating, vivid and unique fusion. Their instrumental music is coloured by Kim’s fiddle-like haegum, Ilwoo Lee’s guitar and piri (a Korean flute made of bamboo) and Eun Youg Sim’s geomungo, a Korean zither.
They met studying traditional music at Korea’s National University of Arts, and found they were united by a desire to present such music in a new way, “to communicate with the ordinary person who doesn’t listen to Korean traditional music,” says Lee, the band’s principal writer.
This makeover, however, eschews previous Korean modernists, who Lee says have used western classical music or jazz, for a molten fusion of metal, rock and experimental sound. “We’re darker than other Korean traditional bands,” Lee adds, with considerable understatement.