Kim's new direction of komungo solo recital, Digital Buddha is a 30-60 minutes long multimedia performance with video mandala and digital images with extraordinary juxtapositions, fast cut swirling images of a deconstructed electric komungo. The on-going project has been presented at Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), World On Stage, Cornell University, Yale University, University of Michigan, Stanford Pacific-Asia Music Festival, Arts & Ideas Festival, Bandung International Digital Art Festival (Indonesia), and many other places.
The komungo is a string instrument indigenous to Korea, originating in the fourth century. The six-stringed, fretted board zither was mainly used in the court music orchestra and kagok ensemble for the performance of aristocratic lyric songs. Traditionally, komungo was performed by male Confucian scholars for their meditation. The only solo repertory for komungo is sanjo, a long folk-style virtuoso master piece.
Kim's komungo music represents an evolution of the instrument into the twenty-first century, a development she has pursued over twenty five years. Kim has created a wide array of pioneering compositions for the komungo not only as soloist but also collaborated with leading Western contemporary classical musicians, orchestra, jazz musicians, improvisers, and co-designed the world's only electric komungo.
Her new komungo music is imbued with meditative and vivid energy that makes it mesmerizing. The electric komungo was built for Ms. Kim by Joseph Yanuziello in Canada in 1998. In collaboration with Alex Noyes, she has created the live interactive pieces for the electric komungo and MIDI computer system. Using MAX/MSP, the komungo sound is processed through a personal computer program, and she is then able to blend acoustic and processed sounds using MIDI foot pedal. Staying true to the nature of the instrument, her solo interweaves from old timeless mind to space-age blips.
"Virtuoso, Jin Hi Kim promises thoughtful, shimmering East-West amalgams in combinations that are both new and unlikely to be repeated." Peter Watrous, The New York Times
"True world music being made here, both ancient and modern and without
borders. Outstanding." Dennis Yudt, Pulse Magazine
"Kims solo was a study in zen-like elegance." Andrew
Jones, Option Magazine
"With her electric komungo, she floated sustained tones and
rudimentary melodies or plucked twangs suggesting a jaw-harp or hinted
at the bent notes of the blues."
Jon Pareles, The New York Times
"A lush solo improvisation stays true to the nature of the komungo
while showing real imagination about how its sound can be processed
and coloured." Clive Bell, Wire Magazine
Lectures & Workshops
Kim has given lectures about Korean Traditional Music and her compositional music concept, Living Tones at over 200 universities in the USA including Cornell, Yale, Wesleyan, Duke, Indiana, Peabody Consrvatory, New England Conservatory, Dartmouth College, University of Minnesota, University of California/San Diego, and University of Michigan.
Jin Hi Kim in collaboration with Gerry Hemingway (percussion) achieves an innovative style of music. Kim’s music on komungo and electric komungo, interwoven with sound painting on drum set, evoke a rhythmic adventure from ancient to space-age blips. In conjunction with Metropolitan Museum of Art 2014 Exhibition Silla: Korea's Golden Kingdom, Kim and Hemingway performed at Met. The on-going duo project has been presented at Korea Festival, Festival Dos Abrazos (Spain), Expo Cibao (Dominican Republic), Expo Zaragoza (Spain), Detroit Institute of Arts, Festival Salihara (Indonesia), and many other places.
"Cosmic Music Meditation, as if their (audience) consciousness was carried into outer space." Tempo (Jakarta)
"Good music really knows no boundaries, neither of style or tradition or geographically. ... it emphasises and shifts and brings back and diverges and returns in a great mystical wheel of sound, whirring around a pole that is rooted in the ground yet facing upward." Stef, Free Jazz
"perhaps most important, is the remarkable morphing of the different instrumental personalities into a single entity comprising two souls. Kim’s komungo – both in the acoustic and electric version – is a tool which, mainly designed for melody, nevertheless owns unmistakable percussive qualities, pretty evident in the way in which the strings must be energetically plucked during certain animated transactions. On the other hand, Hemingway’s drumming receptiveness lets us envision a whole world of lyrical intuitions, which he adapts to the Korean partner’s enchanting patterns and swirls by fusing his improvising self with her unique blend of Eastern tints and concentrated transmissions of energy. This amalgamation of inventive currents, instantaneous acceptance and clever elaboration of the result, appearing as natural as dribbling water on a spring’s rock, leaves any academic issue out of the equation. Every minute of this CD is at one and the same time perfectly graspable yet rich in meaningfulness and non-conformism.”
Massimo Ricci, Touchingextremes
Following Jin Hi Kim's appearance in the national MBC-TV broadcast of the film 100 Years of Sanjo Ms. Kim's Sanjo Ecstasy was premiered to overwhelming success in Korea in 2003. Sanjo Ecstasy features new generation of Korea's leading musicians performing exotic traditional instruments (kayagum, haegum, janggo), with American jazz percussionist Gerry Hemingway and Jin Hi Kim's electric komungo.
Sanjo has sophisticated melodies and highly a developed rhythmic structure in the various rhythmic cycles. The Sanjo melody is very expressive, meanwhile Buddhist meditative aesthetic is carried out through the long progression of time. In the Sanjo form, the time sense is riveting, hypnotic and almost trance like in it's manner of rhythmic repetition. These highly stylized rhythmic cycles gradually accelerate resulting in a mesmerizing experience.
With an attempt of capturing the aesthetics and energy of the Sanjo, Jin Hi Kim has developed a new piece, Sanjo Ecstasy. This suite has six sections that are performed without break over a ninety minutes period of time. Each piece evokes its own energy and then links to the next. They are immersed with tension and release. In this new work, three traditional Sanjo soloists move in and out of the traditional Sanjo form as the electric komungo layers new sonic textures upon them. Korean janggo and a Western drum set juxtapose the time sense between Sanjo rhythmic cycles and a free jazz time zone.