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This group unites the ancient and the modern to stimulate the creative.

Black String — which embraces traditional Korean music, American jazz, chanting and improvisation — will perform at Flushing Town Hall on Friday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m.

This world music band was founded in 2011 as part of a cultural exchange program — titled “UK Connection” – that the governments of England and Korea sponsored. Members are Yoon-Jeong Heo, a virtusoso geomungo (six-stringed zither) player; electric jazz guitarist Jean Oh; daegeum (bamboo flute) player Aram Lee; and Min Wang Hwang, who rocks the janggu, a slim waist drum with two heads made from animal skin. (Its two heads can produce varied pitches and timbre that represent harmony between the sexes when played together.)

The result is a multi-layered harmonic collision of modes and rhythms at the intersection of East and West. At times eerie. At times taut. Always based in deep, percussive tones with improvisational riffs.

The music has its own language. Click here for a performance.

Black String made its debut at the Jarasum International Jazz Festival and the London Jazz Festival in 2012. Since then, the Seoul-based group has performed all over the world, including at the Oslo World Music Festival, the Penang Island Jazz Festival (Malaysia), and even a gig as the official showcase group at WOMEX, a massive traveling world music expo, in 2016. The band won the 2017 Korean Music Award for “Best Jazz and Crossover Performance.”

Tickets are $16, but teenagers can attend for free as part of an effort to attract youth to the arts.

The concert is also the informal kick-off for Flushing Town Hall’s Lunar New Year programs. On the second week of the next month — Saturday, Feb. 10, and Sunday, Feb. 11 — the Northern Boulevard community center will host a Chinese New Year Temple Bazaar and present episodes of the Hui and Huangmei Opera, two traditional Chinese art forms that include folk songs and dances.

Members will march in the neighborhood’s big Lunar New Year parade on Saturday, Feb. 17, and Flushing Town Hall will host The Costume Art of Imperial Peking Opera, a exhibition of costumes and other items from the most famous episodes in Peking Opera, from Feb. 17 until Sunday, March 11.

Images: Black String FB


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