Destination: Seoul International Jazz Festival (2010)

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As expected, the Seoul International Jazz Festival lived up to its name. With different styles of jazz – and songs sung in different languages – the event was about as international an event as Seoul has had in quite awhile. Read Gord Sellar’s review as well.

I didn’t get the opportunity to attend all three nights of the event – Sunday evening was the only night I got to see. After an introduction and a few words from the MC, the first band kicked off.



As expected, the Seoul International Jazz Festival lived up to its name. With different styles of jazz – and songs sung in different languages – the event was about as international an event as Seoul has had in quite awhile. Read Gord Sellar’s review as well.

I didn’t get the opportunity to attend all three nights of the event – Sunday evening was the only night I got to see. After an introduction and a few words from the MC, the first band kicked off.

The first band, 박동화, AKA ‘White Day’, featured a couple songs that attempted to interlace jazz with a hip-hop and rap sounds. The Korean band sang in English, but rapped in Korean – an interesting combination, but probably not one I’d listen to again.

Except for the foreign performers, I didn’t see another non-Korean there. A little surprising, considering the international popularity of the genre.

The second band, Nana Quartet (나나퀄텟) featured an excellent English singer and tinkered with some African and Cuban rhythms. Their version of ‘I Will Survive’, done reggae-style at half the original tempo, was a highlight.


The third band was from France – Florence Davis entertained the crowd by speaking French, then subsequently trying to lip sync with the Korean translator. Most of her songs were in French, although they did a nice job of “Man in the Middle” in English.

The final band, a Korean band named 봄여름가을겨울 (Spring Summer Fall Winter), was easily the most energetic. Their version of ‘I Shot the Sheriff’ wasn’t recognized until they reached the familar chorus.

Seoul Forest ended up being a decent venue for the hundreds of people that showed up – a few vendors would have been more convenient than having to pack everything in, though. The event, while well-organized, left me feeling more ‘meh’ than satisfied.

Ratings (out of 5 taeguks):

Ease to arrive:

Foreigner-friendly:

Convenience facilities:

Worth the visit:

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