Last week I was in NYC for the finishing of my upcoming album, 시음 /si-úm/. Every time I visit the city I find that I always come back with a renewed energy of this unique place.
I went to two New York style restaurants. One was Kajitsu and the other was Her name is Han. Kajitsu is a Japanese restaurant, yet some of the presentation and style was influenced by French cooking, and some Korean dishes at Her name is Han had a Mexican flavor. I was impressed by their creativity by which they can add various elements without losing the essence of the origin of the dish.
I was born and raised in South Korea and left the country for a master’s degree in piano performance when I was around 22 years old. Living in Korea until the early 20s helped me to fully develop myself as a Korean, yet living a critical part of life, my 20s and 30s, in a different country I was able to emerge and adapt here. Although I can’t say I am fully American, I am not sure if I can say I am fully Korean either. I am literally a fusion of these two countries.
Sometimes the word fusion has a bad connotation which hints that it is a weird version of the good original. However, I find that in order to create a fusion of something one needs to have a mindset of flexibility, courage, and deep core understanding of each element. Then it becomes a true hybrid, bringing goodness from both worlds.
My next album is called /si-úm/, which is a written pronunciation of the Korean word 시음. That word doesn’t exist in Korea in the way I use it, nor is the English word, si-úm, in the English dictionary. I combined a Korean word of poetry 시 (/si/) and a part of the Korean world of music 음악 (/úmak/). The word 시음 /si-úm/ is born in a uniquely hybrid version of both worlds as it came from someone who is in both.
I am excited to present you this project soon. The album will globally be released on April 24, starting with a CD release concertin La Jolla at Conrad Performing Arts Center. I also hope that you can catch me at my 시음 /si-úm/ concert in your area in person at some point as I will be touring at least 25 different cities in America with this concert in the next season. (Stay tuned for more information!)
I hope this project inspires and entices you to do something out of your norm; reading poetry, listening to a kind of music that you don’t usually listen to, learning a language, going to a different ethnic restaurant to try a new dish, taking a photography class, or anything you could wildly dream of.
We are all fusions of things; mixtures of origins of cultures and diverse backgrounds, upbringings, and personalities. When we embrace ourselves as creators of unique cultures, I am certain that we can find our true creativity hidden within ourselves and more easily be able to embrace others’ differences.
We don’t have to be creators of something entirely new, but we can always be unique messengers of our worlds. I am sure there are people who would love to experience the world through your unique lens. Please share it.