last weekend at Burnt Oak, Korean Culture Centre, Wigmore hall …in London

I meant to post this ages ago, but alas, it’s already Thursday!

Well, I guess it’s better to do it late than never actually do it(better late than never in short), so here it goes..

First of all, I landed in Victoria Coach Station using my funfare extra cheap coach ticket from Southampton, and as the bus was super slow due to traffic, it was already after 2pm and my stomach was wonderfully lunchless.. what better occasion could be there for a quick drop into vafresco cafe?

They served a box of freshly prepared, build-your-own salad for something like £3.80. I was stuffed by the end of it!

Then I headed off to Trafalgar Square via Buckingham Palace which took around 25 minutes on foot. I love walking around parks and ponds in London.. Something of a rarity in Seoul I must admit!

The reason I went to London on Friday was for this concert. The KAYA duo was performing works of korean tradition and some cross-over songs of their own. I admire their enthusiasm to share the national heritage through their musicianship and would love to write a work for them. In fact, kayagum and guitar have a lot in common, and make a very nice instrumentation. The guitarist wrote about the concert on his blog here(Korean).

I then headed off to Burnt Oak, in the suburbs of London, where Joo Hee unni and her husband lives. They couldn’t come to the concert because Joo Hee unni was working hard on finishing the painting that goes on the billboard in London’s Korean Culture Centre for the film festival starting in November. I thought being pregnant meant you had to sleep a lot and rest through the months, but I guess doing a bit of painting won’t hurt? (Having said that, I could see how labor-intensive drawing and painting was, and also got to experience it first-hand the next day)

While she was immersed in her work, I got out her paint and blank cards and started designing this year’s batch of Christmas cards. I had promised to make them together with unni, but seeing the paints and paintbrushes lying around was too tempting and I couldn’t just sit still. It’s been a good 15 years since I’ve ever used a paint-brush, and my first few works were a total disaster..nothing festive about those cards, they were rather sinister, so I made some more attempts and settled with something like this:

A huge dollop of green paint as the background for a tree and some snow in the wind.. a very English setting, I must say..(note that it isn’t even a white Christmas. Ha!)

I made ca. 30 of these and totally collapsed afterwards into a 3-hour nap.

After the nap, it was already late for meeting up with Jinkyung at Waterloo, so I re-arranged the meeting to Oxford Street, and met up there for a quick dinner and a concert at the Wigmore Hall which Hubert booked us for, where the violinst Carolin Widmann was performing Christian Mason’s wonderfully weird piece “Learning Self-modulation” for violin and piano, which involved detuning the violin, walking across the stage and singing some mystical greek-inspiring tunes from both the violinist and the accompanist. I haven’t chatted with Christian about the motivation behind these aesthetic choices, but Carolin Widmann must have been totally convinced because it was a beautiful performance and the interpretation of the new composition was totally engaging.

Her Xenakis and Bach Partita was also very well performed and hearing the Chaconne live was rather exciting. Xenakis always sounds very contemporary whenever I hear it live, he is one composer I could really enjoy looking into.

All in all, it was a nice and short outing into London with satisfying experiences. I only wish I could do it more often…


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