Norae Hanah (Just a Song) from Cheol-Kkot-Sae (Steel.Flower.Bird)okkyung lee
00:00 / 04:27

Saxophones: John Butcher

Traditional Korean Percussion: Jae-Hyo Chang

Bass: John Edwards

Pansori Singing: Song-Hee Kwon

Cello: Okkyung Lee

Electronics: Lasse Marhaug

Drums, Percussion, Vibraphone: Ches Smith

Composed and produced by Okkyung Lee (ASCAP)

​Recorded by Alfred Habelitz from SWR at Donaueschinger Musiktage

Mixed by Lasse Marhaug

Mastered by Scott Hull

Artwork by Céli Lee


In late 2015, I was commissioned to write a new piece for Donaueschinger Musiktage in the following year through the Jazz program at SWR2. With all the artistic freedom and generous budget, I wanted to bring all the important musical elements together that coexisted in my practice even they seemed miles apart seen from outside. I had worked with two Korean traditional musicians on separate occasions before and was impressed with their open mind and flexibility on top of their exceptional musicianships. With other improvisers, I wanted to find a respectable way to capture their personal sounds and present them within structured pieces that would bring the compositions to a special place. The final result was a lot more rewarding than I had imagined because these 6 musicians not only traveled all the way to Freiburg, Germany from Korea, England, the USA, and Norway to work with me, but to give their full trust and commitment. This experience is something I keep looking back on to remind myself that without people like them, it's impossible to dream in the first place.



– from press release

Okkyung Lee's newest project has her delving deep into her Korean roots to create an amazing long-form piece combining electronics, improvisation, composed melodies and noise with Korean traditional music. The piece unfolds like a ritual, making these disparate and unusual pairings seem totally organic and natural. Performed by an all-star international ensemble of musicians from Korea, Norway, Britain and the United States, this is one of the most compelling fusions of Korean traditional and contemporary music ever created. Shamanistic, primal and astonishing music unlike anything you have ever heard before!