O Canada! Ambassador negotiates a musical treat

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O Canada! Ambassador negotiates a musical treat

Some 30 friends of the Canadian ambassador Denis Comeau got a special treat on a recent Sunday at his residence on the slopes of Mount Bukhan in northern Seoul. The ambassador invited the Paris-born Canadian guitarist Jesse Cook and his band to perform many of their colorful tunes, which are infused with the rich sounds of Gypsy rumba and Spanish flamenco.

Cook and company started off the afternoon concert with "Rattle and Burn" followed by "Virtue" and other hits. They even threw in a bit of Arabic flavor into the song "Closer to Madness." The four-man band led by the guitarist were in Seoul for one leg of their Asian tour; the concert in Korea was Cook's first here.

Cook's name has become a common sight on the Billboard World Music Chart. One of his albums, "Free Fall," has already gone platinum. He has also collaborated with such artists as Diana Krall, Holly Cole and Danny Wilde of The Rembrandts. His brand of world music hasn't yet caught on in Korea; local fans tap into the world beat mainly through established artists like Bob Marley and the Gypsy Kings. Though Cook has yet to build a fan base in Korea, his concert at the Hilton hotel in downtown Seoul proved that his music can draw many Korean as well as international fans.

Back to Cook's house call: The ambassador transformed his spacious living room into a theater featuring a spectacular view of the capital. Impressed with the luminaries gathered for his gig, Cook joked, "I'm wondering if I could get some strings pulled to get knighted!" Cook proceeded to enthusiastically charm the ambassador's guests with his international flair.

Maybe Cook's flamenco fever can explain the unseasonably warm weather we've had lately.

by Inēs Cho

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