New age star hits keys to success

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New age star hits keys to success

If you live in Korea you’ve probably heard his songs before. His music is everywhere, from mobile phone tones to background music for television commercials. But you wouldn’t have known that the calm, sentimental piano melody you hear in melodramas was called “Kiss the Rain” by Korean new-age pianist “Yiruma,” or “dreams come true” in Korean.
Even music download sites for mobile phones list Yiruma’s songs with names like “a pretty bell sound” or “a song that keeps your mind at peace.”
The musician admits it.
At his concert at the Seoul Arts Center over the weekend, mostly attended by female fans, Yiruma kept his audience entertained by sharing anecdotes about his public persona and his music.
“Even a close friend of mine had my song on his mobile phone,” he said. “But he didn’t know until I told him that it was my song. He just downloaded it from an Internet site, which didn’t even carry my name. Talk about copyright problems in Korea!”
The 27-year-old Yiruma released his first album, “Love Scene,” in 2001. The following year he was invited to Midem, a prestigious music fair in Cannes, France and spread his name in Europe. His second album, recorded by Ian Cooper in Metropolis Studios, London, received rave reviews. His career started taking off in Korea after he released a soundtrack album for “Oasis,” an unusual romance between a man who has served three jail terms and a woman with cerebral palsy. His name also spread outside of Korea after his song “When the Love Falls” was used in the popular television drama “Winter Sonata,” which gave rise to “Yonsama” syndrome in Japan.
“Nocturnal Lights...They Scatter,” an album released in August, was a significant departure from his previous compositions in that it included a mix of electronic piano and vocals. “Chaconne,” a remake of a French pop song, is accompanied by an acoustic guitar.
“I really do believe,” he said, “that music can move people’s minds without being overly difficult.”


by Park Soo-mee

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