The Tune’s sound finds fans around the world

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The Tune’s sound finds fans around the world


Crossover gugak (traditional Korean music) musicians The Tune will soon perform at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York on Nov. 7. [KIM KYUNG-BIN]

The Tune is one of the biggest up-and-coming gugak (traditional Korean music) groups of the year.

After winning “Sori Frontier,” a program nurturing gugak musicians hosted by the Jeonju International Sori Festival in 2014, the five-member group was chosen by “Journey to Korean Music,” another project for nurturing gugak musicians, last year.

Now the group is getting invitations from an array of international music festivals including Sharjah World Music Festival of the United Arab Emirates, Sol Madrid of Spain, a music market, and Visa for Music, another music expo held in Morocco.

The most imminent performance for The Tune is a show that will be held at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York on Nov. 7.

The following are edited excerpts from a recent interview with The Tune.

Q. What kind of music do you play?

. We stay within the boundary of gugak but we move in and out of the boundary, too. We find inspiration for our songs from the performance of a person who plays a small gong in nongak [traditional Korean music performed by farmers] or from a folk song that was used to sing by fishermen. We build up our own identity by adding our own interpretations to traditional songs.

The regular performance of yours is titled “Jumping over the Wall.” Can you describe it?

It is our intention to show that we blur boundaries within music. The five of us all have different backgrounds. One of us majored in classical music composition and the other studied art. We’re writing a song as a whole. Each person does her part and then we find ourselves with a song at the end. This [procedure] makes our music unique.

There are many programs which support gugak musicians, but the competition is really tough, right?

We see so many young musicians in recent years and there are a lot of contests and support programs for them, too. But once you win a competition, it does not guarantee you a successful career path. [When you win such programs] you can earn some time to concentrate on your music. We build up experience by performing shows regularly.

What is it like to get invitations from festivals all around the world?

Our music is closer to world music rather than being traditional. We applied to the “Journey to Korean Music” several times and we were finally chosen last year. I think our music is more popular with non-Koreans. They listen to our music as it is. Our music is complete with feedback from audiences and we find [non-Korean audiences] are [more] willing to be part of it.

Back in school, they only teach you traditional Korean music. How did you find ways to add your own personality?

Since the gugak music scene is quite rigid, our music was not welcomed at first, but we find more older people are fond of crossover music these days. But you need to know the basics before you start.


여성 5인조 창작음악그룹 더튠 “전통의 본질 알고 새로운 해석해야”

‘더튠’은 올해 해외진출이 가장 활발한 신진 그룹이다. 2014년 ‘소리프런티어’ 우승으로 데뷔했지만 지난해 ‘저니투코리안뮤직’에 선정된 이후 올해만 해도 뉴욕 링컨센터를 비롯해 아랍에미리트의 샤르자월드뮤직페스티벌, 스페인의 쏠마드리드 음악마켓과 모로코의 비자포뮤직 음악마켓 등에 초청받았다.

‘더튠’은 어떤 음악을 하나.
“국악 안에 머물고 국악 밖을 노니는 음악이다. 농악의 상쇠놀음, 조기잡이 노동요 등 한국전통음악의 원형에서 소재를 찾아 우리식의 해석을 곁들여 새로운 색깔을 만들어낸다.”

정기공연 타이틀이 ‘월담, 쓱 넘어오세요’인데.
“음악의 경계를 우리식으로 무너뜨려보자는 의미다. 음악적 배경이 다른 5명이 만났다. 클래식 작곡한 친구도 있고 미술전공자도 있는데, 한 사람이 곡을 쓰는 게 아니라 각자의 몫을 다하면 예기치 못한 곡이 만들어지고, 그래서 우리 음악이 유니크해진다.”

각종 창작 지원 프로그램에 경쟁이 치열하다.
“창작음악을 하는 젊은 친구들이 굉장히 많아져서 새로운 음악을 선보이는 플랫폼, 등용문도 많이 열린다. 한번 기회를 잡았다고 길이 확 뚫리지는 않더라. 자기 음악 만들고 퀄리티를 높일 시간을 버는 정도다. 우리도 꾸준히 자력으로 정기 공연을 하며 내공을 쌓았다.”

해외 초청을 많이 받고 있다.
“우리 음악이 전통보다 광범위한 월드뮤직 성향이다. ‘저니투코리안뮤직’에 몇 차례 도전해 작년에 선정됐는데, 외국인들 반응이 아무래도 더 좋다. 음악 자체로 이해하는 것 같고, 참여형 음악이라 페스티벌 등에서 열광적으로 반응해 주신다.”

학교에서는 전통만 배웠을 텐데, 창작음악의 색깔은 어떻게 찾았나.
“한국음악이 주목받으면서 전통을 어떻게 해석하느냐가 관건이 됐다. 국악계가 도제식 교육이 엄격하고 눈치를 많이 보는 세계라 우리도 처음엔 욕을 먹었지만, 요즘엔 어르신들도 크로스오버를 좋아하신다. 다만 본질을 확실히 알고 하는 게 중요한 것 같다.”

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