Thursday, January 13, 2011

CD Review: South Korea's Youn Sun Nah

Same Girl
Hub Music

South Korea's Youn Sun Nah is an innovative singer and musician. Borrowing several tracks by Rodgers & Hammerstein, Ulf Wakenius, Randy Newman, Terry Cox, Philippe Sarde, Sergio Mendes, and Metallica, Youn Sun Nah reinterprets the iconic songs of the abovementioned musicians and makes them her own. "My Favorite Things" is a solo vocal track with kalimba. The vocal sounds of Youn Sun Nah is somewhere between Scotland's Karine Polwart and England's Katie Melua. Two original tracks, "Uncertain Weather" and "Pancake", showcase her songwriting abilities. Singing in English throughout, some of the songs border on Indian, Latin, and European styles. For instance, "Breakfast in Baghdad" features scatting vocals amidst a flamenco/Indian rhythm. One traditional tune in Korean, "Kangwondo Arirang", is a solemn ballad with voice and guitar. A nice French tune, "La Chanson d'Helene", sounds like something from a romantic Paris cafe. Overall, the sparse instrumentation and almost-avante garde elements at times signify the creative spark of Youn Sun Nah. Hopefully, Same Girl will spawn a future album of more original music. ~ Matthew Forss

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