Korean ska and reggae musicians team up for one big collaboration at the 2013 Rise Again reggae music festival. From left are Koonta from Rude Paper, folk-reggae singer-songwriter Tehiun and Kingston Rudieska members Song Nock-won and Oh Jeong-seok.
The festival was introduced in 2013 to bring together Korea’s small but exciting reggae scene and spread the genre among Koreans. It spotlights both renowned and emerging domestic artists, including live bands, dancers and selectas (DJs).
The top act is Kim Ban-jang and Windy City, Korea’s longest-running roots reggae band born out of Asoto Union (2001-2005).
There will also be NST & The Soul Sauce, a new reggae project formed by Noh Seon-teck, former bassist of Windy City who has been making a name for himself with his new project.
Also on the bill are collaborative projects Rude Paper and Cool Running. Rude Paper is reggae artist Koonta working with producer Real Dreamer. Cool Running, their name lightly recalling the 1993 movie about the Jamaican Olympic bobsled team, is a duo between dancehall deejay/vocalist M.Tyson and producer King Kong.
For those wanting a less aggressive style, Tehiun’s folk reggae style will please.
The lineup is rounded off by two more ska-oriented acts, the heavy-hitters Kingston Rudieska and younger Oriental Showcus. Both bands showcase the jazzier side of ska that was prevalent in Jamaica in the ‘60s prior to the birth of reggae, with their own distinct Korean touch.
Also booked is the all-girl samba-reggae act Orixa, affiliated with 120-member percussion group Rapercussion.
Dance performances will be offered by Ms. Friday and Z.Sun. The DJs spinning vinyl between live performances represent the crews Ulssoo in the Earth, East Jamrock and record label Eastern Standard Sounds, plus visiting selecta Hayassen of the Japanese reggae sound crew Totalize, who is in Korea to release the Totalize compilation “Day by Day.”
There are noticeable absences from the festival, falling short of its claim to bring all of Korea’s reggae artists to one stage. But that is perhaps a positive sign of the ever-widening reggae scene growing too large to fit under one tent. This weekend will determine whether audience growth is keeping up.
Tickets cost 25,000 won in advance or 30,000 won at the door. The show starts at 7. Visit facebook.com/reggaeriseagain for more details.