OTIUM, a creative endeavor spearheaded by photographer Seung Yull Nah, is a project series dedicated to crafting albums that draw inspiration from distinct locations around the world. Currently, two albums have graced the scene: “Cuzco” in 2021 and “Iceland” in 2022.
“Iceland,” the second installment of the OTIUM project, is a captivating exploration of diverse musical genres, including jazz, classical, Korean, and film music. Collaborating with accomplished jazz artists from Korea, pianist Heean Ko and saxophonist Hyunpill Shin, the project showcases their shared musical vision, heavily influenced by luminaries like Chopin, Schubert, Ravel, Bill Evans, and others.
“Iceland” envelops listeners in the mesmerizing and lyrical soundscape meticulously crafted by these two artists during their sojourn in Iceland. This musical odyssey aspires to provide solace and respite to those weary from the ongoing pandemic. In this latest venture, the artists once again join forces, complemented by the serene landscape photography of Seung Yull, to create fresh compositions inspired by the ethereal beauty of Orford. This enchanting locale boasts natural wonders like Mont-Orford and Lake Memphremagog, forming the muse for their artistic expressions.
Borim Kim is a promising Pansori singer in Korea who embarked on her Pansori journey at the tender age of 5. She later graduated from Seoul National University College of Music. Her musical pursuits extend beyond the boundaries of traditional music, as she actively pioneers the expression of Korean traditional music and Pansori’s originality and aesthetic beauty through diverse creative endeavors. Her approach involves collaborations spanning various genres such as modern music, jazz, and art. Supported by the National Gugak Center, she achieved great success with her performance of Jeokbyeokga.
Borim has received accolades at prestigious competitions, including the Gold Prize in the General Division at the 38th Dong-A Competition and a notable 3rd place in the final round of the 32nd KBS National Music Competition. Currently, she is a prominent vocalist in various groups, including the Near East Quartet and Baum Sae.
Hyunpill Shin, a talented saxophonist, earned the Best Soloist Award at the Jarasum Jazz Competition. Renowned not only for his creative improvisation but also for his ability to paint vivid auditory landscapes, he has become one of Korea’s most sought-after film music composers. Hyunpill is also an integral part of the Hauz Khas Project, where he explores the harmonious fusion of Indian traditional music, jazz, and Korean traditional music.
Heean Ko, the leader of ‘Prelude,’ a renowned band in the jazz world with an unrivaled fan base in the domestic jazz scene, is also the driving force behind the ‘Ko Heean Trio,’ one of Korea’s foremost jazz piano trios. Heean is actively involved in collaborative projects, particularly with Korean traditional singer Heemoon Lee, with whom he has embarked on global tours.
Seung Yull Nah
Born in Seoul, Korea, in 1971, Seung Yull Nah is a photographer specializing in the performing arts industry. Raised in a musical family, where his father conducted the National Chorus of Korea and his mother was a musical actress, music has been an integral part of his life. Despite studying sculpture at university, his passion for music remained steadfast. During this period, Seung Yull Nah became captivated by the guitar after witnessing a performance by Trio Paco de Lucia, John McLaughlin, and Al Di Meola. This fascination led him to Spain, where he pursued classical guitar studies at the Joaquin Turina Conservatory in Madrid with aspirations of becoming a jazz guitarist. Although he dedicated himself to rigorous practice to compensate for his late start, a finger injury compelled him to conclude his seven-year sojourn in Spain. Returning to Korea, he embarked on a new path as a photographer.
Seung Yull Nah’s photographic journey commenced by capturing musicians on stage. He embarked on world tours with Youn Sun Nah, a prominent jazz vocalist and his sister. His admiration and affinity for musicians on stage persist, fueling his passion for music as a photographer. His artistic creations draw from a rich tapestry of musical elements, with his camera serving as a miniature theater where musical melodies find visual harmony. His unique approach and virtuosity earned him the 2nd place distinction in Jazz World Photo in 2016. Seung Yull Nah serves as the official photographer for notable events and institutions, including the Jarasum Jazz Festival and the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts. He has held four solo exhibitions focusing on jazz and collaborates extensively with musicians. He also takes on the role of producer and visual director for the OTIUM project.