Korean Music Festival (13 - 14 June)

The first Korean Music Festival at the University of Leeds was a great success and held on Thursday 13 and Friday 14 June.

With the theme of Korean Music and Community Wellbeing, Dr Hyunah Cho, a lecturer in Music Psychology and Wellbeing at the School of Music, hosted and organised the festival. She noted several reasons behind organising this event:

The festival aimed to introduce how Korean people have used music for their individual and community wellbeing, thereby increasing intercultural awareness in Leeds.

Second, this festival is intended as the concluding event of the International Students Project, an initiative by the School of Music led by Dr. Cho. From her recent study, Dr. Cho investigated how K-Pop (Korean Pop Music) is used as a medium for international students to meet and connect, thus creating a space for our students.

Lastly, she wanted to broaden the understanding of Korean culture within our local community to acknowledge one of the many diverse cultures in Leeds.

On the first day of the festival, Thursday, June 13, 2024, after greetings from the Faculty’s Pro Dean International, Professor Jasjit Singh, and the Head of School, Professor Barbara Kelly, along with a greeting from the Head of the UK Korean Culture Centre (Dr Seunghye Sun), Dr. Sunhee Koo from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, opened the grand festival with her keynote lecture on “Overseas Koreans, Music, and Sense of Well-Being in the Context of Migration.

Then, Joseon Punglyu Jeong, consisting of the renowned traditional Korean musicians, the traditional Korean music ensemble, showcased the essence of traditional Korean music, encompassing both traditional court music and folk music, which moved the audience with their beautiful music. 

The next day was full of vibrant pop-up booths showcasing Korean traditional and pop culture, including traditional games, fan-making, traditional decoration, photo booths, goods, and traditional costumes. Various workshops allowed participants to learn Korean traditional/pop/hip-hop music, dance, and language. These pop-up booths were a collaboration of student projects, local communities, and academics.

A highlight was the Lord Mayor, Councillor Abigail Marshall Katung, visited the festival, attended the Korean music workshop, and gave a speech to the international students, including visitors. She explored every pop-up booth at the festival. 

The festival successfully concluded with a K-hip-hop concert featuring Korean musician James An, who performed with students and local artists.

The festival created the space to engage the different local and external communities, home and international students, and academics within/outside of the UK musician; the festival significantly contributed to intercultural awareness in Leeds and provided a space for people to engage with different cultures.