Youn Sun Nah is well regarded for her remarkable vocal prowess. The Korean jazz vocalist’s ability to present each song in her own unique style filled full of emotions and passion has consistently captured her audience in attentive silence,ending with roaring appreciation.
The songstress traverse the vocalspectrum effortlessly to the extent where she’s not just another vocalist,she’s a musical instrument. French newspaper, Le Monde described her as “a UFO touching the universe of jazz with a magnificent voice and passionate originality; Jubilation in triple time”.
Growing up in a musical family where her father was a conductor and her mother, a musical actress,music has always been in her life. Nah eventually began her own musical journey and made her first debut at the tender age of 23 at a joint concert collaborating with the Korean Symphony Orchestra. The performance was her steppingstone into the Korean music scene.
Though Nah was making waves in the Korean music scene, she decided to move to Paris in 1995 to study jazz and chanson. Striving for only the best, she enrolled herself into the CIM Jazz School, one of the oldest jazz schools in Europe. She also studied at the National Music Institute of Beauvais as well as the Nadia and Lili Boulanger Conservatory. Nah’s innate talent for jazz began to shine brighter when she started performing extensively in the French jazz scene with her group YSN 5tet at jazz clubs,national theatres and festivals. News of this Korean marvel reached many famous musicians who were excited to collaborate with her.
Nah also made a strong showing in a number of jazz concours such as La Défense, St. Maur, Montmartre and the renowned Jazz à Juan Révélations. Her 2009 album ‘Voyage’ made it into the French top ten of the jazz charts and won the coveted “CHOC” as CD of the month (Jazzman).
One of her paramount recognitions comes from the French government where she was conferred the title Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in recognition of her contributions to the arts in 2009.
While Nah’s career in Europe took flight, home was taking notice of her accomplishments abroad. The Korean Department of Culture and Tourism presented her with the Young Artist of the Year award in 2005.
Her 2009 album, ‘Voyage’ received the Best Jazz & Crossover Record of the Year at the 6th Korean Music Awards.
Many venues and festivals across the globe also recognize Nah’s talents. She has been invited to perform at numerous events such as Jazz at Lincoln Center (New York), International Pori Jazz Festival (Finland), Montreal Jazz Festival (Canada), TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival (Canada), Parc Floral de Paris (France), Marciac Jazz Festival (France), Mai Jazz Festival (Norway), Cully Jazz Festival (Switzerland), Java Jazz Festival (Indonesia), Penang Island Jazz Festival (Malaysia) and Jarasum International Jazz Festival (South Korea), among many others.
The impressive travel is further reinforced by a world tour with Ulf Wakenius that visited 50 cities in 19 countries as well as participating in Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion’s Jazz Today tour, one of Germany’s most famous music agency’s concert series.
Nah’s current project sees her collaborating with Swedish guitarist Ulf Wakenius. The stripped down format provides ample of space for the two talented musicians to improvise and explore the many facets of jazz. The vocal prowess of Youn Sun Nah and Ulf Wakenius’ prolific guitar skills complement each other amazingly well. Their unique musical chemistry allows them to traverse different musical aspects, creating very interesting musical dialogues. To date, the duo has released two albums under top German jazz label ACT, Voyage (2009) and Same Girl (2010).
The latest album ‘Same Girl’ embraces 11 fascinating songs interpretations such as ‘My Favorite Things’ to ‘La Chanson d’Hélène’ and ‘Enter Sandman’ as well as original compositions ‘Uncertain Weather’ and ‘Breakfast In Baghdad’. The diversity of the album showcases her distinctive voice building the framework for her multi-faceted musical taste.
Michel Contat from French Media Company Telerama exclaims, “Delicious is the word that comes to
mind when you listen to Youn Sun Nah. But the young Korean is also moving, radiant, sometimes funny, always sensual, a spicy creature of the night. Her voice is ideally in tune, with trills in the upper register that cleave you to the core.” Her collaboration with Ulf Wakenius at this point of Nah’s musical journey presents a unique performance filled to the brim with emotions and impressive musical talent; one that many have experienced and yearn for more.