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Youn Sun Nah & Ulf Wakenius

KOR, SWE

Jazz

Impressive and charismatic South Korean singer

Youn Suh Nah is one of the key figures in contemporary vocal jazz. She is an excellent improviser with a fantastic vocal technique. Her sound is based on minimalistic aesthetic, a quest for purity and depth that can burst forth at any moment in a penetrating sound of subtle power. From 2007 on, Youn Sun Nah has performed in a duo with the Swedish guitarist Ulf Wakenius, Oscar Peterson’s last guitarist, who was to be admired in 2015 with his quartet at Brosella. Wakenius is known for creating an intimate atmosphere that produces the sound of an orchestra with its simple guitar.

Youn Sun Nah was born into a musical family, in which jazz did not play a prominent part. It was only at a fairly late age that she started studying jazz and chanson in France, her vocal style already having largely been formed. It allows her to approach the song tradition - both The Great American Songbook and later more recent material from contemporary pop - with a refreshing originality, something that initially mainly caused a furore in her second homeland, France. After a series of well-liked albums, she was offered a decade ago a contract by the top European label ACT, a move that accelerated her career and produced three acclaimed albums: Same Girl (2010), Lento (2013) and She Moves On (2017).

The fact that jazz vocalists take inspiration and songs from outside the genre has been a fact for a long time, but Youn Sun Nah may even go a step further. She not only covers "Hallelujah”, but also songs from more surprising directions. Same Girl started with her dreamy version of "My Favourite Things", but a little further on she adopted "Enter Sandman" by Metallica, with a performance as bare as it was astonishing, putting her phenomenal technique into the spotlight. On the Lento album the same wide spread of sources returned, with work by Scriabin, industrial heavyweight Nine Inch Nails and country classic "Ghost Riders in the Sky". An important place on these albums was devoted to the Swedish guitarist Ulf Wakenius, with whom she has a relationship that can only be described in terms of telepathy.

Youn Sun Nah - vocals
Ulf Wakenius - guitar