South Korean group Jambinai play a surging, dramatic form of metal-infused post-rock using traditional folk instruments.
These include the fiddle-like haegeum, the geomungo (or "black zither"), and double-reed instruments such as the piri. The band has received acclaim for its riveting performances as well as their ambitious recordings, such as 2016's A Hermitage.
The three core members -- Lee Il-Woo (guitar), Shim Eun-Yong (geomungo), and Kim Bo-Mi (haegeum) -- met in 2009 at Korea's National University of Arts while studying traditional Korean music. After they graduated they decided to present traditional Korean music in a fresh and innovative light, in part as a reaction to the growing popularity of generic K-Pop. Citing Nine Inch Nails as a major rock influence and adding traditional instruments, Jambinai explored dark themes such as isolation and despair. Following a self-titled 2010 EP, their debut album Différance was released in 2012, receiving praise for its intensity and interesting compositions. They embarked on a small tour outside of Korea to support the debut, culminating with a show at SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. In 2016, they released their sophomore album, A Hermitage, via Bella Union. The label re-released the group's debut in 2017. Jambinai performed with an orchestra of geomungo players at the 2018 Winter Olympics closing ceremony in Pyeongchang. The group's third album, ONDA, was released in 2019. ~ Liam Martin, Rovi