Rhythm & Memory Vol. 2

The sequel to Miguel Buenrostro's musical project Rhythm & Memory is a rousing exploration of Bo-Sung Kim's traditional Asian rhythms combined with Laura Robles' Afro-Peruvian coastal beats.

Bringing these fundamentally different beats together proved particularly difficult for the two musicians. They differ in duration, and each is traditionally played in a unique way. Bo-Sung Kim's rhythmic knowledge draws from the rich tradition of shamanic practices in Korea. On the other hand, Laura Robles aimed to create a performance that emphasized the emotional and sensory aspects that rhythms can evoke, rather than adhering strictly to metrical patterns or rhythmic cycles.


This musical challenge facilitated a profound conversation between two women deeply entrenched in rhythmic traditions from different regions. Through active listening, dialogue, and continued reflection, both percussionists succeeded in building a project that is just beginning to flourish.

Conversation with Laura Robles and Bo-Sung Kim

MB - How was the concert conceptualized, what were the rhythms that were brought into focus?


LR - "The first thing that occurred to me is a rhythm that is no longer in use, it's called 'lamento' (lament). My teacher told me that it was played on the plantations, but there aren't many records of it. They were similar rhythms played in décimas, and they carried a lot of pain. That's why we thought it was appropriate to be performed in the 'lepra' dance.


Unlike the rhythms played by Bo-sung, these rhythms were used for choreography. In the coast of Peru, they didn't have many shamanic elements. Then, I played a rhythm called 'tondero,' which imitates the steps of a horse, something very elegant in a dance where a woman dances with a horse while it gallops.

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MB - Can you explain what rhythms you engaged with during the concert?


BSK - All of these rhythms are deeply rooted in shamanistic traditions. Traditional music in Korea, however, bears a different set of influences. One significant influence originates from royal music, which originally came from China and then underwent some adaptations within Korea. This genre carries a distinct atmosphere, distinct from the shamanistic rhythms.


The other form, often referred to as folk music, comprises both ritual and traditional music influences in Korea. Initially, I played 'Son Budi,' a rhythm performed while walking. This rhythm hails from a Korean island called Shindo and is played prior to a ritual to signal the start. It allows people time to conclude their work and gather for the ritual, effectively acknowledging the community.


MB - How was the process working with Laura, what were the key elements of the collaboration?

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The performance was recorded on September 23th, 2023 at Pantopia Festival vol. 5

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