TAGO master drummer Kim Si-Won is a member of the mighty TAGO – KOREAN DRUM ensemble.  TAGO return to The Fringe 2017 with a new show which follows their enormously popular and successful Fringe debut last year.   Here Kim Si-Won shares some personal thoughts about drumming and coming back to Edinburgh.



Korean drums play an important part in traditional Korean music – from folk music to royal court music, it’s an art that has been passed from generation to generation for hundreds of years.  The music we will be playing at Edinburgh is the survivor from what has been handed down from our ancestors during our 5,000-year history.

Nowadays, not many young people like to listen to the traditional music because they prefer K-Pop (Korean-pop) singers and groups. Even so, numerous artists try to preserve and develop the traditional music and encourage the younger generation not to forget our roots. What we seek to do in TAGO is harmonise our traditional music with a more modern touch.  We create our shows based on a theme of Buk, a Korean traditional drum; we play various Korean traditional instruments – from gigantic drums to small percussion – with martial arts movements. One of our drums is called Yulgo, meaning "a drum with tunes". We wanted to break a stereotype that all Korean traditional drums are always rounded. We produced a square-shaped drum and put strings and a wooden keyboard on it so we actually need four musicians to play it.   Our music is very sexy, intense and sophisticated!

One of the things we like to do with TAGO is to tell people about our home country.  Only a few years ago people didn’t know much about Korea but it’s become better known to a younger generation through its music and food.

I’ve been studying music and taking drum lessons since I was 12 and I love it.  It’s very hard work physically but we all have a great time and we love to choreograph some cool moves to suit the music.  I’m inspired by people and everyday life and I love travelling to other countries – especially as one of my favourite things to do is try the local food. Last year when we were in Edinburgh we tried the haggis, it was great!  So I’m really looking forward to coming back to the Edinburgh Fringe 2017 with our new show and to have the opportunity of taking in some of the sights including Edinburgh Castle and perhaps some of the beautiful countryside. 

TAGO – KOREAN DRUMS II is on at the Assembly Rooms from 3rd-27th August (not 21st). Tickets available at www.edfringe.com