Soul singers and musicians to take to the stage at this year’s Seoul Jazz Festival

Kelly Lee, May 25, 2016, 9:42 a.m.

A handful of world-class soul singers and Korea’s trendiest alternative musicians will take to the stage at this year’s Seoul Jazz Festival, which is set to take place this weekend at Seoul’s Olympic Park. One significant new feature of the annual music fest this year is the “Royal Night Out” program, slated for Friday night. It will feature globally-known artists Damien Rice, Jamie Cullum, Kings of Convenience and Wouter Hamel. 

“These are artistes that have had the best audience responses in previous festivals,” said Kim Ji-yea, who is in charge of communications for the festival. “We decided to invite them back and create a special program to highlight them this year.”

Many are particularly counting on the stage of Irish folk, indie-rock musician Damien Rice, the festival said in a press release. Rice had previously played at the Seoul Jazz Fest to rave reviews in 2013 and 2014. In 2013, raincoat-clad fans filled the field in front of the main stage at the Olympic Park despite the bad weather.

Another much-anticipated act is English jazz-pop singer-songwriter Jamie Cullum, who was voted in an online survey on the festival’s website as the artist that audiences most want to see return to the Seoul Jazz Fest. Cullum is best known for his piano skills, onstage charisma and songs like “Don’t Stop the Music.” 

The festival, which has traditionally featured acoustic and folk artists alongside jazz musicians, aims to branch out even more this year, Kim said. 

Pop artists with mass appeal such as Jason Derulo, Mark Ronson and Corinne Bailey Rae, a soul singer-songwriter much beloved here, will be performing. Bailey Rae released a new album, “The Heart Speaks in Whispers,” in February.

The festival will also feature an eclectic mix of Korean musicians, including indie pop bands Epitone Project and Hyuk Oh, rapper Beenzino, electronic duo Peppertones, acoustic-pop singer-songwriter Eddy Kim, and R&B and hiphop artist Dean. 

Headlining the festival will be renowned American jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, who will play alongside a global band featuring Mexican drummer Antonio Sanchez, British pianist Gwilym Simcock and Malaysian bassist Linda Oh. 

The festival will take place from May 27-29. Ticket prices range from 135,000 won to 297,000 won.

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