Sungha Jung mixes music with ‘MIXTAPE’ in Singapore

Official Picture from Sprout Entertainment

Held on July 22, popular guitarist and Youtuber Sungha Jung made his return to Singapore for the seventh year running, this time with his newest album, Mixtape. Unlike his usual previous ones, this was his first full album filled with his all-time favourite covers. Ranging from romantic tunes to classic pop, Sungha gave this diverse mix a unique spin, trying styles “which he had never tried before”.

Sungha opened the night at Kallang Theatre with “On Cloud Nine,” an upbeat and cheery song from his previous album, L’Atelier. The guitarist, clad in his trademark striped gray shirt and black pants, started strong right off the bat, displaying his outstanding guitar and percussion skills. He followed this by introducing himself and his latest album in fluent English, before proceeding to perform two of his favourite tracks from the album, “Close To You” by The Carpenters and “Sunny” by German vocal group Boney M. He maintained a chill and relaxed beat throughout “Close To You,” and as would be the trend for the rest of the night, he finished the song quietly and sweetly, allowing the sound of his guitar reverberate through the entire theatre.

“Sunny” was a track that Sungha said he had a lot of fun arranging, especially because the song was released about 20 years before Sungha was born. That fun was evident in his performance, with the fancy runs his fingers continuously made up and down the guitar fretboard. His effective use of short, anticipatory pauses throughout the song made it much more enjoyable to listen to and watch.

Slowing things down, Sungha performed Eric Clapton’s “Tears In Heaven,” also from his latest album. He did so in a gentle and comforting way, not unlike the original, but his jazzy modifications were scattered throughout the song, varying the repetitive verses and choruses with his creative adlibs in both the high and low registers. He next performed an obvious fan favourite, judging by the explosive response he received from the Singaporean audience once he announced it. A Goblin medley consisting of the hit K-drama’s two most popular OSTs, “Stay With Me” (by Chanyeol & Punch) started off in a more cheeky fashion, but Sungha gradually toned it down as he made the smooth transition into “Beautiful” (by Crush). In particular, the complex chords and emotions of the ballad seemed even more fleshed out through his playing, especially as it intensified towards the end of the piece.

Also on Kultscene: Sungha Jung brought Singaporean Fans to ‘Cloud Nine’ with ‘L’Atelier’

While there was a bit of a tonal whiplash, Sungha returned quickly to his upbeat pieces with “Catching The Beat,” a rhythmic track from L’Atelier. While he had created the song using an acoustic guitar, he played it at the concert using a classical one, but this did not hinder his performance in any way as he once again showcased his fast fingerwork and remarkable sense of rhythm. As he ended off the first half of the concert, Sungha performed his arrangement of a, what he called, beautiful Singapore song that he had ran into. “Encounter,” by local singer Stefanie Sun, was a familiar song that the crowd responded heartily too, and his tender version of the piece, along with the way he skillfully managed his volume variation, truly melted the hearts of the audience.

Returning to the stage in a blue striped shirt, Sungha started the second half of the concert with “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder, another track off his latest album. The lively performance was groovy and ended off with a bang, which was a great way to get back into the concert. He continued with Jesse Harris’ “Don’t Know Why,” which was another of his favourites from the album. It was one of the more serene pieces of the night, filled with unusual chords that somehow sounded natural when played by him. The outro of the song in particular, while it was repeated three times at the end, managed to sound different each time, thanks to the subtle changes made to the chord progressions he used.

Taking a short break from his string of covers, Sungha performed “L’Atelier,” the soothing title track from his previous album. As he explained the meaning of the word (French for studio) and his own workshop’s significance to him, he started playing the song, which had a wonderful waltz rhythm that is not usually seen in his other compositions. The performance was dreamy and mellow, and by its end, it felt like there was so much left unsaid, which was bittersweet yet slightly wistful. The liveliness returned with “Englishman In New York” by Sting. This piece felt like a direct contrast from the previous two songs, with its heavier nature and extremely catchy beat. The anticipatory and dramatic pause also made its comeback in this piece, and was used wisely right before the outro.

Also on Kultscene: 5 Tracks To Get You Ready for Sungha Jung’s L’Atelier Concert

The only piece of the night which was not a recent composition or arrangement of his, “The Milky Way” from his 2014 album Monologue, was a memorable performance because of the journey Sungha took the audience on. With his eyes closed as he played, he was truly absorbed in the piece, and his effortless technique allowed the audience to go an exploration with him. The piece conveyed a certain wide-eyed wonder and optimism that was both refreshing and moving, particularly when he started to move up to the higher registers. Sungha followed this with yet another fan favourite, especially for the “Singaporean crowd that loves K-dramas,” as he described them. He performed “Everytime” (by Chen and Punch) from Descendents of the Sun, which started out very gently. With a four-beat transition, the piece evolved into something which was much more rhythmic but still melodious, which created an infectious energy that made the piece so much more charming.

Official Picture from Sprout Entertainment

For his (not-so) last song of the night, Sungha performed “Seventh #9,” named after the chord type this piece heavily featured. Full of technicalities and almost discordant sounding chords, the performance was flashy and reminded the audience once again, that Sungha was a guitar genius. After a few album giveaways and playful final comments, Sungha performed a local song that was dear to the hearts of many Singaporeans as a timely encore. Once he started “Home,” written by Dick Lee, fans started to sing along to his playing, creating a heartwarming and comforting scene in the theater. Unlike the other pieces he had showcased throughout the concert, this final piece was simpler but the sincere way he played it made it all the more exuberant and beautiful. It was the perfect way to end the concert.

Once again, Sungha Jung delivered remarkably through MIXTAPE, and while there were minor tonal inconsistencies throughout, his repertoire was amazing and showcased his talents as a guitarist.

Did you attend Sungha Jung’s “MIXTAPE” concert? What did you think of it? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Sungha Jung brought Singaporean Fans to ‘Cloud Nine’ with ‘L’Atelier’

Taken from @theofficialsunghajung via Instagram

Taken from @theofficialsunghajung via Instagram

Popular Korean guitarist and YouTuber Sungha Jung returned to Singapore once again on the 28th of May for his sixth concert held in the country in six years. The sold out show was held at Kallang Theatre and was filled with good music, adorable banter and lots of fan interaction.

After a short introduction by a local emcee, guitarist Lee Guo Liang (newly crowned winner of the Sungha Jung Guitar Competition 2016) took the stage and opened the show with his rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely.” Sungha then appeared and performed “On Cloud Nine,” the first track from his latest album, “L’atelier.” Just like its title, the song was light-hearted and cheerful, which livened up the atmosphere in the theatre. While tuning his guitar Sungha introduced himself and his new album, before playing its title song. “L’atelier,” which means “the studio” in French, was a very bittersweet yet soothing piece. The guitarist certainly delivered on these emotions with his perfect expression of the song’s distinct melody.

A departure from the quieter nature of his first two songs, Sungha followed up with the jazzy “In The Midnight” and the rhythmic “Seventh #9,” both from his newest albums. These two songs were results of his experimentation and exploration into different styles of music, and they certainly paid off. “In The Midnight,” for example, was “the first of its kind to be composed,” but Sungha managed to show off his finger-style guitar playing prowess while managing to convey the intricateness of the jazz elements in the song. He returned to his roots with “Nocturne,” which was a “sad but peaceful” piece that Sungha particularly enjoyed. Its introduction sounded like the beginning of a beautiful K-drama soundtrack, or OST, and this feeling lingered throughout the whole melody. The quiet pensiveness at the end of the piece was palatable and made the whole performance that much more memorable.

Also on Kultscene: 5 Tracks To Get You Ready For Sungha Jung’s L’atelier Concert 

Next on display was “The Milky Way,” which was also the lead single of Sungha’s previous album “Monologue.” This piece was a lot more cheerful in nature and conveyed a certain wide-eyed innocence that was comforting and enjoyable to listen to. To end off the first half of the concert, Sungha performed a piece which was specially arranged for his Singaporean fans. It was none other than JJ Lin’s (a famous Singaporean singer-songwriter) “Remember,” which was also previously covered Sungha Jung’s Youtube channel. With his masterful arrangement and skills, Sungha was able to convey the richness of JJ Lin’s voice through his playing while also keeping the piece rhythmic.

Featured local guitarist Neil Chan kick-started the second half of the concert with his solo performance of the self-composed song “Merci.” His unique way of playing the guitar by lap-tapping was fascinating and helped him to play the melody fluently, as if he were playing a keyboard.

neil chan

Official picture via Sprout Entertainment

The first music student of Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (YSTCM) also had the honour of collaborating with Sungha, who made his reappearance with “Stars.” The piece was originally composed by Sungha as a tribute to the victims of the Sewol Ferry Tragedy but was rearranged into a duet. The simple yet heartfelt piece was definitely enhanced by the natural chemistry that was evident between the guitarists despite their different playing styles and nationalities.

Also on Kultscene: ‘Another Oh Hae Young’ Asks Why Women Feel Insecure 

After Neil left the stage, Sungha performed a cover of Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself,” which he had recently covered on Youtube with Eric Nam. The performance was a massive hit with the audience who cheered incessantly even before he began playing. This was followed by the obvious crowd favourite of the night, which was also the only K-pop cover in the concert. Sungha’s version of BTS’s “Butterfly” is different from the original with its more relaxing and soothing tone but he played around with the dynamics of the song to show different levels of intensity.

The last song performed by Sungha from his latest album was “Catching The Beat,” a piece that was highly rhythmic in nature but had a somewhat disjointed melody. This piece was the hardest to appreciate in the whole concert but it showed off the guitarist’s fantastic sense of rhythm and technical ability. As another special gift to his Singaporean fans, Sungha performed yet another of JJ Lin’s songs, this time a classic called “江南” (or South of Yangtze River). His dynamics were very pronounced here in an effort to imitate the singer’s emotive voice but there were also times when Sungha’s chord accompaniment ended up covering the melody of the song.

Official picture via Sprout Entertainment

Official picture via Sprout Entertainment

In his slightly awkward but charming way, Sungha playfully introduced the last song of the concert, his cover of Ryuichi Sakamato’s “Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence.” After stating that this cover was one of his favourite arrangements of all time, he discreetly hinted about his hope of receiving an encore call, causing a lot of laughter among the audience. Of course, the guitarist’s enthusiastic supporters did not disappoint him and Sungha made his return onto the stage with his “real last song,” John Mayer’s “St Patrick’s Day.” He surprised and delighted the crowd as he started to sing as he played, and his sweet and stable voice surely melted the hearts of all who were present.

All in all, “Sungha Jung Live In Singapore 2016” was a great success and Sungha Jung definitely left audiences wanting for more. Even as he bid goodbye with a cheery wave and humble bow he promised his fans that he would be “back again soon.” Next year perhaps?

Did you attend Sungha Jung’s concert in Singapore? What do you think of his music? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

5 Tracks To Get You Ready for Sungha Jung’s L’Atelier Concert

sungha jung

Popular Korean guitarist Sungha Jung has always been active on Youtube but he recently made a comeback with the release of his sixth album ”L’Atelier”. Featuring a wide range of tracks and Sungha Jung’s amazing finger-style techniques, “L’Atelier” is an album that you do not want to miss out on. The good news is that he is going to have a world tour to promote his album and is heading to my homeland of Singapore on the 28th of May. To get familiarized with his past works, here are fiveexceptional guitar covers and medleys that Sungha Jung has done over the years.

1. (Chen X Punch) “Everytime”

Beginning with this widely popular song off the soundtrack of the hit drama “Descendants of the Sun” by EXO’s Chen and singer Punch, Sungha Jung captures the groovy beat of the song perfectly in his cover while also retaining the essence of the beautiful melody. The cheery mood of the song was brought out by his playing which was never too heavy-handed and consistently light.

2. (BIGBANG) “Loser” + “If You”

BIGBANG certainly had a successful run last year with their “MADE” album and their slew of monthly comebacks, but these two tracks were especially memorable because of their somber and sometimes heartbreaking tone. With his delicate playing style and excellent arrangement skills, Sungha Jung successfully transitioned from one song to the other while also changing the mood of his playing to suit the songs.

Also on Kultscene: Retro-Inspired Girl Group The Barberettes Makes Music In A K-pop World [Interview]

3. (Soyou & Junggigo) “Some”

Together with fellow guitarist Ahn Jung Jae, this duet cover of one of 2014’s most popular K-pop songs is a genius creation that doesn’t just feature some fancy finger work- it is also extremely fresh thanks to the stylistic changes made to the original song. The chemistry between the guitarists is clearly evident as well, making this an extremely enjoyable watch.

4. (Taeyeon) “Rain”

This is probably the least well-known of the songs and covers featured on this list but Sungha Jung’s cover of Taeyeon’s recently released “Rain” is extremely impressive, because of how he controls the intensity of his playing to match the emotive vocals of Taeyeon in the song. The chords in this song are also more complicated than in other songs due to the chord progressions used but he manages all the notes and chord changes effortlessly.

Also on Kultscene: Weekly K-Pop Faves: May 8-14

5. (Kit Chan) “Home”

The only non K-pop song on this list, this familiar (to Singaporeans at least) National Day Song from 1999 was covered by Sungha Jung last year, shortly before his previous concert stop in Singapore. His touching and soothing rendition of the song gained him many Singaporean fans and hopefully he will be performing this song again.

Are you already excited for his concert? You can purchase tickets for his show at Kallang Theatre through Sistic. The concert is also being organised by local entertainment company Sprout Entertainment and you can find out more about Sungha Jung’s visit to Singapore on their Facebook page.

Which covers or original songs do you want to see Sungha Jung perform live? Share your favourite cover of Sungha Jung’s in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.