|Tengger is a Seoul-based new-age drone psychedelic electronic music band and travelling family. Courtesy of Yongkwon Jo|
By Young H.K. Pae
Single or married, all of us can dare to dream. But it is a different story when you have children.
As soon as a baby is born, too many people give up their dreams and set their minds on raising children and surviving the everyday routine. But here's a family of musicians whose dreams are a step closer to realization with every child they have. Let me introduce "Tengger," the cosmopolitan family that practices art and embodies so much artistic spirit.
Tengger is a Seoul-based new-age drone psychedelic electronic music band and travelling family.
In 2005, Itta (on vocals and performance) and Marqido (producer) formed a duo called the "10." They gave birth to Raai (dancer and performer, with toys and musical instruments), who is musically gifted and offered more inspiration to the couple. They renamed themselves TENGGER, which translates into "sky without boundaries" in Mongolian.
In their striking performance, Itta's Indian harmonium and vocals are embedded in Marqido's analog synth drones and patterns. "Raai does what he wants on the stage," said Itta said. "It's always changing. Nowadays, he loves to dance but sometimes he also plays toy instruments while performing."
The family has centered its work on the theme of environment and spiritual experience. They travel between countries of the East and the West without boundaries, encountering diverse cultures and ideas, including traditional music and indie music. They have delved deep into the relationship between space and audience, which is embodied in their music and media art. They express harmony between nature and humans through synthesizers and various instruments, composing sounds of nature that are beyond human reach.
Itta and Marqido hail from Korea and Japan, but their constant travel has earned them greater renown abroad, including in China, Europe and the Americas.
This is how Tengger describes its music: "We're trying to deliver messages of nature through music. The synthesizer is used to reproduce the sounds of nature. We play music that can be comforted by meditation through music. We think we do not only recognize nature like grass, flowers, trees and the sun, but what is all around us. Even if it's not natural, like the stuffy fine dust, the fumes of the cars in the metro cities, the plastics that we're facing and our desires including all the life that's dying at this moment. It hurts in the snowstorm, it gets warm in the sun, it drops one by one ... the acceptance of all those things as they are, that's the message of nature. We are not trying to express the paradise."
|The poster for Tengger's performance on July 13.|
Tengger's music provides a synesthesia experience where you can see with the eyes, hear with the ears and feel with the body, most notably in their "Mini-Shiko" album.
Shikoku Walk, on one of the largest and least developed islands in Japan, is a pilgrimage that has continued for 1,200 years. It takes about 45 days for an adult on foot to visit all the 88 temples and shrines. When Tengger went on a Shikoku Temple Walk of the island in 2004, they recorded the sound of each temple, and the 88 layers of sounds were compressed into one album, which is the "Mini-Shiko." The purpose of the album is to provide a vicarious experience of the Shikoku Temple Walk and to enjoy meditation through music. When I listened to this mini-album, which contained about two minutes of pure gold, it had a meditative effect and my mind was cleansed of worries and fears.
Recently, Tengger released a new album. However, it goes without saying that "Mini-Shiko" is still my favorite. The music Tengger pursues combines the unfiltered sounds of nature with synthesizers to create a relaxing sound.
After releasing three albums in 2019, Tengger released its new album on June 7 under the label "Beyond Beyond is Beyond" in Brooklyn, New York City. The music video for the single "High" (https://youtu.be/-GMP6DljUnw), released before Tengger's new album, was included in the "Best 5 Videos of the Week" compiled by Stereogum, an affiliate of Billboard. Tengger's original cassette player was introduced in the U.K.'s art music magazine The WIRE.
Tengger will host two concerts on Saturday, July 13. The first will be a musical/art performance open to children. It begins at 2 p.m. The second is the new album release party at 8 p.m. Both concerts are at Paper Street on Toegye-ro 5-ga. For more information, visit Tengger's Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/tenggerland/
The writer is an educator, freelance writer and researcher at the Asia Institute.