About Sun-Mi Hong

text: Storm Bakker, The Netherlands, December 2019

"What about Sun Mi-Hong? Her playing is intuitive, fresh and inventive and still with opportunities for progress. Her ability to create, discover and explore at the same time, having a colour characteristic of the unbleached enables her to settle swiftly into the highest circles of intelligent music. Liastening to her playing during the 12 Points sessions at BIMHUIS Amsterdam, it is beyond doubt. She just is a fantastic jazz drummer on the way of becoming phenomenal. Sun-Mi Hong drives our optimism and hopes for the future of jazz music."

Storm Bakker | ProgJazz

Rising Sun

Born into in a religious family in South Korea in 1990, young Sun-Mi Hong witnessed a guy in church hitting a snare and cymbals and got inspired. She had to beg for drumlessons for years, and after she finally receved her first sticks, she started practising like crazy. Inspired by American drummer Brian Blade she decided it had te be jazz. She moved to The Netherlands where she was admitted to the Conservatory of Amsterdam. Soon, her talents, ambitions and skills were recognized by her ellow students and teachers. She played with Karel Boehlee, Jasper Blom and Benjamin Herman. With Spanish pianist Daahoud Salim - with whom she was awarded for ‘best band’ at the 40th Getxo Jazz Festival in 2016, with the ‘Grand Prix Albert Michiels Prize for best band’ at the B-jazz Contest 2017 and the ‘Sabam for Culture Prize’ 2017.

Through her energetic way of playing, Sun gained attention ofthe Dutch festival curators. Sun was elected Dutch Young VIP, resulting in a multiform tour together with vocal artist Sanne Rambags, including series of concerts and workshops, radio and television performances. She was a headliner in 'New Generation' on Dutch nationale Televison (NTR) in 2019, the same year she also won the Dutch Jazz Competition and was endorsed by Amersfoort Jazz to the Sena Performers International Jazz Laureate Festival 2019.

Sun: “I had the honour to represent the Dutch scene at Amersfoort Jazz 2019. The Festival, in turn, presented me to international bookers and festival organisers. It means a lot to be a part of it. I met a lot of people through the festival, from several countries. Meeting these people has had very large consequences for my quintet. Probably the highlight of that was performing in one of the most famous jazz clubs, Ronnie Scott’s in London."

"2020 will be a very good year," Sun says, in december 2019, With my quintet I will release a new album and we will go on tour in Europe between march and july: Belgium, Spain, Germany, Norway and afterwards the Dutch festivals..." Sun is Artist in Resicence at Amersfoort Jazz, where she will play with her quintet ft. Song Yi Jeon, but also with Dahooud Salim, with Peter Beets and the Henk Meutgeert New Jazz Orchestra and with the new project Alto for Two, Kika Sprangers and Irene Reig. which iwill be touring internationally as well. Sun: “I am very much looking forward to play at Amersfoort Jazz again, in different locations with different musicians. I am sure It’s gonna be great! What an amazing festival, organisation and promotion! I am in love with the festival!”

This year, Sun works with Song Yi Jeon, a Berklee educated vocalist skilled in modern jazz, at the moment studying in Basel. Sun:“I’ve only heard her name before. I was lucky to share the stage with her in Korea while my quintet was touring this year. Song-Yi Jeon joined one song with the quintet. That was magical. I fell in love with her creativity, attitude and professionalism for music. I don’t have much experience playing with singers in general, I see her as an instrumentalist. When singers can be free with their voice and technique, there is no limit to express. That really effects the music and the people. On the new album of the quintet, she is featured on two tracks. One improvisation Duo with my self playing Korean Traditional Percussion and another song named ‘KASI: a thorn’. This is one of my compositions”.

With the orchestra of Henk Meutgeert, Sun stars in ‘A Tribute to Buddy Rich'. "Unfortunately I never had the chance to see many legendary drummers live. Guys like Tony William’s, Elvin Jones, Art Blakey and Buddy Rich. I’ve heard about Buddy Rich very late in my studies at the CvA. His approach on the drums touches me strongly. I really admire his dedication, enthusiasm and not only very technical, but melodical solos. He is one of the drummers that inspire me to believe that what I do everyday, is what I love the most in my life and we speak about it loudly, joyfully through playing drums.”


*****UPDATE MARCH 14 *****

Poor Sun.

Due to the Corona crisis, most of the concerts are cancelled or re-scheduled.

We wish her the best of luck, later on or next year!.

Sun-Mi Hong in London