South Korea’s top ska outfit, Kingston Rudieska, are in the midst of a seven-city, cross-country tour. Included in their itinerary is a live appearance at Jeju City’s Miyerang Theatre on April 13.
Dubbed the “Whatska Tour 2012,” the trek is the Seoul-based, nine-member act’s first proper Korean tour.
“Our band has played together for nine years,” says vocalist and percussionist Lee Suk Yuel. “It’s a little late for us to be doing our first national tour, but better late than never!”
Next weekend’s concert will be Kingston Rudieska’s third time performing on Jeju Island. They previously made visits in 2008 and 2011.
“Last year we played at Jungmun Beach right next to the sea, but the weather wasn’t so good so we were a little disappointed,” says bassist Son Hyong Sik. “It was still good, though, because it was our first solo show in Jeju.”
Despite the weather woes last time around, the band is excited about their return to Jeju Island.
“Everyone who comes to see us play in Jeju can expect to smile and dance a lot,” promises trumpet player Oh Jeong Seok.
“While we’re in Jeju we want to hang out with the local people, enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings, and eat lots of delicious local food. We also want to show our support for the people protesting the Gangjeong military base. Jeju should be about peace and nature, not conflict.”
Brimming with positive vibes, Kingston Rudieska gigs are always high-energy affairs. Possessing a strong stage presence, the band choose to lead by example during live sets. They know that if all nine members are bopping around and having fun, then audiences will behave exactly the same.
“One of the great things about ska music is that people who aren’t familiar with the style can still easily dance along to it,” says guitarist Seo Jae Ha. “The genre has a wide appeal, so whenever we play people are always happy.”
The idea to form Kingston Rudieska came after Oh and trombonist Choi Chul Wook met at a pajeon restaurant in 2004. They knew early on that they wanted Kingston Rudieska to have a lot of members. They like that being in a big group helps them create a fuller sound live and on albums. They also enjoy that whenever they eat out there is no shortage of food to sample with so many people ordering different dishes.
There are a few disadvantages, though. Traveling with a large band can be expensive. And keeping track of everyone is sometimes a challenge.
“We played outside of Seoul a few years ago,” says Oh. “We stopped at a highway rest stop for a few minutes and Jae Ha went to the bathroom but didn’t tell anyone. He put a coffee can on top of the car as a signal that he hadn’t returned yet. But we didn’t know that and left without him. When he came out of the bathroom all he saw was a spilled can of coffee on the ground.”
“Fortunately we realized a few minutes later that we had left him behind. Because we were on the highway, we couldn’t turn around and go back. He had to run down the side of the highway to meet up with us.”
Kingston Rudieska issued their “Skafiction” debut in 2008 and their “Ska Bless You” sophomore effort in 2010. They will wrap up work on their third full-length after completing their Korean tour and plan to release the album this summer.
“We all have different tastes in music,” says Son. “We’re trying to incorporate some of the other styles we love with ska, so listeners will hear a lot more variety on our new record.”
“I want our new music to touch people’s hearts,” says Lee.
Kingston Rudieska play the Miyerang Theatre in Jeju City on Friday, April 13 at 8 p.m. Jeju ska act Socialism will open the show. Tickets are 25,000 won in advance and 30,000 won at the door. For more information, visit Kingstonrudieska.com or Facebook.com/rudieska2004.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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