On Nov. 15, 2016, SXSW officially announced its first round of artists invited to perform at the renowned festival. Among the announced performers was gayageum artist Luna Lee. As with many artists from South Korea, Luna’s appearance was funded by Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA). However, it seems KOCCA has reneged on their funding, and on Feb. 10, Luna launched a GoFundMe page to help cover the traveling, board and incidentals for her trip to Austin, TX.
As a trained gayageum player, she’s helped bring traditional Korean music to an international audience via her YouTube channel and her Patreon. She’s garnered a great deal of popularity with her traditional-tinged homages to legendary artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Metallica and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Her talent and range comes as no surprise: she’s been playing the traditional Korean instrument since she was 11 years old.
Given her history with the gayageum, it was only a matter of time before she found a way to take her skills to a completely different dimension. She researched the sound dynamics of electric guitars, studying the effects of pedals and amplifiers. With her newfound knowledge, she created the first functional electric gayageum.
After being signed to Domo Music Group, she released her debut self-titled album in 2013, and last year she returned with her sophomore EP.
There aren’t many details concerning the sudden pulling of funding for Luna’s SXSW debut. However, it’s always unfortunate when an artist’s potential and trajectory are put on hold because of finances.
You can help send Luna to SXSW by donating to her GoFundMe page and spreading the campaign on Twitter and Facebook.