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Youn Sun Nah

Youn Sun Nah is a Korean jazz vocalist with a large following in France. Born in Seoul, she was raised by musical parents and began her career as a member of the Korean Symphony Orchestra. Nah eventually left home in 1995 and moved to Paris, where she studied jazz and French chanson at the CIM Jazz School, one of the oldest jazz institutions in Europe. Although relatively new to the genre, Nah excelled at jazz, which she mixed with a healthy dose of Asian folk and avant-garde pop. Backed by her own band, she began climbing the French jazz charts with a series of quirky, elegant albums, including her 2009 debut for Act, Voyage. Her success was initially limited to France and Korea, where Nah concentrated the bulk of her touring, but 2010's Same Girl helped spread her music to the rest of Europe, with some publications heralding her as the next Melody Gardot. Voyage followed a year later on Vitamin Entertainment, but she returned to Act for 2013's Lento; accompanied by guitarist Ulf Wakenius, bassist Lars Danielsson, and percussionist Xavier Desandre Navarre. Both Same Girl and Lento went Gold in Germany and France, thanks in no small part to her near-constant touring. The latter album won the Korean Music Award in her home country and she appeared at the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The following year, The National Theatre of Korea appointed her artistic director of the 2015 edition of the Korean traditional Music Festival Yeowoorak. In its aftermath she undertook a brief tour before heading back into the studio. In May of 2017, She Moves On was issued by Act. Produced by Jamie Saft (he also played keyboards), the set included tunes written specifically for her by Jamie and Vanessa Saft, an original, and covers of traditional folk and pop songs songs by Fairport Convention, Lou Reed, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Noel Paul Stookey, and Johnny Mercer. Sun Nah was accompanied not only by Saft, but guitarist Marc Ribot, bassist Dan Rieser, and a string quartet. Sun Nah followed the recording with a two-year tour.
© Andrew Leahey /TiVo


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