KIHNOUA is a term borrowed from ancient Greek might have meant “the difference.” This ensemble was formed by Larry Ochs in 2007 to play some new changes. A long-time fan of traditional Korean p’ansori singing and of Korean sinawi improvisation, it is with great pleasure that we attempt to intermingle the very new thoughts, sounds and structures of “Western improvised music” with the very ancient sounds of Korea and other folk-music influences from Asia. Africa and Europe. The band’s core is Scott Amendola on drums and electronics, Dohee Lee on vocals with Ochs writing the compositions and playing saxophones.
*Guest musicians added to the band for USA performances: Joan Jeanrenaud, Zeena Parkins, Carla Kihlstedt, William Winant, Okkyung Lee, Trevor Dunn and Devin Hoff. A first tour to Europe took place in November 2008 with Okkyung Lee joining Kihnoua on cello. A second Euro tour in 2010 found Wilbert de Joode (Netherlands) joining the band on bass (except in Moscow where Kihnoua welcomed Vladimir Volkov on bass).
The band’s first CD was released in 2010 on the Not Two label. Entitled Unauthorized Caprices, it features the core trio plus guests Fred Frith, Joan Jeanrenaud, and Liz Allbee. A second CD, The Sybils Whisper, appeared on the Metalanguage label in 2012.
A review of the band playing on Moscow in 2010 follows (translated from the Russian):
The Unity of Opposites: Ethno-garde project "Kihnoua" in "School of Dramatic Art" By Dmitry Ukhov
Despite the fact that the ensemble "Kihnoua" played (in Moscow) between the May holidays, the hall "Manege" in Sretenka was full, since the initiator of the project, saxophonist and composer Larry Ochs, is known to us since 1983. In that year one of the two Saxophone Quartets which were existing at the time (Rova), by some miracle managed to play Moscow and Leningrad joining a group of peacekeepers, or just foreign tourists. In mid-1980's Rova hosted in California, our trio Ganelin - Tarasov - Chekasin and then in 1989 came to Russia for an ‘official’ tour. At the beginning of this 2010 season, Ochs’ trio Jones, Jones (with the aformentioned Tarasov and Mark Dresser on bass) played in the same hall and presented their debut CD (produced by the Moscow label SoLyd Records) during the 3rd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art.
And now a completely new project of Ochs ‘Kihnoua’ tours the Old World to promote the album Unauthorized Caprices (“Unauthorized Capriccios", or "unlawful whims") which is published not anywhere, but again in Eastern Europe, by the Polish avant-jazz label NotTwo, which as our SoLyd, does not bend under any difficulty. Thus, the increased attention in our new jazz community to Larry Ochs’ work, is, so to say, mutual.
The resulting quartet show in the "School of Dramatic Art" presented six pieces (three for each set ) – both from Unauthorized Caprices and also brand new ones, even yet untitled. Explicitly programmatic titles seem to be important for Ochs, he names pieces in the sort of traditional Eastern ethnic fashion: "Weightless", "Less than a wind", “Slat” and "Flutters".
I won’t call Dohee Lee’s natural voice of a particular brightness, but her skills let her do at least three things quite professionally, that are 1/recitative-patter of the Korean opera origin (for those who do not know Korean it sounds like a jazz scat or hip-hop rap); 2/ rapid transition to broad cantilena melody and shamanistic incantations, sort of horror screams and growls. It does not make sense to compare Dohee Lee with our avant-garde Tuvan Sainkho (Namchylak) or her young Canadian rival Tanya Tagaq (who, incidentally, has worked not only with Bjork, but with Scott Amendola as well). But it is the stage acting where Lee clearly would win.
Unlike Sainkho, whose stage presence tends literally to suppress everybody else on stage, Dohee Lee clearly observes 'mutual responsibility' of an improvising collective. And this is accurately what Ochs needs for rendition of his works that have carefully notated thematic material for improvisation and precise instructions, to whom, how and when to develop it. However, the first part of the concert gave the impression of almost spontaneous collective improvisation, despite the fact that there were allusions to the classic free-jazz of the 60s, maybe John Coltrane and/or Pharoah Sanders (in Slat). As a result, the first part was like a prelude to the second part. Dohee Lee’s sparse theatrics, nevertheless, were not just part of her vocal performance, but sometimes served as a counterpoint to her own singing. Her voices became even more prominent when Scott Amendola switched to his Kaos pad. His electronics showed attracted the opposites impersonated not only by the singer, but also by Vladimir Volkov’s bass and the leader’s sopranino sax. Amendola’s soundscapes, particularly during the second part, also represented the unity of opposites: sounds of nature, corresponding to the names of pieces, but simultaneously he created "otherworldly" effects, not that primitive "space" sounds, but the sounds of which theatre directors of the pre-electric era dreamed, imagining the appearances of Ghost of Hamlet’s father. We do not have this unity of technology, tradition and ethnics in our new jazz at all.... It is therefore understandable why the second part of the concert was met with loud cheers.
(Original article can be fount at Newstime.Ru and reprinted on Russian Culture website)
Dohee Lee → Vocals
Dohee Lee (Korean performance artist, percussionist, dancer, vocalist) received her degree from Korea Art University where she studied Korean dance and music as a Master Major. Since immigrating to the Bay Area, Ms. Lee has been a vital contributor to both the traditional and contemporary Asian American cultural arts landscape of the Bay Area and beyond. Some of the many accomplishments she has made in the past few years include being the resident artist and instructor of the Korean Youth Cultural Center, a community-based organization focused on Korean arts. She has performed in the Ethnic Dance Festival, the Dance Is Festival and the Asian American Dance Performance. Ms. Lee has also worked with several leaders of the Asian American creative arts scene, including dancer/choreographer Sue Li-Jue’s Facing East Dance & Music,saxophonist/composer Jeff Chan’s Turn of the Century, saxophonist Francis Wong, pianist Jon Jang and Chicago bassist Tatsu Aoki. She is a member of The Soundwave (fused jazz and Korean music group) and has collaborated with dance groups like Shinichi Iova Koga’s inkBoat.
Scott Amendola → Drums and Electronics Visit Website
Over the past 18 years Scott Amendola has toured, recorded, or performed with Scott Amendola Band, The Nels Cline Singers, Bill Frisell, Madeleine Peyroux, Charlie Hunter, Dave Liebman, John Zorn, Wadada Leo Smith, Jacky Terrasson, Satoko Fujii, Jenny Scheinman, Carla Kihlstedt, Shweta Jhaveri, Robin Holcomb and the Joe Goode Dance Group, Wayne Horvitz, Johnny Griffin, Viktor Krauss, Paul Plimley, Tony Furtado, Jack Walrath, Julian Priester, Sonny Simmons, Rova Saxophone Quartet, Pat Martino, Clarence Seay, Nels Cline, Peter Apfelbaum, Jim Campilongo, Bobby Black, Paul McCandless, Ben Goldberg, Mark Turner, , Primus, Nina Hagen, Phil Lesh, and others. He has toured extensively throughout Europe, North America and Australia.
Larry Ochs → Sopranino and Tenor Saxophones
Larry Ochs: performing with Rova Sax Quartet (1977 - present); Room (1986 - 1995); What We Live (1994 - present); Glenn Spearman Double Trio (1991 - 1998); John Lindberg Ensemble (1998 - 2002); Frith, Masaoka, and Ochs aka Maybe Monday (1997 - present); Larry Ochs Sax & Drumming Core (2000 - present); Larry Ochs Sax & Drumming Core (2000 - present); Peggy Lee, M. Masaoka, Ochs Trio (2004 - present). Recordings with all the previous groups. Unrecorded new bands: Jones Jones with Vladimir Tarasov and Mark Dresser (2007 - present); ODE with Lisle Ellis and Trevor Dunn plus rotating guest drummer (2006-present).
Collaborations and/or recordings with Wadada Leo Smith, Anthony Braxton, Terry Riley, Alvin Curran, Joan Jeanrenaud, George Lewis, India Cooke, Butch Morris, Dave Douglas, Barry Guy, Henry Kaiser, Steve Lacy, John Zorn, Andrew Cyrille, Gerry Hemingway, Tim Berne, Marilyn Crispell,, among others. Commissions from Meet the Composer and Chamber Music America, among others. Writing about the music at www.rova.org as well as in Arcana, edited by Lyn Hejinian and John Zorn.