Egberto Gismonti, Brazilian composer and multi-instrumentalist, writes on Korean-born vocalist Yeahwon Shin’s website, “Some joys in my life happened without programming.” He refers to her rendition of his song “A Memoria e o Fado.” On a live video clip on YouTube shot in 2008 in her native land, Shin intones the delicate melody backed by percussionist Valtinho Anastacio and, on piano, Gismonti himself.
Her performance is nuanced and controlled, as the video shows. She begins, almost whispering, in Portuguese, a language she mastered after five years’ study. As the song progresses, especially after a duet episode by Gismonti and Anastacio, the passion in her voice swells. The three musicians interact fully.
Having come to New York in 2005 to attend the New School Jazz and Contemporary Music program, Shin is now a graduate and permanent U.S. resident. She’s appearing late this spring at Zinc Bar and SOB’s with a band led by guitarist Sun Chun, producer of her eponymously titled debut recording Yeahwon, a project from the do-it-yourself platform ArtistsShare.
Shin and Chun run with the fast crowd: the CD and their gigs feature up ‘n’ coming New York jazzers tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, pianist Kevin Hays and percussionist Scott Kettner. A Korean vocalist singing Brazilian novo jazz in Portuguese in New York. Naturally.