California’s Ensemble Mik Nawooj, mixing hip-hop and classical styles

Posted on: February 15, 2022

“If you’ve ever wondered what it’d sound like if you took the music of the Wu-Tang Clan and gave it to classically trained musicians, then you will want to know about Ensemble Mik Nawooj,” writes Grace Madigan in Thursday’s (2/10) KNKX radio (Seattle/Tacoma, WA). Founded in 2010 by JooWan Kim, the San Francisco Bay-based group “fuses the worlds of hip-hop and concert music together. Kim fell in love with classical music while growing up in Korea. But … after he moved to the U.S. to study it … he traded Bach for NWA…. The group calls themselves a ‘hip-hop orchestra’ that includes among other components a string quartet, bassoon and French horn. As the members prepare for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer, they’re taking their show on the road. Sandman is the group’s emcee, and he explained some of the unique things the band is doing … like rapping in five-four time versus the standard four-four time that almost all hip-hop songs are in…. Kim [intends] to push the boundaries of both hip-hop and concert music … to create something completely new. ‘I’ve always been the kind of person that wanted to break everything,’ Kim said.”