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Asia Society - Upper East Manhattan NYC

Apr 24, 2014 at 02:33 pm by mikewood

Asia Society NYC upper east side things to do

The Asia Society NYC - Bora Yoon Performance

Acoustic Performance by Bora Yoon At Asia Society

asia society upper east side nycApril 23, 2014 / Upper East Side Neighborhood / Things To Do Manhattan / Midtown Buzz. I had an opportunity to attend the CD Release Party for Bora Yoon at the Asia Society on Manhattan's Upper East Side. I arrived a bit early to meet with April, her publicist, for a quick briefing.

I took a bit of time to look around the Asia Society which has an indoor courtyard, galleries and a theater. The Asia Society hosts art and cultural exhibits and performances on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I found a spot in the downstairs theater after chatting briefly with the Asia Society sound man, and I settled in before the performance began.

The lights dimmed. The theater grew quiet. And Bora Yoon's voice came in clearly, etherially and angelically ... filling the theatrical space with a heavenly aria. I could barely see her coming from the back of the theater, as she moved slowly and deliberately from the top of the stairs down to the stage at the front of the sunken cathedral. Her movements were quiet and gentle, and her voice soothing.

The artistic performance of Bora Yoon’s Sunken Cathedral had begun.

Click here to read more about the artistic acoustical performance of Bora Yoon at the Asia Society on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

The Asia Society NYC - Bora Yoon Performance

Acoustic Performance by Bora Yoon At Asia Society

sunken cathedral asia societyApril 23, 2014 / Upper East Side Neighborhood / Things To Do Manhattan / Midtown Buzz.


Bora's operatic vocals were surrounded with a variety of acoustic accompaniment. Soft Buddhist chimes and Christian church bells rang in the background. Time steadily ticked away measured by the sound of a grandfather’s clock.


The film screen at the front of the theater show visuals of a very soft gentle blanket-like surface; changing like the surface of water in slow motion, by a changing, gentle breeze. Everything in the performance - Bora, her vocals, the cinematic visuals and the acoustical vibrations - are moving slowly and steadily onward, like the march of time itself.


asia society nycPoetic sentences and phrases began to enter the theater, talking about the “corridors of the mind … memories preserved and presented back to us to transform … what you don’t deal with deals with you … “ and the grandfather’s clock tick tocked on.


A distant ancient radio broadcast began to come in. It was blurry, with the scattered and annoying ambient noise that was omnipresent in the early days of radio transmissions.


We listeneed to the pleasantries of the hollow wooden knocking sounds of a Buddhist monastery … the eastern yogic chimes … and small gongs, ding dong bong … as we continued on our journey through the cinematic cathedral doors into timelessness.

We see a clock. Then a stairwell, or is it an ancient fossil, or is it both? Like the radio broadcast, what we see is first dim and indistinct, and eventually we're able to tune in and separate the indistinct contrasts to view the objects on the cinematic film.

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The drums beat a light trot as the images on the screen change. The sea of imagery is constantly changing, slowly and constantly. We become aware of the space we occupy and the moments within.


We were witnesses to the Bora Yoon CD release performance at the Asia Society on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Bora's work contained an Asian influence which was inherent in what she did. Not just the fashion of the silky violet dress, the drums, bells and other eastern percussions, the Asian platforms on which Bora and the drummer performed - but in the philosophy and essence of the performance itself.


The timelessness of time. The wisdom of the ancients. Being here. Now.

asia society bora yoon photos

The drums stopped. The audience clapped. And Bora began playing piano on the keyboard.

Her soft, gentle whispering voice came into the theater on a separate soundtrack. It was if she was sitting next to us, whispering sweet somethings into our ears.


She checks her voicemails and deletes them. And in her clear musical vocals she tells us that each place, each space has a rhythm. A vibration. And I can't help but believe her.


There’s a black and white net on the screen. It seems to symbolize the web of life that surrounds and perhaps even engulfs us. The web of humanity. The web surrounds and clings to a statue, symbolizing that we are all caught in the web of life ... no man is an island. Bora sings and plays and whispers onward.

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She stops. It’s quiet.



There’s a hearth-like fire on stage. She goes to it and stokes the ashes. Seemingly invisible hands are found behind lace curtains on the screen. They are moving slowly, gently and continually. Her mother is talking to her over the telephone on the sound system as Bora prepares a meal.


Bora begins murmuring a melodic tune. Her mother’s talk evolves into a knit of prickly criticism and becomes a bit annoying, like the static noise of the radio asia society manhattanbroadcast and the lack on contrast in some of the cinematic visuals before they are made clear. The drums and hollow sticks accompany Bora's tune. Bora's mother tells her she can’t do everything for her.


There’s smoke on the screen, slowly billowing onto it, before it disappears …



I had to go.

Thank you Bora Yoon for an introspective and insightful performance. And send my regards to your mother.

Bora Yoon Photo Slide Show - At Asia Society NYC Manhattan

Click this link to go to a photo slide show of the Bora Yoon performance at the Asia Society on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in NYC. Click here to view a map of the Asia Society in the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan.


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