‘Derry looked like a fairytale’: Korean band Odd Meter Fairy and the Jazzys' experience in Derry and their new album

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The sensational Odd Meter Fairy is releasing a new album with a track titled the ‘Streets of Derry’ detailing their love for Derry.

Coming all the way from South Korea, Odd Meter Fairy played at Derry’s annual Jazz Festival, blowing the crowd away and leaving the audience hungry for more.

Now with their new album ‘The Forest,’ you can listen to the band whenever you like.

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The Journal spoke with Odd Meter herself Mi-Kyeong Kim Doherty and her husband David Doherty, a Derry man.

Mi-Kyeong Kim, Keyboardist and Odd Meter Fairy.Mi-Kyeong Kim, Keyboardist and Odd Meter Fairy.
Mi-Kyeong Kim, Keyboardist and Odd Meter Fairy.

On their new album Mi-Kyeong said: “I started the record last September, at the time I had seven or eight songs already, now the record has been released with 11 tracks. Recording took two weeks, mixing and mastering took a long time. Originally I wanted a lot of the music released before the Derry Jazz festival.”

With the new album comes a new band, David explained: “Mi-Kyeong songs are quite complicated, her music doesn't stick to the traditional 4/4 time signatures of music. Dave explained none of her songs are in 4-4 3-7 8-5 most musicians hate that, cause you have to constantly be keeping time, she needed high level musicians to keep up.”

With their new album comes a heart-warming track for Derry folk tilted ‘The Streets of Derry’. Mi-Kyeong said: “It's actually my favourite song from this album.”

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Mi-Kyeong and David Doherty then told the story of her first trip to Derry during 2021-2022.

Odd Meter Fairy.Odd Meter Fairy.
Odd Meter Fairy.

Mi-Kyeong said: “It was my first time visiting Ireland and also Derry, I went to meet my Irish family after getting married in Korea. I was a little bit nervous. My first impression was, ‘this is amazing.’

David explained that they arrived during Christmas time and this amazed Mi-Kyeong, with the open-air festivities, the lights across the city and the Guildhall Christmas tree.

“Derry looked like a fairytale," said Mi-Kyeong.

David illustrated that Seoul is a perfect example of a metropolitan location. “There's no Christmas feeling there.”

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During the visit the two contracted Covid, keeping them in Derry for longer than they intended. Afterwards they spent their extended time exploring Derry safely, seeing Derry’s nature and landmarks.

What Mi-Kyeong loved the most from her stay was how welcoming and social the people here are. “In Korea when people are walking together they never say hi.” But in Derry she explained people would say hello walking past and generally be very sociable. “I thought it was amazing. That's what I want from life, lots of conversions with people.”

David described how in Seoul people keep to themselves and wouldn’t do the Derry nod and hello. He said that “even neighbours don’t even look at each other.”

Mi-Kyeong time in Derry is what inspired her song, she said: “I had a wonderful time and when I came back to Korea I made the song. I could easily imagine Derry, nature, Ireland and all the people. It actually didn't take me much time to make the song, as it was just so clear to me, the emotions.”

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Having the rare opportunity to share her music with another culture Mi-Kyeong reflected on the differences between a Korean live audiences and a Derry audience saying: “Derry people, I think they enjoy music with their heart, their emotion, but here in South Korea I think people enjoy their music more academically. Especially because I'm a jazz musician. It's important to me that I communicate my emotions when I play.”

She continued: “Usually when I play in Korea, people want to understand what's going on, their reactions are withdrawn, but they leave lots of comments after the performance, they send me messages like that. In Derry I could see their very emotions at that time, they were very pure and honest. I was happy playing, I love that type of communication. That's the big difference. Korean people hesitate to express their emotions but Derry people are not like that.”

David talked about his concerns about Odd Meter’s first performance in Derry saying: “It was interesting for me because this was the first time I seen Odd Meter Fairy play to a crowd who didn't know her music, I was worried that it would be tough since Derry didn't know who they are and what they are about.”

He continued: “Derry people, if you are rubbish they're going to tell you, they're going to ignore you, they're going to turn their back to you, talking, having a pint. And that's just the way it is, if it's not working, it's not working. I was personally so happy to see the brilliant reception she and the band got from the people of Derry, it warmed my heart.”

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Of course in Ireland you have to try the Guinness when you are here, David said: “The whole band was enjoying it.”

Mi-Kyeong shared her opinion saying: “Yes! it’s really different, it’s very good. I love Guinness!”

Whilst they were here they recorded their stay for their Youtube channel, they should have a short film up about their travel here in a month or so.

They will also be releasing videos from all their live performances here, in Bennigans, Sandinos and the Craft Village.

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Lastly will the couple and the band return to Derry and Ireland?

"Yeah I really want to come back, please tell Derry, I want to play more and more music there, and even better.” said Mi-Kyeong.

You can find their new album ‘The Forest’ and more here: https://linktr.ee/oddmeterfairy

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