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ADG7: Tiny Desk Concert

How do you fit a gayageum and an ajaeng behind the Tiny Desk? That's the question I whispered into the ear of our Tiny Desk audio engineer, Josh Rogosin, when we first saw ADG7 playing those five-foot long string instruments at globalFEST in New York City at the top of 2020. The Tiny Desk team solved the puzzle and the nine-piece Korean band filled the room with joy and a sound that's unique in Tiny Desk history. ADG7 mixes traditional, shamanistic ritual sounds with Korean folk songs from Hwanghae Province. The group's full name is Ak Dan Gwang Chil: "Ak Dan" translates as band, while "Gwang Chil" is in honor of the band having formed during the 70th anniversary of Gwangbokjeol, the National Liberation Day of Korea. The music is from the band's 2020 album, Such is Life,and its self-titled 2017 album.

The three singers, Hong Ok, Myeong Wol and Yoo Wol, immediately capture my eyes and ears but my attention begins to sway toward Lee Man Wol, who appears to be blowing into a pipe organ she holds in her hands. The instrument is a saenghwang, just one of ADG7's transfixing instruments — including brilliant percussion and a large bamboo flute known as a daegeum played by bandleader Kim Yak Dae — that make this enthusiastic and adventurous concert an eye-opener.


  • "Whatever"  
  • "Yeong Jeong Geo Ri" 
  • "Hee Hee"

  • Hong Ok: vocals
  • Myeong Wol: vocals
  • Yoo Wol: vocals
  • Weon Meondongmaru: gayageum
  • Choi Byung Hwal: ajaeng
  • Chun Gung Dal: percussion
  • Sunwoo Barabarabarabam: percussion
  • Lee Man Wol: piri, saenghwang, taepyeongso
  • Kim Yak Dae: daegeum

  • Producer/Series Creator: Bob Boilen 
  • Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin 
  • Director: Kara Frame 
  • Series Producer: Bobby Carter 
  • Editor: Joshua Bryant
  • Videographers: Kara Frame, Michael Zamora, Pierre Kattar, Joshua Bryant
  • Audio Assistant: Andie Huether
  • Production Assistants: Jill Britton, Alanté Serene, Joby Tanseco
  • Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Marissa Lorusso, Hazel Cills, Ashley Pointer, Maia Stern
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
  • Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

    In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.