Yiruma's latest album Blind Film shows his sensitive side

Yiruma's latest album Blind Film shows his sensitive side

Composer and pianist Yiruma likes to keep things simple, but tells Melanie Leung how his music has matured


Yiruma's beautiful melodies are felt beyond the classical music world.
Yiruma's beautiful melodies are felt beyond the classical music world.
Photo: Sony Music

The beautiful melodies created by South Korean composer and pianist Yiruma usually have a strong idea behind them.

"The same road, the same sky ... like a scene from the movie ... I'm playing the scene," is how the soft-spoken 36-year-old describes the opening song on his latest album, Blind Film.

While most musicians try to stand out by showing off their technical ability, Yiruma prefers to keep it simple. His work has appeared on popular soundtracks, and he even wrote the main theme for the KBS drama Spring Waltz

"What I'm doing now is writing piano music that can be played by many people," says Yiruma, who began playing the piano aged five.

When it comes to his music, less really is more. Yiruma's simple yet beautiful melodies are perfect for musical novices to show off their skills. His most well-known song, River Flows in You, has been viewed millions of times on YouTube and attracted countless covers from both beginners and professional musicians.

While composing comes easily to Yiruma, it takes him a little more thought when asked to describe himself. 

"I'm very feminine, and quite sensitive - and it shows through my music, I think," he finally says, adding that this might be because he grew up with two older sisters.

Blind Film, Yiruma's eighth studio album which was released last year, maintains his signature tranquility while also managing to show a more complex side. 

Although Yiruma is humble enough to say there is nothing particularly special about the album, the melodies contain a less noticeable tension than on previous releases.

Yiruma - real name Lee Ru-ma - explains that when he was younger, the main subject of his music was love. But now married with a six-year-old daughter, his creative process has matured. He compares it to painting, and describes Blind Film as "visual music".

Despite being a classical pianist, Yiruma's influence is felt on popular music. He recently collaborated with Super Junior-M member Henry Lau on a new version of River Flow in You. EXO's Park Chan-yeol, SHINee member Lee Tae-min and actor Seo Kang-joon have all chosen to perform his tunes on TV.

Next month, Yiruma is hitting Hong Kong for the first time. During his concerts, he likes to pick a member of the audience and improvise a piece for him or her, and he's just a tad anxious about doing it in our city.

"I don't know what [Hongkongers] are like," he says. "Are they enthusiastic or shy?" 

Well Yiruma, shy or enthusiastic, you can be sure we'll be giving you a warm welcome when you arrive.

Yiruma will perform on October 8 at Star Hall, Kitec.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Songs for the sensitive


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