Country Gongbang’s Opry debut

Country Gongbang makes their Grand Ole Opry debut (6/22/24) – photo courtesy the Grand Ole Opry

South Korean bluegrass band Country Gongbang had a big night last Saturday on their first US tour when they got to play on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville for the first time. They got the full debut treatment, with parking signs, names on the marquee, and everything.

The group consists of Yebin Kim on mandolin, Hyunho Jang on banjo, Jongsu Yoon on fiddle, Sunjae Won on guitar, Keeha Song on bass.

Their first visit to the US was for the 2023 World of Bluegrass convention in Raleigh, NC, where they were a featured showcase act. That trip was enabled through the IBMA’s International Band Performance Grant, which helps cover the travel expenses for deserving non-US bluegrass artists to attend and showcase at WOB.

Also included with the grant is an extended US tour the following year, which is what has brought the Gongbang back this month. They will be performing all over the country this next few weeks, and also got to play at The Station Inn last Friday night. They had already done the CBA Father’s Day festival as their first stop, and will appear this weekend at the Bluegrass Hall of Fame’s ROMP Festival in Owensboro, KY.

Though this talented young group sings primarily in their native language, you can immediately recognize it as good bluegrass music.

Here are a couple of songs from their second set at the CBA Fest.

Additional stops on the tour include:

  • July 5 – Forever Bluegrass Fridays (Chattanooga, TN)
  • July 6 – Museum at Five Points (Cleveland, TN)
  • July 11 – PPPP Proudly Presents (Cleveland, TN)
  • July 13-14 – Frankfort Bluegrass Festival (Frankfort, IL)
  • July 18-20 – Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival (Oak Hill, NY)
  • July 25-26 – Ossipee Valley Music Festival (Hiram, ME)

The IBMA put together this short video from Saturday night’s Opry.

The Opry shared some photos from the show, and we got a few more from the band. It does your heart good to see such bluegrass dreams come true for these fine pickers and singers, who learned the music back in their homeland.

The International Band Performance Grant is funded by donations from the public, so if this story moves you to contribute, you may do so online.

Many congratulations Country Gongbang!

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.