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Featuring traditional fan dances and instrumental ensembles to modern pop and rock
The Scottish Rite Auditorium, adorned with mosaics and Renaissance-esque paintings, broke away from its European atmosphere to host the Korean Cultural Night on June 29th.
Despite some seating confusion at the beginning of the show, once everyone settled down, the audiences were prepared to be amazed at the range of performances that unraveled throughout the night. The first act focused on the traditional aspect of the culture with musical ensembles and dances. In the "Instrumental Music Ensemble," the sounds of traditional instruments such as the Gayagum, Ajaeng, and Haegum delighted the ears while in "Buchaechum," the sight of dancers in bright, colorful hanboks twirling with their fans delighted the eyes.
"Samulnori and Hawking" was a performance that expressed the harmony of wind and string instruments. The initial beat of the drums were slow and pulsating then would build up quicker and louder, with each subsequent beat boosting the energy of the audience. Suddenly, the soothing sounds of the flute and strings would come in, creating a feeling of nostalgia. Almost in a strangely harmonious cacophony, the drums and the flutes would adjoin, inviting the audience to an musical emotional rollercoaster.
The crowd was given a taste of a different type of drumming; that of "Samgomu" where performers would beat on three drums hung on three sides. As always, there was amazing synchrony as the drummers played different beats while accomplishing incredible back bends. However, one of the highlights of the event was the "Pangut" (farmers music) where performers would play on the drums while performing the yeol-du-bal-chae-sang, a dance that requires the person to wear a special hat with a 3.6 meter long ribbon attached. The spinning of the hat and the flowing of the ribbon, accentuated by the sounds of the drums helped to create an interesting image.
Breaking away from the traditional element, the second act ushered in the modern with performances by Korean singers. Dubbed as the Mariah Carey of Korea, Park Jung Hyun (Lena Park) awed the audiences with her strong and passionate vocals as she belted out soulful ballads. Formerly a member of the group Panic known for its experimental and exceptional style, Lee Juck continued on his former group's work as he delivered a unique blend of R&B, funk, and pop. Han Young Ae, who began her career in the '60s, brought back some old school music, and probably quite a few memories for some of the elderly audience members, as she delivered her soulful, jazzy songs.
Date Posted: 6/9/2004