I can touch my toes for the first time in ages. Such is the effect of sitting on the floor crouching over a drum for three hours solid, four days on the trot.
Things were going swimmingly yesterday. We had all done our homework. We were remembering everything, doing the breathing, and actually laughing and enjoying ourselves rather than concentrating furiously on getting it right. So the instructors decided to make things more interesting. Let’s cut the samulnori hwimori, they said, and go straight from the obangjin to the third line of the drum-only hwimori, make a quick change to that line, and, hey, didn’t we tell you, there’s a whole new page we haven’t taught you yet.
We set to it, and amazingly by the end of the evening we had the whole set (pdf here) pretty much in the bag. The instructors even tried to get a bit of subtlety into our playing – some louds and softs, stressing the second beat of the line rather than the first, and suchlike. I’m not sure how much subtlety will come across on the day but we’ll give it a go.
We were joined by another member of the troupe yesterday: a very well built chap who hurled himself into the drumming with great vigour, and within a couple of minutes had more sweat-marks on his t-shirt than a supporting actor in Kojak. We were also competing with a SOAS graduation party outside. A live band was playing some jolly Latin music. As they moved into a gentle rendition of one of the numbers from the Buena Vista Social Club’s CD, we launched a barrage from the Obangjin. It was no contest, and the new graduates were soon dispersed.
I just took a look at the poster advertising tonight’s concert (7pm at SOAS main entrance). It promises some of those games we were playing on Wednesday night. Oh Lordy, I hope we weren’t supposed to remember them. We haven’t been taught the stick-twirling trick yet…
We have a last minute practice at 6pm, then we’re on. Hope to see some of you there.