The Chuseok celebrations at Asia House on 12 October, though a couple of days late for the festival itself, were warmly received by a capacity audience.
Dr Keith Howard from SOAS gave a useful introduction to the meaning of Chuseok, and also explained the genesis of one of the instruments being played that evening — the 25- stringed kayageum.
We started with a sanjo on the 12-stringed kayageum played by Jang Yeo-nok, then a more modern toraji on the 25-stringed version of the instrument, played by Jong Ji-eung. Keith Howard on changgo then joined Jang Yeo-nok for a performance of Hwang Byunkg-ki’s popular Ch’imhangmu. A rather pretty piece for violin (Yi So-ra) and 25-string kayageum followed, called Calvary Hill; then a flower crown dance by Park Sun-nee, rather more active and fast-moving than I am used to in this sort of dance. Finally, a folk song medley ending with an arirang played by the two kayageum players brought the evening to its conclusion, when we retired next door for rice cakes and OB beer.
We were fortunate to have Kim Sungjoo (right) from the Sungjoo Group present. The group is a major sponsor of Asia House. One of its major activities is as franchisee for Marks and Spencer in Korea. So if you’re in Korea, make sure you shop at M&S. Indirectly, you’re supporting Korean culture in the UK.
More snaps from the event are here.