The first K-music events this year will be held at the British Museum, and are designed to celebrate Chuseok. Watch this space for announcements of the various family-oriented events at the museum over these three days.
Jeong Ga Ak Hoe
Thursday 15 Sept, 11am & 3pm
Friday 16 Sept, 6pm & 7:30pm
Saturday 17 Sept 11am & 2pm
British Museum Great Court / BP Lecture Theatre / Korea Gallery (more details soon)
Seoul-based Jeong Ga Ak Hoe perform ancient and newly composed works for traditional instruments, finding a balance between the old and the new. They explore the shamanistic inspiration in Korean music and draw on forms such as Pansori, giving it a contemporary relevance. They have toured widely in the US and Europe but this will be their first ever visit to the UK and this concert will draw on the folk songs and ritualistic music of North Korea “from an era when the Korean peninsula was whole” and harks back to the Korean travelling music groups of the 1940s.
Programme details for the afternoon concert at the British Museum on 15 September:
An Minyoung: vocalist
Bang Chorong: daegeum, danso, vocalist
Chun Hyunjun: percussion
Chun Jaehyun: geomungo
Ha Sora: gayageum
Kim Hyunsoo: daegeum
Lee Hyanghee: saenghwang, piri, vocalist
Park Hyerim: ajaeng
Sunwoo Jinyoung: percussion
Wang Heerim: vocalist
Director: Chun Jaehyun
Musical Director: Jung Saerom
Mitan (미탄) (7 1/2 minutes)
Daegeum (Kim Hyunsoo and Bang Chorong); saenghwang (Lee Hyanghee); percussion (Chun Hyunjun and Sunwoo Jinyoung)
Mitan, meaning beautiful brook, is located in central Korea. This piece expresses the spirit and nature of Mitan and its citizens. The melodies created in the pairing and interplay between daegeum and saenghwang showcase the beauty of Korean wind instruments.
I’yaong (이야옹) (6 minutes)
Gayageum (Ha Sora); ajaeng (Park Hyerim); daegeum (Kim Hyunsoo); pill (Lee Hyanghee); percussion (Chun Hyunjun and Sunwoo Jinyoung); danso (Bang Chorong); vocals (Bang Chorong, Wang Heerim and An Minyoung)
Based on a folk song of Jeju Island, through the combination of singing, dance, and music, this piece laments the destruction of nature due to human greed.
Yeom’yangchun (염양초) (5 minutes)
Daegeum (Kim Hyunsoo); saenghwang (Lee Hyanghee); gayageum (Ha Sora); ajaeng (Park Hyerim)
The notion of yeom’yangchun (glorious springtime) was the inspiration for this piece. The lyrical melodies build up to represent the coming and blossoming of spring.
Beompi jungnyu (범피중류) (9 minutes)
Gayageum (Ha Sora); ajaeng (Park Hyerim); daegeum (Kim Hyunsoo); saenghwang (Lee Hyanghee); percussion (Chun Hyunjun and Sunwoo Jinyoung), vocal (An Minyoung)
This piece is from the famous pansori Simcheongga, a tale about a filial daughter. This scene is the dramatic moment when Simcheong sacrifices herself and drowns in the ocean to cure her father’s blindness. The drama and tension of the scene is depicted through the music.
Jeong Ga Ak Hoe Arirang 1 — Allio version 1 (정가악회 아리랑 1 — 알리오 version 1) (15 mins)
Gayageum (Ha Sora); ajaeng (Park Hyerim); percussion (Chun Hyunjun, Kim Hyunsoo, and Sunwoo Jinyoung); vocals (An Minyoung, Lee Hyanghee, Wang Heerim, and Bang Chorong)
Arirang is the most renowned Korean folk song. There is a theory that the word arirang stems from the word allio (knowing). Jeong Ga Ak Hoe’s interpretation empathetically focuses on mothers who live for their children. With the vocal styles beompae (Buddhist chanting) and pansori accompanied by string and percussion instruments, the piece captures the beautiful natural landscape of Korea.
Susimga — What shall I do? (수심가 — 나 어이 할까요?) (4 minutes)
Gayageum (Ha Sora); saenghwang (Lee Hyanghee), vocal (Wang Heerim)
Susimga is a folk song of the Seodo region, now northwest North Korea. The song expresses the longing to meet someone in a dream. The music, lyrics, and added spoken phrase of “what shall I do?” convey the yearning and desire to meet, particularly pointed toward the meeting of North and South Koreas.
Nanbongga (난봉가) (5 minutes)
Gayageum (Ha Sora); ajaeng (Park Hyerim); daegeum (Kim Hyunsoo); pin (Lee Hyanghee); percussion (Chun Hyunjun and Sunwoo Jinyoung); vocal (Bang Chorong, Wang Heerim, and An Minyoung)
This is another folk song from the Seodo region. The gayageum, ajaeng, daegeum, piri and percussion create a lively and spirited atmosphere. Like the word nanbong (paramour), the piece ends with a crescendo to leave a strong impression.
(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.