Modern interpretations of Korean folk songs and pansori l KBS WORLD


There is an old saying in Korea that goes, “Very good things are like water. Water changes shape in a different environment but still retains its properties. Thus, the adage implies that it is best to retain its natural qualities while adapting flexibly to the environment. Even good intentions can undermine the relationship with others if such intentions are imposed. Rather than making changes in others, it could end up hurting yourself. Traditional culture works the same way. It is important to preserve the original form, but it would be nicer for many if the tradition adapted to modern society and naturally integrated into our daily life. Today’s Sounds of Korea episode will feature modern folk songs and pansori songs. The first song is “Doraji”, which means bellflower, sung by SinaKowan Duo.

Doraji / Sung by SinaKowan Duo

Gyeonggi-do’s folk song “Doraji” sounds different this way, doesn’t it? SinaKowan Duo is a jazz duo composed of Korean jazz singer Sina and French guitarist Regis Coisne 헤지스 코완 and formed in 2007. The two musicians released an album called “Korean Music Jazz-Folk” in 2017. Fascinated by Korean songs Regis Coisne reportedly offered to do the album first and even personally arranged and recorded the songs. It is obvious that he took great care in making this album. Many Koreans were wary of the fusion gugak genre as some combinations of traditional and modern elements turned out to be quite awkward. But recently there have been a lot of integrations of different factors resulting in some pretty refreshing and unique works. The next piece is a folk song and a pansori piece sung a cappella. The term a cappella comes from medieval religious music. In the Middle Ages, the purpose of church music was to communicate religious meanings, so songs were played without music so that listeners paid more attention to the lyrics. Nowadays, a cappella music refers to a singer or a group of singers performing without instrumental accompaniment. The first track is “Like Seeing a Flower in December” sung by the Maytree music group, followed by a passage from the pansori “Chunhyangga 춘향가” where government inspector Lee Mong-ryong 이몽룡 shows up at the birthday party. of magistrate Byeon sung by Toris.

Like seeing a flower in December / Sung by Maytree

Passage of the pansori “Chunhyangga” / Sung by Toris

Maytree is an a cappella group formed in 1999. “Like Seeing a Flower in December” was commissioned by Miryang City 밀양 and the Miryang Cultural Foundation as part of the Miryang Arirang Globalization Contents project. Maytree, who wrote the song, is made up of gugak singers and is the only a capella group in Korea that specializes in traditional folk songs and pansori songs. The attributes of regional folk songs are called “tori” in Korean. The name of the group Toris means a collection of characteristics of folk songs from different regions. Today’s last piece is “Catch a Rabbit” by Soriquete 소리 께 ë–¼, a group made up of flamenco guitarist Park Sung-jin, singer sori Jeong Ae-seon and dancer Choi Yu-mi. The name of the group Soriquete is a combination of the term gugak sori which means a song and the flamenco term soniquete 소니 께 ë–¼, which refers to free rhythm. The pansori tune “Catch a Rabbit” is featured when the rabbit was tricked by the turtle and taken to the Underwater Palace of the Sea God. The bewildered and frightened emotions of the rabbit are well represented in the fast rhythm of the guitar . Try to imagine what kind of dance moves go well with such music. Here is Soriquete performing “Catch a Rabbit”.

Catch a rabbit / Sung by Soriquete

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