중앙데일리

Southern tunes swing by Korea

Mar 12,2008
From left: Daniel Margolies, Chuck Hornemann and Todd Cambio play banjo, fiddle and guitar in a performance at Seoul’s Sogang University last Wednesday. By Moon Gwang-lip
In a country where American culture is mostly consumed through mass media, Koreans can only take in true Americana to a limited extent.
To fill a gap in American culture in Korea, a trio of musicians from the U.S. Midwest crossed the Pacific earlier this month.
Southern musical heritage is a hidden facet of America that could enhance Korean understanding of one of its diplomatic allies, said Daniel Margolies, 39, and two other musicians who comprise his band.
At a concert last Wednesday at Sogang University, some 50 people in the audience were able to see for themselves.
As Margolies and his bandmates, Todd Cambio, 36, and Chuck Hornemann, 32, played, the audience nodded or clapped along with their tunes. The three musicians played the fiddle, banjo and guitar.
The audience included some Americans, but Korean students and professors comprised the majority.
Margolies is a visiting scholar in American history on a one-year Fulbright scholarship at Sogang, located in Sinchon, central Seoul.
Audience members included Bae Keon-u, 22, a Sogang sophomore majoring in American studies,
“It was very a cheerful sound,” Bae said. “It reminds me of the American West, full of vitality.”
Another Sogang sophomore, Yoo dong-yeon, 21, said, “It was very different from what I knew of America. It is more of varied and enriched.”
The band was an impromptu project started when Margolies, who is also a professor from the University of Wisconsin, had a meal with John Dyson, a cultural affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul.
Margolies told Dyson that his friend Hornemann was visiting soon. Dyson, who knew that Margolies and Hornemann were musicians, suggested they perform in Korea with the financial support of the embassy.
“It just kind of snowballed,” Margolies said. “We realized it’s better to have a guitar player.”
So the embassy paid the way for Hornemann and Cambio, who have performed with Margolies since they attended the University of Wisconsin.
Spontaneous as it was, the project was a necessity for his students, said Margolies. The trio gave five performances in Seoul last week. Wednesday’s was their third.
“What I hope is that the students got 100 percent enjoyment,” Margolies said. Knowing the different regional cultures of America is the best way to understand the country, he said.
Margolies said his band’s genre of music is part of an American subculture enjoyed by a limited number of people in a limited area.
Still, its influence and quality is undeniable, he said.
“That is the most American thing about it,” he said of the music. He said Southern music is unique because it is a mixture of African and European cultures, which became the roots of mainstream music such as blues, country and rock and roll.
“Southern music is simply better music,” Margolies said. “That’s why people play it.”
But the “great American tradition,” is on the decline, because the younger generation is losing interest in it, the musicians said.
“Young people just want to play modern kinds of music, and I am sure it’s the same in Korea,” Cambio said.
In Korea for the first time, Cambio, a guitar maker, and Hornemann, a chemical engineer, appreciated the attention.
“I don’t think I would have had a chance to see any part of Asia,” Hornemann said. “It’s a chance to share a culture.”
Said Cambio: “It just goes to show that if you start playing an instrument, you never know where it may lead you. It opens you to all kinds of new adventures.”


By Moon Gwang-lip Staff Reporter [joe@joongang.co.kr]



dictionary dictionary | 프린트 메일로보내기 내블로그에 저장