Fusion Concert Showcases Only Individual Talents

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Fusion Concert Showcases Only Individual Talents

It takes more than a mixture of ingredients to create successful fusion cuisine. Two very different styles of food must be blended into an original and harmoniously balanced new dish. This applies equally to musical concoctions. A classical composer turning his hand to pop, or opera and jazz singers taking positions on the same stage - good results are by no means guaranteed.

Last Sunday "Fusion Concert 2000" was held to celebrate 2000, designated as the year of new art, at the National Theater of Korea. The concert unfortunately proved that new art cannot be created simply by exchanging genres.

The initial concept of the concert was to display "popular music composed by Korean contemporary music artists." This music was envisaged to revive the local pop music scene, which is increasingly dominated by teeny-bopper party and dance genres. However, the stage esentially remained the property of the pop artists, and the participation of the composers appeared token.

The concert - featuring more than 10 singers - was produced within a month, in which time only two full dress rehearsals took place. Only a handful of the music was directed by the original composers. Indeed, two of the songs had previously debuted elsewhere.

The rest of the concert dissipated into new versions of old favorites. "The Girl from Ipanema," performed by jazz singer So Yong-eun and hip-hop group Poets on Street could not be called "fusion," but merely a rehash of sounds from their usual gigs. Although Korean percussion or 'samulnori' musicians have a great deal of experience in creating musical crossovers, even here the outcome was a disappointment as there were too many instruments clashing with the samulnori drums. Rather than an effervescent explosion of different musical strands, it seemed the audience was rather left wondering whether too many cooks don't spoil a good broth.



by Lee Chang-jik

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