World's Largest Drum Heads for the Seoul Drum FestivalThe world's largest drum is the Ireland Millennium Drum, according to the Guiness World Records book.
Its nearest rival, built in Alaska, is only half its size. The Irish drum has a diameter of 4.72 meters and a width of 1.91 meters. First played in last year's St. Patrick's Day Festival in Dublin, the Millennium Drum is scheduled to make an appearance in the Seoul Drum Festival 2000.
"The drum is a universal musical instrument that brings people together, inspires hope and gives amusement while attracting attention," said Seoul Mayor Goh Kun.
Seoul is hosting the festival for the second year in a row on Oct. 26-29 to celebrate Seoul Citizen's Day and the potential for reconciliation with North Korea.
"The increased significance of this festival will be to celebrate the outstanding achievement of our president, Kim Dae-jung, in winning the Nobel Peace Prize this year," said Lee Jong-duck, president of the Sejong Cultural Center, one festival venue.
National and foreign percussionists will perform at Sejong, located in Gwanghwamun, Maronia Park in Daehangro, and other locations around Seoul. Most of the performers will play the traditional music of the countries they represent.
Nanta, one of the 11 Korean performing groups, offers a musical theater performance that presents traditional Korean Samulnori － a four percussion instrument ensemble － in a Western format. Renowned artist Park Byung-chun will perform the "jindo" drum dance, recognized as a national cultural treasure. Poonjang specializes in Choongchung Province's "dure," a village fight reenactment.
Promo is one of 15 international troupes. A Polynesian group from the United States will play Hawaiian music. Thailand's Chan Song Klod will be led by Chan Charoon Sam-now, who specializes in Sukhothai folk dancing, a region in the north of Thailand. Denmark's Pace is a trio that infuses a modern groove into classical pieces. On Sunday, the last day of the festival, all the troupes will join for a 4 p.m. parade that starts at Sejong Center. For more information, call (02) 3991-699 or look up www.drumfestival.co.kr.
by Joe Yonghee