Spiced with jazz, some old flavors find new lives

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Spiced with jazz, some old flavors find new lives

Among the many cultural events this month that celebrate Korea's staging of the World Cup is a series of concerts at the National Theater of Korea that promises to be a compelling blend of Korean traditional music styles, with some Western music mixed in.

The series starts June 16 and will run four days. Each day will have its own theme; the four themes are "New," "Calm," "Folk Song," and "Movement." The concerts will be held at the National Theater, which is near Namsan in Seoul. Korean royal court music, folk music and Buddhist music highlight the local traditional styles; jazz will be the Western flavor.

On the first day, a "fusion" concert will be held, performed by traditional music experts and a German jazz band, Salta Cello. The traditional instrument players, all government-designated "human cultural assets," will be Park Byeong-cheon, Lee Chun-hui and Chung Jae-guk. The drummer Nam Gung-yeon and the pianist Yang Bang-eon round out the ensemble. Afterward, a gayageum group, Four Seasons, will perform with the KBS Traditional Music Orchestra. The gayageum is a traditional zither-like instrument with 12 strings.

The second day will feature royal court music, Buddhist music, and a solo performance with a Korean flute. All of the musicians playing on Day 2 are associated with the National Center For Korean Traditional Performing Arts. Also, a Buddhist dance will be performed by Lee Ae-joo.

The third day will provide a good look at the culture of Korea's common classes in days past. Folk songs from the Gyeonggi region that deal with daily life and emotions will be performed. Also, elementary school children will sing a variety of folk songs.

A traditional shamanistic rite will serve as the highlight of the final day. The ritual honors the gods who watch over the home.

Two drum performances will be staged: one of the traditional drum jangu, and one by the band Zero Power.

Also, a traditional folk dance from the Jindo region will be performed. Each day's concert starts at 5 p.m. and runs for 90 minutes.

Admission is free, and the shows will be broadcast live on the radio on KBS 1FM (93.3 Mhz).

by Lee Young-ki

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