A world festival of soundThe diverse music of the lands along the ancient Silk Road trading route can be explored and enjoyed at the 3d Jeonju International Festival of Sound, beginning Saturday and lasting 10 days.
Along with the foreign music, Korean traditional styles such as arirang and pansori, an emotionally laden singing style that is soon to be designated a UNESCO “world cultural property,” will play a prominent role at the festival.
The music of Turkey, Iran, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, nations found along the famous Silk Road, as well as those of Oman, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Vietnam, which lie along an ancient sea trading route, will be ringing through the air in this North Jeolla province city over the next two weeks.
Organizers have also planned a fusion show for the festival. The show consists of performers, known collectively as Orchestra Asia, playing a medley of Chinese, Japanese and Korean styles, using each country’s respective traditional instruments.
Appropriately enough, the theme of this year’s festival, “Sound, Road, Meeting,” represents the coming together of musical styles belonging to many widely dispersed nations and peoples.
Though the focus is on Silk Road countries, one of the scheduled highlights involves talent from Spain, which did not lie along the ancient trading route whose name came from the fact that it was known for the tranportation of silk and other precious commodities.
The Spain Millennium Chorus will perform the traditional Spanish operetta “Zarzuela.” Inessa Galante, a well-known Russian soprano, will also appear.
Combining foreign musical groups with those from Korea should allow visitors to better compare the sounds from different cultures, organizers said.
“It would be meaningless to exclude the music of foreign countries outside the Silk Road,” said Yang Seung-su, the festival manager. “Not only would we not be able to compare the music, but it would be like leaving out a great part of the musical world.”
The festival kicks off with the melodies of the 2003 Festival Chorus. It will close 10 days later with some hints of what’s to come next year.
Events take place at one of two venues: the Jeonju Traditional Culture Center and the Korean Hall of Sound Culture.
Most concerts begin at 2 p.m. or later.
From complex performances strictly for dedicated music aficionados to easy-to-understand shows and classes for children, the festival is geared for all age groups and musical backgrounds.
by Lee Jung-bi
For ticket reservations, go to www.sorifestival.com or www.ticketlink.co.kr.
Tickets can also be purchased locally at the Kyobo Book Centre in downtown Seoul. Call (063) 232-0708 for more information.
Ticket prices range from 5,000 won ($4.30) to a maximum of 50,000 won for the larger concerts. Several shows are free.