Promoting unity through ‘Arirang’

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Promoting unity through ‘Arirang’

Seven young women ― all ethnic Koreans from Yanbian, China ― recently created a Korean classical music group. The women are all alumni of the music college at Yanbian University and are attending graduate school at various universities in South Korea.
They have created a band called “Arirang Nangnang” and released an album under the same title.
The album “Arirang Nangnang” contains 11 Arirang versions, including the famous Milyang Arirang, Jindo Arirang, and Gangwondo Arirang from the South and Arirang songs sung in the North and in Yanbian.
The women began preparing for the album in January, when a local record label proposed that they perform music that could bring together the spirits of Koreans living in China, North Korea and South Korea.
Born of wealthy families in the Yanbian area, the young women are accomplished in the field of music and were considered aspiring artists in the region before coming to Korea to study further.
They said that they came to Korea because they wanted to study Korean classical music in particular.
“In North Korea or Yanbian, local music plays a leading role, but in South Korea, Western music is considered more important and more people are interested in it,” said Yoon Eun-hwa, who plays the janggu, a kind of hourglass-shaped drum.
The group “Arirang Nangnang” will perform at the “World Arirang Peace Festival,” which is scheduled to open at the Demilitarized Zone in late September. With this event acting as a springboard, the group hopes to create a compilation album of Korean classical music.
“We believe that our music could be one of the keys in unifying the country,” said Kim Eun-hee, a 28-year-old vocalist.
“Our hope is that North and South Koreans will be able to understand each other a little better through our music,” she added.

by Park Hye-min
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