Korean tea and music ritual bound for Canada showcase

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Korean tea and music ritual bound for Canada showcase


Tea and music have been ways for Koreans to cultivate their minds throughout the ages. During the Joseon dynasty, the two genres were combined into what is now known as daak, or “Korean Tea Music.” Records state that during the Joseon Dynasty, music was played as part of the ritual of the king being served tea.
Daak includes four Korean traditional instruments along with dance, painting and performance art. In modern times, it serves as a way to sit back and enjoy the art of “slowness.”
The global market is taking notice as well. Cinars, a non-profit organization based in Canada that promotes the international exchange of performing arts, invited a Korean daak performance to their art market this November. In 2004, Cinars, the largest art market showcase, hosted more than 1,000 participants, including artists, agents and presenters from 55 countries. The event has been a model for other art markets to develop in countries such as Japan, Australia, Mexico, China and Singapore. The organization hosts its showcase every two years.
For five days, starting Nov. 14, the performing arts showcase will feature 28 performances, including classical music, theater, dance and performance arts.
This year marks the first time that a Korean work will be shown at the Cinars showcase. The event is meaningful in that it is both a commercial and a cultural exchange.
Kim Jung-su, president of The Society for New Composition in Korean Traditional Music, who has made efforts to merge traditional tea and music since 1998, said, “We recently got an invitation from the president of Cinars, Alain Pare,” adding, “I am glad that something other than Korean folk music, like samulnori or pansori, is being introduced to other countries.”
Mr. Kim said that the performance has also been invited to next March’s Auckland Festival in New Zealand.
The program scheduled for Montreal will showcase the highlights of daak, including a performing arts piece by Lim Hyeon-lak, a Korean traditional artist and professor at Kyungpook National University, a demonstration of Korean traditional painting and instrumental music from instruments including the daegeum, yanggeum and a geomungo trio.
Lee So-jung, the director of the international marketing division of the society, said, “Recently, in countries including the United States, there has been an increase in interest in zen meditation and meditation music. I think because of this, there is a growing interest in Korean traditional music as well, which is slow-paced but deep at the same time.”
She added, “With its roots in traditional Korean culture, Korean Tea Music has the potential to develop as a multimedia performance fit for the 21st century.”
Shim Geu-sun, a division head at the Performing Arts Market in Seoul noted, “Daak has allowed a door to open through which to introduce the Seoul art market internationally.”

by Lee Jang-jik
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