Reaching a new gugak audience

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Reaching a new gugak audience


National Gugak Center’s new logo. Provided by the center

Efforts to promote gugak, or Korean traditional music, has been a constant headache for gugak musicians. They’ve tried collaborating on stage with modern musicians and adding explanations of their songs into the performance. In a new attempt to popularize the performance, the National Gugak Center announced it has modified its logo to use the word “gugak.” Before, the center’s symbol instead explained the term in English as “Korean Traditional Performing Arts.” Now, the logo says “National Gugak Center.”

“Changing the corporate identity of the center means more than just revising the emblem. It signifies the gugak center’s goal, which is to popularize gugak,” said Kim Hae-sook, president of the National Gugak Center.

“The former name on the emblem, ‘Korean Traditional Performing Arts,’ has had little meaning for the past 20 years. Now, using the word ‘gugak,’ it contains a broader meaning encompassing music, dance and even Korean traditional culture,” she said.

This year, which is Kim’s second in charge, the state-run center will produce more creative and cohesive programs in a bid to publicize gugak.

“It’s time to think about the next generation, who will continue to preserve our culture. So, the performance this year will target young children, including infants and their parents,” Kim said. Upcoming programs for parents and babies include gugak musicals and “Concerts with Stroller,” which is a series of shows at the center’s garden where there is plenty of space for strollers.

According to the center, it is the first step to gaining younger fans, who often consider the performances too formal.

“In fact, Western music has become more popular and familiar to Koreans,” the president said. “We will invite young gugak musicians and Western musicians to fuse the two genres and continue making efforts to become closer to the modern audience.”

The center has also doubled its programs for holidays like Lunar New Year and Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving), when people like to watch traditional performing arts.

“Korean holidays are the best chance for us to show how gugak can be a great way to enjoy traditional holidays by bringing people together,” Kim said.

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