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Yeowoorak Festival brings together traditional elements of Korea

A festival spotlighting traditional Korean music is coming soon.

Under the title Yeowoorak, which is an abbreviation for the Korean sentence, “Yeogi Woori Eumagi itda” meaning “our music is here,” the gugak-themed festival brings together gugak, or traditional Korean percussion music, and various traditional arts, running from July 3 to 27 at the National Theater of Korea.

Marking its fourth edition this year, this annual festival offers a variety of traditional performances presented by Korea’s best-known artists.

Yeowoorak Festival features traditional Korean music performed by some of Korea’s most acclaimed musical artists (photo courtesy of the National Theater of Korea).

Yeowoorak Festival features traditional Korean music performed by some of Korea’s most acclaimed musical artists (photo courtesy of the National Theater of Korea).


The four-week festival starts off with a July 3 performance where gugak meets with photos and piano melody. Gayageum (Korean zither) master Hwang Byeong-gi will stage Oriental Scenery with photographer Bae Byung-woo, well-known for his unique technique of capturing the beauty of nature in Korea, and renowned pianist Yang Bang-ean.

With images from Bae’s famous work “Pine Trees” projected onto the background screen, the gayageum player will present his own composition “Forest,” and “Yeongmok,” a double concerto for geomungo (six-stringed Korean zither) and daegeum (bamboo transverse flute).

Another photo work, “Sky and Sea,” will be combined with heartwarming piano tunes created by pianist Yang Bang-ean.

Traditional Korean band Puri will perform exorcist music, percussion, and pansori (narrative epic songs) on July 5 and 6 (photo courtesy of the National Theater of Korea).

Traditional Korean band Puri will perform exorcist music, percussion, and pansori (narrative epic songs) on July 5 and 6 (photo courtesy of the National Theater of Korea).


Arirang, one of the most popular elements at this kind of event, will be also part of the repertoire covered during the festival. The traditional Korean folk song, which was inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2012, will embrace the joys and sorrows of folks in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do (Gangwon Province), under the title Arirang -- The Song of Life.

<i>Arirang -- The Song of Life</i> blends traditional Korean instruments with pansori, which will be performed by Jeong Ga Ensemble on July 10 and 11 (photo courtesy of the National Theater of Korea).

Arirang -- The Song of Life blends traditional Korean instruments with pansori, which will be performed by Jeong Ga Ensemble on July 10 and 11 (photo courtesy of the National Theater of Korea).


Kim Ok-nyeo from the Arirang Preservation Society of Pyeongchang Mitan will be part of the Arirang performance by singing the Pyeongchang version of the folk song (photo courtesy of the National Theater of Korea).

Kim Ok-nyeo from the Arirang Preservation Society of Pyeongchang Mitan will be part of the Arirang performance by singing the Pyeongchang version of the folk song (photo courtesy of the National Theater of Korea).


An eleven-year-old girl named Kim Yoo-jin will join Kim Ok-nyeo from the Arirang Preservation Society of Pyeongchang Mitan in performing Arirang -- The Song of Life on the Pyeongchang version of Arirang well-known for its deeply moving and heart-wrenching sounds.

Shamanistic performer Kim Soo-chul, pianist Im Dong-chang, and Australian jazz drummer Simon Barker will put on a fusion performance God In The Landscape, mixing traditional and modern factors on July 16 and 17. On June 19, A Meeting of Pansori and Instruments, a reinterpretation of pansori with sounds of traditional musical instruments such as gayageum and percussion, will be staged.

Ensemble Sinawi offers a brand-new traditional art form, playing a variety of traditional musical instruments for <i>A Meeting of Pansori and Instruments</i> (photo courtesy of the National Theater of Korea).

Ensemble Sinawi offers a brand-new traditional art form, playing a variety of traditional musical instruments for A Meeting of Pansori and Instruments (photo courtesy of the National Theater of Korea).


The festival will wrap up its fourth edition with a fantastic harmony generated by the National Orchestra of Korea, accompanied by vocalist Han Young-ae and pianist Yang Bang-ean for the finale show Tuning.

For more information about the festival, please click here.


By Sohn Ji-ae
Korea.net Staff Writer
jiae5853@korea.kr 

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