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Gayageum concert with 1,004 performers to be held next Saturday

Gayageum concert with 1,004 performers to be held next Saturday

Posted September. 19, 2017 07:36,   

Updated September. 19, 2017 08:34

A Gayageum (a traditional Korean string instrument) concert titled “The harmony of Angelic Gayageum” will be held at the main stadium of the sports complex in Uijeongbu at 3 p.m. next Saturday. The concert promoting that Gayageum is originated from Korea will be performed by 1,004 Gayageum performers from all across the country ranging from a four-year-old to a 77-year-old.

The event is hosted by Moon Jae-sook, a 64-year-old Korean traditional music professor of Ewha Woman’s University and holder of the 23rd National Intangible Cultural Heritage (Gayageum Sanjo and Byeongchang). She designed the concert as China designated Gayageum as its cultural heritage and held a large Gayageum concert involving 854 performers in 2013 to set a Guinness World Record, and even attempts to list it on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

“I went to a seminar at Yanbien University in China in 2013 and could not find any ethnic Korean Gayageum student there. I asked where they are and was told that they went to practice for a concert to set a Guinness World Record,” she said. “China has already put our Janggu (drum) dance and Sangmo (hat) dance with more than 1,000 dancers on the Guinness World Record, and I did not want to lose Gayageum to China.”

“China has been taking away Korean traditional folk culture one by one, arguing that the culture of ethnic Korean in China equals a Chinese culture,” Professor Moon said. “Four years ago, I asked the South Korean presidential office to take action out of the concern that we might lose Gayageum, an instrument that represents our country, to China, but still I haven’t heard anything.”

Some 1,300 Gayageum performers applied for the concert. They will perform the song “Our Hope is Unification” together. Moon said, “We will play Gayageum in the hope of bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula by playing the instrument that Koreans have played together in times of crisis like this caused by North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests,” she said.

Moon’s two daughters – Lee Seul-gi, a Gayageum performer, and Lee Ha-nui, a beauty peasant titleholder – will also join the concert. Lee Ha-nui will not only play the Gayageum on the stage but also will emcee the event with Kim Joon-soo, a popular musician in the Korean traditional music industry. “I’m proud of Ha-nui who promotes our culture such as traditional Korean dance and Gayageum in television dramas,” she said. “I thank her for saying to me that I can make full use of her in this project.”

Seung-Hoon Cheon raphy@donga.com