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[ASEAN-Korea Summit]ASEAN-Korean Orchestra Provides Sound of Summit

[ASEAN-Korea Summit]ASEAN-Korean Orchestra Provides Sound of Summit

Posted June. 02, 2009 07:36,   


Decked out in brightly colored traditional dress, the musicians settle in their seats, adjust their strings and give their instruments one last look-over. The conductor raises his baton. It is 8 p.m. on May 31 in the Tamra Hall of the International Convention Center, Jeju.

Sounds swell, merge and fill the air. The dumdum, an Indonesian instrument made of bamboo, leads the way with a bright, clear melody. Tagging along are Korea’s stringed gayageum and Vietnam’s similar dan trung. The notes of Myanmar’s saung, the “harp of the Orient,” and Cambodia’s khloy, played while farmers feed their cows, emerge. Finally, the plaintive voice of Korea’s daegeum, a traditional pipe, floats above the rest.

The ASEAN-Korea Traditional Orchestra, comprising 80 musicians from 11 Asian nations, held its debut concert on Sunday. The orchestra was formed to commemorate the Korea-ASEAN summit under the motto “One Asia Through Music,” with a view to spurring cultural exchanges with ASEAN. It provided a rare opportunity to hear the traditional musical instruments of Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Korea under one roof. Partici-pants from Korea included the buk drum, the wind instruments dae-geum, sogeum and taepyeongso, and the stringed haegum and ajaeng.

Sunday’s program featured 13 pieces to represent all nations, including Korea’s traditional “Kwae-Jina-Ching-Ching” re-arranged with a modern flair by composer Kim Sung-kook. Other selections were “Seloka,” based on a Malaysian folk song; “Zapin Laila Sembah,” which described a traditional dance of Brunei; “Reverie” from Cambodia, a musical painting of a fantasy romance; and Thailand’s “Rice’s Life,” detail-ing the career of a grain of rice.

The finale was “We Love You, ASEAN,” a song that swayed to the Korean traditional rhythm hwimori-jangdan while repeating “Hello, I love you, thank you,”in each country’s own language and beats.

“I hope music will provide the catalyst for the countries of Asia to unite their strengths like the nations of the EU,” said Dr. Park Bum-hoon, president of Chung-Ang University in Seoul and chief director of the orchestra. “Just like our players, Asians will come together through music to open an era of Asian culture in the 21st century.”

The ASEAN-Korea Traditional Orchestra will perform in Seoulin, the Main Hall of the National Theater of Korea on June 4 at 7:30 p.m.

By Cho Yi-young lycho@donga.com