There was something different about the well-known children’s song in South Korea titled “Pongdang Pongdang” composed by Hong Nan-pa. The string quartet of the song’s subject melody was followed by variations as interesting as those of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or Joseph Haydn. Suddenly, the melody switched to a minor creating a melancholy mood. Did the sister lose the greens that she was washing in the stream after getting surprised by the rock thrown by her brother? He might have gotten scolded.
G.rium Ensemble, which consists of senior musicians working as performers and music teachers, has launched a children’s song album titled “Mom and Sister” in May, the month of the family in South Korea. G.rium Ensemble is a chamber music ensemble whose members include violinists Lee Kyung-sun and Ryu Shi-yeon, violist Shin Yun-kyeong, cellist Choi Jung-joo, flutist Yoon Hye-ri, and pianist Lee Hyung-min.
The members of the ensemble are university professors helping young talents grow and perform regularly on stages. They also share the magic of music at G.rium Hall along with other businesses, museums, temples, etc. G.rium Hall, which is managed by music director Lee Hyung-min, is a performance hall built in 2010 with over 200 seats in the basement of the SK Chemical building located in Pangyo Techno Valley in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province.
The new album features 12 songs, including “Mather’s love” by Lee Hong-ryul, “Mom and Sister” by Ahn Sung-hyun, South Korean folk song “Bird, Bird, Blue Bird,” and “Spring in My Hometown” by Hong Nan-pa. Composer Kim Han-ki, Hong Seung-ki, and Yang Jun-ho arranged the songs with warm yet modern views. The decorative appoggiatura of the piano in Park Tae-jun’s “Thinking of Elder Brother” played by the piano and the flute reminds of traditional Korean songs. A version of Gyeonggi Province’s folk song “Long Arirang” arranged by composer and jazz pianist Yang Jun-ho at the request of Ryu Shi-yeon is also included in the album. Each track delivers colorful shades of sounds from a duet to a string quartet and an ensemble of all members.
The album’s booklet features interviews with G.rium Ensemble members. “Most members of the ensemble are moms raising children. When I was young, I used to come home and cry into my mom’s arms whenever I experienced something upsetting. I felt such a huge sense of relief afterward,” said Lee Hyung-min. “I hope this album can bring comfort and rest to people hurt in the world.”
“We have studied Western music, but find it easy to open the door into our heart when playing South Korea’s traditional folk songs and children’s songs,’” said Lee Kyung-sun. “It has reminded me of the phrase.” The most Korean is the most global.” Meanwhile, Ryu Shi-yeon said, “We will continue to introduce folk songs and children’s songs in a new but familiar way to more people, and help them become familiar with the classic music.”