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Gayageum mesmerizes the Cannes Short Film Festival

Posted September. 15, 2020 07:32,   

Updated September. 15, 2020 07:32


A long chair is sitting on a corridor. A composer in black clothes lies down on the chair, where gayageum players lied down one after another and left. Suddenly, the composer sits up as if something came up in his mind and reads a long sheet of music. Then, the players walk past the corridor holding their musical instruments, arrive at the forest under the stairs, and start playing the music in the dark night background.

This is a 12-minute music video titled, “Goda Simmering” produced by Studio 2021, a contemporary music platform of the Seoul National University (SNU). The background music of the video played by three gayageum is composed by student composer Hwang Jae-in (a senior composition major at SNU). The music video was directed by Per Magnus Lindborg, former professor of Composition at SNU, and performed by the Seoul Gayageum Ensemble, which consists of master’s students in traditional Korean music.

The music video, which has the same title as the gayageum music composed by Hwang Jae-in, has been invited to be part of the Official Selection by the Cannes Short Film Festival. The video drew international attention, winning the Music Video and the Debut Filmmaker Awards at the World Film Carnival in Singapore in May and winning nomination for the Best Music Video at the IndieX Film Festival in July.

“I didn’t write the music for the video,” said Hwang, who composed the music and played “the composer” in the video. “I’m not like the hysteric composer in the video but as a composition major, I loved the video as it visualized the pain of creation.”

Hwang said he wrote the music in 10 days for the Seoul Gayageum Ensemble, which featured in the video. When the journalist said the music is not difficult to understand, Hwang said he focused on utilizing the features of gayageum rather than emphasizing the characteristics of Korean traditional music. After majoring in Western music composition at Yewon School and Seoul Arts High School, Hwang majored in haegeum, a Korean traditional instrument, at Korean National University of Arts. He is currently studying haegeum as a double major at SNU.

The “Goda Simmering,” the background music of the video, is set to be included in the album, “For a New Music Community” currently being produced by Studio 2021.