Sunday, December 13, 2009

산다운 페스티벌1

I thought I would be sitting comfortably on the slope of Fort Canning, enjoying the evening breezes and watching the sun goes down while waiting for the "Seoul'd Out" Concert to start. That was what "Sundown Festival" sounded to me initially. I was expecting some festive mood around sunset time, but the truth was, I was stuck in a long queue as the sun was going down yesterday, The queue took almost 2 hours to clear and by the time I was allowed entry, the sun had already set and the concert about to begin.

Except the long time taken to clear the queue, there wasn't anything to fault about the concert. Here is how it went.

A 'surprise appearance' by the Head of Korean Tourism Organisation, Lee Cham. He was here to promote "Visit Korea Years, 2010-2012". I don't know if anybody care about who he is but he is one very special person.. He is a naturalised Korean citizen with a German background. He made headlines in Korea when he was appointed as the Head of KTO in July this year. A first for a citizen of foreign origin to assume public high office in Korea. When he was asked, by the media, to speak about how he felt about his new appointment, his eyes were wet. He saw that as his adopted country accepting him as one of its people. He probably has more passion for Korean culture than native Koreans themselves. Koreans known him more as a celebrity because he was an actor, radio and TV host. It was said that he attended the same church as Lee Myung Bak.

MISO (미소, 美笑) Traditional Performance

The first performance of the night was "Miso" traditional performance. Miso means beautiful smile. In Seoul, Miso is a performance specially tailored towards introducing Korean traditional music and dance to foreigners. The performance can be watched at the Jeongdong Theatre behind Deoksu Palace.

I walked past the theatre many times and each time I told myself I would watch it the next time I passed by. In the end, I never watched it. You think there will always be the next time, but sometimes, next time may never come.

Dancers wore "beautiful smile" as if to uphold the name "Miso".

I think he is playing "Daegeum" (대금, 大琴), Korean flute.

He is playing an hourglass-shaped drum called "Janggu" (장구, 杖鼓)

The audience was enthralled by their drum beating.

He is playing a "Buk" (북), bass drum.

Dancers wearing their "miso" all the way to the end of the performance.

Drawing Show

"Drawing Show", as its name suggests, is a performance centred on drawing, accompanied by strong and punchy music. The fascinating part was not the on-the-spot drawing but rather how they superimposed lighting onto an uncoloured drawing to create a coloured drawing. I was in awe with their creativeness. See pictures below to know what I mean.

A completed hand-drawn picture of Napoleon.

When light behind the drawing was turned on, viola, a painted drawing. Awesome!

Jinjo Crew Bboys

Bboys is one of those modern Korean culture that is highly exportable. In Seoul, you can see them almost everywhere, amateurs or professional alike. A Korean festival that omits Bboy performance is unimaginable.

Jinjo Crew was cool and good yesterday. However, I think the stage was a bit small for them to jump and spring around freely.

Jinjo Crew in last night concert.

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