Sunday, May 10, 2009

희망드림 콘서트

Left side of the stage. The black box is the speakers. Superb sound quality.

For the past 4 days, I have been attending the 희망드림 콘서트 (Hope-giving Concert) held at the open-air amphitheatre inside the Children's Grand Park. The musical performance line-up is as shown below:

Wed: 신명의 북소리 (The Exciting Sound of Drums)
Thu: 향기나는 클래식 (Fragrant Classical Music)
Fri: 7080 새대공감 (Space for Generation 7080)
Sat: 젊은 국악한마당 (A Court of Young Korean Traditional Musicians)

Among the four performances, I like the opening performance most as it was the most entertaining. I used to think that 'Nanta' is an extremely good percussion performance but Wednesday's performance makes it looks average.

MC for the opening concert - The Exciting Sound of Drums.

노크타악앙상블 (Knock Percussion Ensemble)

The 'knock' in their group name has the meaning of knocking down the wall between people through their music. Their repertoire include Latin, Reggae and African tribal music. Different from other performing group, this group uses xylophone as their main percussion instrument. I like the resonating sound created by xylophone.

잼스틱 (Jam Stick)

This group doesn't look serious enough to be good percussionists but there is no doubt they are good. 'Jam' means playing music that has not been written down or planned in advance and 'stick' simply means drum stick. They don't just play music, they also do a lot of funny act and that makes them connect with the audience very well.

They marched from the audience seat to the stage in military band style.

The two persons are fighting to play the xylophone. Can you play a xylophone when someone is pulling it away from you? They can. It was amazing to watch them played the xylophone whilst it was being pulled from side to side.

The flags are meant to guide the audience to clap. When red flag is raised it means a single clap. Yellow flag means clapping continuously at normal pace. Blue flag means clapping at double quick time. Without the flags, we won't know when to clap because the music was played at a lightning pace.

They are hitting the back of the pails now. Later, they will be hitting at each other's helmet. Their facial expressions were very funny when they did that.

드럼캣 (Drum Cat)

This is an all-female percussion group. To differentiate themselves from other percussion groups, they infuse rock, jazz, techno and Latin rhythm into their unique style of modern rhythm. It took me quite a while to be accustomed to their brand of music. Their music does sound a bit unconventional though the drum beats remain fervent.

전통타악연구소 '공감21' (Traditional Percussion Music Research Institute)

It is back to basic for this group since they are the guardians of Korea's traditional percussion music. The traditional big and colourful Korean drums are rolled out for this performance. To make their performance interesting, they also put up some acrobatic stunts. Audience these days are hard to please, I guess.

Spinning plates after playing their drums. Safekeeping tradition is not an easy task. Kudos to these youths.

The colouful Korean drums are a feast to the eyes.

서울시 무용단 (Seoul Traditional Dance Troupe)

A beautiful combination of traditional Korean dance and percussion music. The performance is best watched than explained.

최소리 & 아리랑파티 (Choi Sori & The Arirang Party)

Choi Sori, an accomplished percussionist, is the director of the performance titled 'The Arirang Party'. It took him 10 years to come up with this 100-minute performance which combines Korea's iconic cultures like taekwondo, martial arts, break dance, traditional dance and percussion. It is a performance that all Koreans should be proud of. Just how good is it? Although, it was not a full-length performance, like many people in audience seats, I gave the performance a standing ovation. A spectacular 'bowl of bibimbap'.

The performance started soft with traditional dance.

Choi Sori taking the centrestage. It is hard to miss his mane that only master will wear.

Tempo started getting fast and temperature rose after the dance ended.

Drum sticks on fire. They can still be used to beat the drum.

His name is 'sound' which is what Sori means.

Taekwondo, martial arts and breakdance all wrap into one performance.

Fire, water, smoke and heart-thumping drum beats.

Choi Sori with his shirt off as the heat goes up.

Performers are all back on stage for the climax.

A sensational end to a sensational performance.

I am totally awed by their performance. *standing ovation*

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