Monday, November 7, 2011

korea's image problem iv

what it is: korea's image problem
where i found it: here and there

Like every good hippy, you've probably heard your fair share of Indian music. Chances are you've encountered a little bit of Indonesian gamelan and enjoyed Celtic dancing. But does your international music experience include any sinawi or sanjo?

Obviously, Korean traditional music is a vast territory and I can't hope to give any comprehensive picture of on this little blog. However, I can make small statement such as that Sinawi is some of the most torn, witchy and haunting music I've heard. Apparently the shaman singer does his/her her vocal training standing in a waterfall and screaming until blood comes out of her mouth. Seriously.

I'll put Sanjo up against Indian music any day. Large scale improvisation which refers to a form but has an open and wandering, but intensely focused feel to it. The interplay of the instruments and drum often seems clairvoyant.

Gayagum. Similar to a Japanese koto, strings suspended above a curved board. Also often involves long form improvisation, many times solo. A lot of bendy string magic. The below gayagum video has nice nature pictures, too.

Samulnori ensemble drumming. Shifts in and out of different time signatures like flowing water. Sounds like one guy playing stream of consciousness on a drum set, but it's a circle of folks, usually dancing, each playing a different drum in counterpoint. You can hear them grunting and calling out cues every once in a a while. Can this be through composed? They're not using notation. What kind of sorcery is this?