Sound of Korean, Samulnori is trying to be changed
Samulnori makes everyone’s heart beat faster with only four musical instruments. Kkwaengguari(small gong) symbolizes thunder, Janggu( traditional double-headed drum) symbolizes rain, Buk(drum) symbolizes cloud, and Jing(gong) symbolizes wind.
Kim Duk-Soo with His Friends Touching all over the World
Samulnori is a compound word of 'Samul-percussion instruments' and 'Nori-play'. Samul refers to Kkwaengguari, Jing, Janggu and Buk. Now, we have many Samulnori performance teams, however, Samulnori was first created in 1978 by Kim Deok-Soo with His Friends- Kim Deok-Soo, Lee Kwang-Soo, Choi Jong-Sil, and Kim Yong-Bae, who started playing music since they were little. Later, they grew up as very talented performers. Kim Yong-Bae who studied at Korean Traditional Music high school is the one who contributed a lot to the first step of Samulnori.
That’s why Kim Deok-Soo and His Friends comes to our minds when speaking Samulnori. Well, they attended the World Contest of Percussion Instrument Players in 1982, World Drum Festival in Vancouver, Canada in 1984, and held a celebrating performance for the Olympic Torch in Seoul Olympics in 1988. Kim Deok-Soo and His Friends enhanced the national prestige by performing Samulnori in Japan, U.S. and so on. Last year they performed ‘Digilogue Samulnori-Blooming the Dead Tree’ scripted by Lee O-Young, the former minister of the ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Sport.
They performed Digilogue Samulnori with four musical instruments. These four instruments symbolize the four directions- East, West, North and South and four seasons- Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. It shows us how deserted real world blooms, returning to Winter and again sprouts. It mixed digital and analogue, online and offline and put into one performance. They combined virtual reality and real world together and adopted four- dimensional (4D) technology, which became a turning point that traditional Korean performance can be universal. As seen the possibility of digital-Samulnori performance, Samulnori proved its rhythm compatible with any kind of genre, such as Jazz and Blues as well.
In addition, Kim Deok-Soo dramatized Arirang (Korean traditional folk music) that we can look into the past and future of Korea. It is composed of 7 chapters and played with Samulnori instruments, traditional musical instruments including Kayageum, Haegeum and so on. They also used western instruments like violin, piano and saxophone. It shocking because they mixed music instruments from Asia and the West and dramatized traditional music. It contributed a lot for Arirang becomes worldwide music.
Samulnori Tempted World with Rhythm
There are a few percussion instrument groups in Korea excluding Kim Deok-Soo and His Friends. 'Noreummachi' is one of them. It is a compound word of ' Noreum-play' and 'Machim-finish'. Noreummachi is a fusion music group that mixes Samulnori and rap music. Noreummachi had their first concert abroad last year. Kim Deok-Soo tried hard to introduce Samulnori to the world but Noreummachi tried to popularize Samulnori. Noreummachi will have concerts in four European countries until Aug 25th this year.
< Noreummachi Performing in Overseas>(Source : Maeil Business Newspaper)
Other fusion group called 'Deulsori' will have concerts in Italy, U.S. and South America from this August. Sebastian Wang is a Korean-American and he was born and grew up in the U.S. He was captivated by Samulnori and tried to popularize Samulnori in the world. He hopes Samulnori become the national brand of Korea like Samsung, LG and Taekwondo.
Let's Enjoy Samulnori
Samulnori has become popular in Korea. There is an application we can play Samulnori in the smart phone. Intangible cultural treasure students record all rhythms they play with Samul and computer musician transforms it into digital and put them in the application. It is very easy to improvise Samulnori like them.
Last December Korean movie star Jang Dong-Geon was on the Hollywood action blockbuster movie 'Warrior's Way' and this movie inserted Samulnori in it. Samulnori sounds was applied into the major action scenes and ending credit. Samulnori performance was inserted in the action scenes in the hall and it was well harmonized with gun shooting sounds. It caught attentions from all over the world and it enhanced the beauty of the image in the movie.
Regardless of the past and present, performers and audience, Koreans and foreigners, Samulnori keeps making progress with new interpretation and recreation of the music. We hope Korean traditional music spread into the world and become the representative brand of Korea.