I still don't know how to copy cool things and put them here, so here is a weird link to some Ponsori...traditional korean opera/folk storytelling. Last night I went to a performance at the Korean Traditional Cultural Center (or something like that) with my friend Heather. We listened to music that was representative of traditional folk music from the North, Central and Southern regions of Korea...all of which are different. Lucky for me, Heather has a Ph.D. from Columbia in Ethnomusicology and did her thesis on the change in Korean traditional music with the onslaught of westernization in Korea. Let me tell you, this is the way to see a show in another language...Heather was able to debrief me on the style of pansori singing (you'll notice that it sounds a little like that old lady in the back row of the chapel who can't control her vibrato). What we listened to was more choral singing with a bit of pansori thrown in.
I'll be honest. I enjoyed the performance, but I'm not rushing to itunes in search of the latest Ponsori! HITZ! anytime soon. I think I mostly enjoyed it from an academic standpoint. I am happy to report that it reignited the curiosity that I once had in college about the connection of music and culture. At one point, while a 5th generation pansori singer was doing his thing on stage, he was emoting and people were shouting back from the audience and I thought I was in a Philadelphia black Baptist church. Call and Response is popular in the southern style of Korean music. It made me want to do a comparitive study of jazz and asian culture. ok, not that badly, but it was interesting.
And the hanbok(traditional korean dress) is soooo beautiful. I want one! Stella said she would take me to someone who could make one for me...they cost about $300 and most women get them when they get married. We'll see about that.