On Oct. 21, 2023, a performance featuring traditional Korean dance, music and clothing was put on in Carswell Concert Hall. The event included musical performances on the gayageum, haegeum, geomungo and samu and dance performances of Sogomu (small drum dance) as well as BuchaeChum (fan dance). Additionally, there was a vocal performance of a Korean folk song by singer Han Kim. The audience received a wonderful sampling of Korean music. Project Team Woori Kachi, meaning “We Together,” put together an exciting and intriguing production showcasing a variety of performance styles full of information about the history and origins of each instrument or dance.
According to presenter Julie Yun, Oct. 21 is Hanbok Day. The performance featured a variety of styles of Hanbok, referring to traditional Korean clothing, in both traditional and modern styles. Yun also explained that the Hanbok has a history spanning 1,600 years, back to the Joseon Era in Korea, and was often used to express gender, social status, age and marital status.
Eunae Ji’s performance on the 12 stringed gayageum demonstrated her mastery over the instrument and showed the gayageum’s ability to convey “the entire spectrum of human emotions,” as Yun put it. Ji’s playing was accompanied by Ali Campbell on piano for a more modern medley, helping to bring out the melody of the gayageum.
Soonjeong Park’s rendition of “Amazing Grace” on the haegeum, accompanied by Yun on piano, made for an entirely new experience of the familiar song. Yun described the haegeum’s sound as “similar to wailing,” emphasizing the depth of the emotions that can be expressed on it. Park’s skill and the high-pitched sound of the haegeum made for a heart-wrenching and emotional experience.
The NC Korean Dance team’s performances of Sogomu and BuchaeChum were visually stunning and well-rehearsed. Both dances featured lots of sweeping arms and twirling skirts, further showcasing the variety of Hanbok that were worn during the performance. Sogomu involved the dancers taking such small steps that made the dancers appear to be gliding over the stage, creating an enchanting effect. With the addition of the drums, it made for a beautiful performance.
The K-Joy Nanta Team from Greensboro performed a percussion medley. The deep, resonating drum beats were punctuated by the sharp sound of mallets on the rim, which created an energetic and exciting experience.
Han Kim’s vocal performance was lively and entertaining, incorporating the audience’s participation by having them clap along, using a small drum to keep the time. Many members of the audience that knew the words could be heard singing along with Kim.
There were additional performances by JungMi Yoon on the geomungo, Audreyanne Covarrubias on the suljango, and the percussion ensemble ShinMyung. Woori Kachi showcased many intriguing performances that left the audience in awe at the performers talent and musicianship. The show provided a nostalgic moment for those in the audience who were already familiar with Korean culture and music and doubled as an enjoyable introduction for those who hadn’t.
By Lola Mestas, Copy Editor
Photo Courtesy of Lola Mestas