Monday, October 16, 2017

Learn what Samulnori is and how to play the instruments! (Daegu, Korea)

Daegu Citizen Press 2017

Samulnori…..What is it

Salmulnori is a genre of traditional Korean percussion instruments. The word SAMUL means four items or objects. NORI means play. There are four percussion instruments used in Samulnori.

At the Art Factory Chungchum, the members of Better Together in Daegu were first given a brief introduction of the genre and then given a short concert by the members of Nori- Gwangdae.  The four members each are experts in playing their chosen instruments.  Their group promotes this genre in Korea and even has created modern-style Samulnori to attract younger audiences.

After the brief concert that was very electrifying and energizing, we were introduced to the instruments.
Kwaenggwari is a small gong
Janggu is a double headed drum that is wide at the drum heads and narrow in the middle
Jing is a large hanging gong
Buk is a drum

We were also introduced to Beona.  This is a flat, round object made of leather and cloth. We learned the technique to spin and balance it on a stick.  It is not very easy to master and of the 40 people in attendance only two or three were able to even come close.  As it is a bit heavy, Min Hee was not quite able to hold it up.

Almost everyone there gave it a try or two and we all had a great time understanding the difficulty in this art.  The members of the group of Samulnori players were very skilled!

After a break, chairs were stacked and mats were laid out with the instruments divided by type.  The Better Together members were invited to pair up and choose the instrument they wanted to learn.  After that the leader of the musicians to the stage and gave instructions on how to hold the sticks or strikers for each of the instruments.

He then proceeded to teach a bit of a rhythm to each group one at a time. He began building on the rhythm and in just  few minutes had taught each group what they would play all together.
Min Hee decided she would have a try at the Janggu drum.  The instructors went around and helped each person who seemed to be having any troubles.  Min Hee had learned about Samulnori in preschool so she was doing pretty well.

After each group had practiced their part a few times, everything we learned was put together and all played as one small band. After a few tries, it sounded as though we were a professional band. OK, maybe not a professional band.

This was a great experience that taught us a bit more about Korea as a country with a deep history and about the people who try to promote this part of the Korean culture and also Korean History.  We want to thank the members of Nori-Gwangdae and the Better Together in Daegu staff for a great day of experiences!

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