February 16th, 2011
Worked on the computer all day.
February 17th, 2011
Today was 대보름 Daeboreum, the first full moon of the lunar new year. In the morning I tried to get stuff done on the computer as I have a couple deadlines next week, but I left my house a bit before 2 and headed to 서울놀이마당 for the Daeboreum Festival. When I arrived we were preparing long sticks by wrapping them in tape. Then balls of fabric (later to be soaked in fuel and used as torches) were attached to the end. We had made the balls the previous Saturday. I was rather stressed not about my own performance (as one of the 등롱 deungnong lantern carriers) in the performance of 송파다리밟기 Songpa Dari Balpgi, but because the four KNUA students who I had roped into participating really weren't being given the information they needed to participate to their best and I felt like we were looking unprofessional in front of them as a result. I want them (희수 Heesu came today, too, in addition to 재윤 Jaeyun, 정우 Jeong-u and 장호 Jangho the guy I did not previously know) to think of the Songpa folks as professionals or at least serious about what they're doing, but I am afraid they didn't appear that way.
We had an early dinner (or late lunch?) at a restaurant we often go to and then went back to preparing (I got into my 민복 minbok and continued to try to rope 탄종원 Tahn Jongwon, the only one I could trust to remember and explain clearly, into telling the boys how to do the performance). Eventually we did have the tiniest bit of rehearsal (3 minutes?) before we had to go and distribute peanuts and drinks to the assembled audience as the 풍물 pungmul performance was going on. Actually considering that it was an outdoor nighttime performance in February and about freezing, it was a great turn out. After a 민요 minyo performance we did Songpa Dari Balpgi. At first everyone was cold and stiff and not in sync with each other, however as the performance went on things loosened up and straightened out. I ended up having a lot of fun with only one small error. As we ended the performance morphed into the torch lit parade along the banks of the lake with the pungmul group dominating the soundscape. I sprinted to the practice room, dropped my lantern and grabbed my camera. After our march we ended up at the 달집 daljip (house of the moon), a branches and bamboo wrapped up with thousands of wishes for the new year (the wishes had been collected at Songpa Noli Madang for over a week). My wish was in there, of course. After more pungmul and speeches by the local government official (the head of Songpa District) the bonfire was lit and we continued to dance around it until it was burned down to the ground and the pungmul players were exhausted.
One thing about the pungmul team- the leader of the team (the 상쇠 sangsoi or lead 꽹과리 ggwaenggwari player), who also chanted the ceremonial wish-chant during the speeches and 고사 gosa ceremony- turned out to be my friend 박연식 Bak Yeonshik from my 봉산탈춤 Bongsan Talchum class. The world of Korean traditional performing arts really is quite small.
After everything was finished I was still, for lack of a better term, high on the communal release of energy. There is not much I like more than dancing to ecstatic drum music by a bonfire under a full moon. I hung around hoping something good would happen, eventually 김영숙 Kim Yeongsuk, 이수환 Yi Suhwan, 서병무 Seo Byeongmu, Tahn Jongwon and I went out for a late dinner and some more drinks. With the exception of Seo Byeongmu those are just about my favorite people from Songpa Sandae Noli, so I was happy, but then after only about one drink Seo turned into an argumentative nonsensical annoying drunk. Actually he's always an annoying drunk, but I hadn't realized he'd already been drinking so he only needed a bit more to tip him over into unacceptable.