Saturday, April 30, 2011

Yi Saenggang is the Best Daegeum Player in Korea

 April 28th, 2011
So for mom's last day in Korea we stopped by the Seoul History Museum, which has an excellent exhibition right now of photos from a Czeck visitor to Korea who was here in 1901. That's all we had time to look at, although I was itching to show them the big diorama of Seoul. We had lunch, went home, took mom to the airport. It was sad to say good-bye, we had a great visit. I was only –much too snippy to be acceptable—once. That's like a record for me (not saying I wasn't mildly bitchy on other occasions but I only had to apologize once).

I went straight from the airport to the 중요무형문화재전수회관's 풍류극장 (the Pungryu Theatre at the Intangible Cultural Properties Training Center bldg) for the third installment in the series we also went to on Tuesday. This show I wanted to see because 이생강 Yi Saenggang, National Human Treasure for Daegeum Sanjo was playing. I love him! The other two featured performers were 정명숙 Jeong Myeongsuk who I've seen at KOUS and other locations quite a few times, she's a jeonsu gyoyuk jogyo for 살풀이 salpuli and 강정숙 Gang Jeongsuk, who I may never have seen before. She is a 가야금산조 병창 gayageum byeonchang National Human Treasure like Ahn Sukseon. The performance was very different from the performance on Tuesday. First of all it seemed that all three members were resistant to the talking that Ms. Oh wanted to see going on between numbers. However the show was almost fifty minutes longer- Gang played sanjo (in other words she only played and didn't sing) for a good twelve minutes or more, then also sang (pansori) quite a few numbers and Yi played four different types of flute (several numbers on most of them). It was really awesome. At the end Ms. Oh finally got Jeong to dance again (she protested "I thought I was only here to dance salpuri" but she did ipchum) and Yi accompanied her on the daegeum while two other musicians also played. Ms. Oh tried to get Gang to play or sing during this number and Gang refused to do either. I liked the show much more, and I also felt like I'd gotten my money's worth. The whole evening there were some very loud 추임새 chu'imsae people, including the guy one over from directly behind me. A lot of talk back in general. At the very end one of them insisted Ms. Oh sing. She sang about 40 seconds, but it was quite good. 

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