K-Pop Academy Week 9: Traditional Music and Free B.A.P Concert Tickets.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

 An Introduction to Samulnori

Photo Credit: KCCUK
This week at K-Pop Academy we learnt about Traditional Korean Music from Nami Morris We specifically learnt about Samulnori which means the 'Play of Four things'.

It is a literal translation of the korean word 

~ Samul, meaning Four objects
놀이~ Nori, meaning Play

Samulnori is a genre of tradition percussive music originating from Korea. It stemmed from 풍물~Pungmul which was the folk music of the farmers. Samulnori is similar to performing arts characterized by strong, accented rhythms, vibrant body movements, and an energetic spirit which shows more variations than the pungmul.


Each of the four instruments represents a different weather condition:
  • the janggu~an hourglass-shaped drum represents rain, 
  • the kkwaenggwari~A small gong represents thunder, 
  • the jing~a larger gong represents the sounds of the wind, and 
  • the buk~ a barrel drum similar to the bass drum represents clouds. 
The idea of Yin and Yang is also reflected in these instruments: the buk and janggu (leather) represent the sounds of the earth, while the jing and kkwaenggwari (metal) represent sounds of the heavens.

Photo Credit: KCCUK

With Samulnori music, it is vital for the artist to learn all four instrument and it is encouraged for Changgo to be the first instrument learnt.  To compare it to contemporary music, the Changgo is like a piano.

The dress code for the performance is the same for both gender with the hat being a distinct feature.

 Samulnori has gained international Popularity with an increase in the amount of fusion combining Samulnori and western instruments. The popular band 'SamulNori' helped in establishing the music worldwide. 
Check out some fun facts about them below.

 After the brief presentation, we moved on to the fun part: actually playing the instruments. 
We started out by singing the tune out loud and learning the the body movements (which is important BTW). Check out this cool performance below (I'd like to think we were almost as cool as them;)

You can check out more videos on YouTube

Photo Credit: KCCUK
Photo Credit: KCCUK

Photo Credit: KCCUK
After we all got a hang of it and did a complete performance, we took a break and went to the foyer for some yummy cakes and fruits!!!

Photo Credits: KCCUK

We then switched instruments and learnt it all over again. We did manage to fit in one last awesome performance. I was enthralled by the rhythm we were making, it was that good!!! We managed to get a few curious people visiting the centre stop by to watch the performance. 
It was like we were professionals (okay maybe I over-exaggerated a bit, or did I?)

Photo Credit: KCCUK
After the session, Nami recommended a few websites and book for us if we were interested in learning more about Samulnori. Click the links below if you're interested....

Cambridge Samulnori
SOAS Music
Book by Nathan Hesselink

You could also use Google for more resources.

After the class, it was announced that three awards will be given out for the outstanding assignments we've handed in, and also to encourage us to do better in the remainder of the course. The first Award was for Best Artist which Kim one with her dope typography drawing of Taeyang, and then the Culture Awareness award (which my Blog was nominated for) Katie won with her YouTube vids, and the most creative award won by phillip for his yummy creation of kimbap rolls. Each category had three nominees and the winners got Tickets to the B.A.P concert.

Photo Credit: KCCUK
We were all excited and couldn't stop talking animatedly about it!! We were giving Kim a crash course on BAP. I'm sure the people at trafalgar square were wondering why we kept shouting Himchan, Zelo, Daehyun, Jongup, Yongguk, Youngjae. And then we broke into the No Mercy song!! You can tell how excited we were hahaha!! I can't wait to hear all about the concert at the academy on Saturday.

If you've read this long a** post then thank you so very much!!! I guess I had so much to share and I didn't wanna leave any part out!! This Saturday is gonna be amazing!! I think I might have to divide that one into two posts!! Stay tuned guys ;)


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