Music

November 3

I got invited by another foreigner in my town to go see some kind of concert at the Middle School in town.  I was unsure as to whether or not I would go because it was outside and the nights have been getting much colder.  My choice was made for me that Monday because my co-teacher told me that I had to go to the concert to represent my school…or something like that.  So, my lukewarm feelings turned into a slight apprehension about going to this cold, outdoor concert of sorts.

So Wednesday rolled around and I only got one hour to eat dinner before I had to be at the concert.  I walked with my head co-teacher, her son, and another foreigner in my town.  Needless to say, it was as cold as I had feared.  I think we were in like the parking lot type area/outdoor courtyard.  I’m not sure, but there was a stage set up and rows of chairs.  We sat behind the sound system beside all of my high school students (well not all of them but it’s where they all were).   We were sitting on concrete steps…very cold.

The music was called “Fusion Symphony” or something…well it said ‘Sympathy’ hahaha–but that’s just a bad translation I think.  When the people approached the stage, I was thinking to myself that they didn’t quite look Korean.  However, I couldn’t be sure (I was sitting quite a ways away).  As soon as they pulled out the pan flutes, I got excited.  They were actually from Peru!  At first they did a couple songs with the Koreans (who were on their traditional drums); it was an interesting fusion of the two cultural music styles.

The Koreans left the stage for the Peruvians to perform some of their own music.  They said the titles of their songs and they sung in Spanish.  (Two of their songs:  Guantanamera!  (woot!) and Mi Corazon (never heard that particular version).)   It felt very strange to me.  Although I am by no means remotely fluent in Spanish, I can recognize words.  So it was weird to know that I was the only person in the audience that could understand the music and to also know that they didn’t know that some of their words were being understood.  It’s very difficult to express how I felt about it.   It was almost a homesick feeling…but more of the fact that I miss hearing the Spanish language.  (If I haven’t mentioned it in a blog yet; Korean sounds like angry Spanish to me.)  It also made me long to know more Spanish/regret that I opted to take French in high school and college instead of Spanish.

The musicians took a break, and then 2 Koreans did tricks with cloth-type frisbees that spun on a stick and tossed back and forth and they flung them really high into the air.  Needless to say, the middle school students were VERY impressed and cheering.  After that diversion, all the musicians (Koreans and Peruvians) returned to the stage and performed some more fusion music.  The Peruvians on their pan flutes, guitars, and timpani (drums); and the Koreans with their traditional drums and harsh-sounding bells.  It was a beautiful blend and it was an unforgettable experience. (Some pics and videos on my flickr page.)

Fusion Concert

Korean Drummers and Peruvian Guitarists and Flutists

Music in General

Since being in Korea, I’ve had a lot of time to myself and I’m rediscovering my love for music.  When I left the states, I pretty much only listened to mainstream pop/hip-hop music or mainstream rock.  Soon after leaving that concert, I began listening to my CD (on my iPod):  Magic Flutes from the Andes.  In addition to that though, I’m exploring new types of music through friends’ recommendations (i.e. mash-up, underground rap/hip-hop, blues) and returning to listen to other types of music that I haven’t listened to in a very long time (i.e. punk, ska, new age, r&b, Celtic).  Sometimes it feels like I’m being overwhelmed by music, but in a good way.  I love listening to new music and I enjoy listening to pretty much almost everything I hear.  I’m always open to recommendations and in fact I encourage anyone and everyone to share with me at least one of their favorite artists.  (hint hint ^.^)

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