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A samul nori performance in Bremen, Germany
|Revised Romanization||Samullori or Samul nori|
|McCune–Reischauer||Samullori or Samul nori|
Samul nori is a genre of percussion music that originated in Korea. The word samul means "four objects" and nori means "play;" Samul nori is performed with four traditional Korean musical instruments:
- Kkwaenggwari (a small gong)
- Jing (a larger gong)
- Janggu (an hourglass-shaped drum)
- Buk (drum) (a barrel drum similar to the bass drum)
The traditional Korean instruments are called pungmul.
Samul nori's roots are in Pungmul nori (meaning "Korean traditional percussion instruments playing"), a Korean folk genre comprising music, acrobatics, folk dance, and rituals, which was traditionally performed in rice farming villages in order to ensure and to celebrate good harvests. Until modern times, 90% of Korea's people were employed in farm-related work and this genre of music defined Korean folk music or popular music of Korea. Pungmul nori is also called "Nong-ak nori". "Nong" means farm and "ak" means music. But this name did not come from farmers or Koreans for that matter, but rather by the Japanese imperial government's cultural colonization policies relating to everything "Korean".
Samul nori is the formalized, more modern version of Pungmul nori. Samul nori was the name of a group that founded this genre, however, due to the popularity of its music, the group name became the term used to describe this genre as a whole. As a result, the group was forced to change its name.
Samul nori started by adapting music from utdari pungmul (the gut, or shaman ceremony rhythm of the Gyeonggi-do and Chungcheong provinces of South Korea), as well as the genres of Yeongnam folk music and Honam udo gut, combined with more contemporary improvisations, elaborations, and compositions. Original music of these local rhymes steeped in traditional animism and shamanism, but also shows influences from Korean military music and Korean Buddhism. While full Pungmul nori often features the use of wind instruments, samul nori only features the aforementioned four percussion instruments.
After seeing a Samul nori performance, a poet once described each of the four instruments as a different weather condition: the janggu represents rain, the kkwaenggwari thunder, the jing the sounds of the wind, and the buk clouds. The Korean philosophy of Chun-Ji-In (Chun meaning heaven, Ji meaning Earth, and In meaning people) 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 and the people playing. For this reason, Samul nori without the sound of people is considered incomplete. Although generally performed indoors, as a staged genre, Samul nori depicts the traditional Korean culture, an agricultural society rooted in the natural environment. Samul nori is characterized by strong, accented rhythms, vibrant body movements, and an energetic spirit.
Samul nori has gained international popularity, with many Samul nori bands and camps worldwide. Since the 1980s in South Korea, there has been a marked increase in the amount of fusion music, combining Samul nori and Western instruments. Samul nori is also extensively used in the Korean musical Nanta.
The most famous Samul nori ensemble is the internationally famous South Korean ensemble called Samul Nori, which is credited for bringing the music from a rural folk genre to the contemporary stage. The group was established in February 1978 by janggu player and former Namsadang star performer Kim Duk Soo (김덕수), with the remaining original performers being Kim Young Bae (kkwaenggwari), Choi Tae Hyun (jing), and Lee Jong Dae (buk). Following Kim Young Bae's death in 1985, he was replaced by Choi Jong Sil, and Lee Kwang Soo replaced Lee Jong Dae on the buk. The group has collaborated and recorded with a number of non-Korean ensembles, most notably in 1987 with the Red Sun jazz band, with one SamulNori/Red Sun CD selling 70,000 copies. They have also performed (in August 2000 at the Earth Celebration International Arts Festival on Sado Island in Japan) with the Japanese taiko group Kodo.
About his choice to move from the more traditional outdoor performances to indoor venues, Kim Duk Soo states that at the time he established Samul nori, during the last years of the administration of former South Korean president Park Chung Hee, Korean traditional music was associated with the student movement, and anyone playing such instruments outdoors could be arrested. Thus, he developed the current version of the genre, which is generally presented indoors, on concert hall stages.
In 1993, Samul nori expanded to include twenty performers and changed its name to SamulNori Hanullim, Inc. ("Hanullim" meaning "big bang").
Honamudonongak(호남우도농악,湖南右道農樂),Binari(비나리),Seoljanggo play(설장고놀이), Pangut(판굿),Gilgunakchilchea(길군악칠채)and so on.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Samul nori.|
- Samullori - Official Seoul City Tourism
- Article about the history of samul nori
- Poongmul in the U.S.
- Information about Pungmul and Pungmul in the U.S.
- European samul nori website
- German samul nori website
- French samul nori website
- SamulNori artist page from Alliance Artist Management
- Interview with Kim Duk Soo about SamulNori