Your Daily Shot of Soju: Korean Music Week – DaRum

Introducing “Your Daily Shot of Soju” This is going to be my daily format for sharing random cultural thoughts, pictures and basically anything I want to in an easy to digest and read format. Expect to be updated Monday-Thursday, and probably once on the weekend. Yes, I changed the name. I like this one better.

Something for you to read:

I think Korean music is kind of weird. Just wanted to get that statement out of the way.

This does not mean however, that I can not benefit or enjoy it…I also think that crisco is delicious straight out of the can and that midgets can be kind of sexy

At least if you’re weird you’re not boring…

So, I have always wondered how Korean, or Asian music for that matter, originated. I understand the African rhythms and the European focus on harmony but the Asian sound is a mystery to me. It seems that instead of an entire group working together to create one culminating sound, as in European or African cultures, the sounds and musicians are fighting against one another.

It is as if the song itself is a search for peace and melody within a body of chaos.

Anyways, I was curious enough to pick up a program at the Traditional Music Concert I went to last Friday. So, based on the information in this program, as well as my own searching I present to you “Korean Music Week.”

Today’s topic – The Drum or DaRum if you say it with an accent…try it, it’s kind of fun once you get used to it

Visual Stimulation:

I saw a performance similar to this last Friday. It’s a traditional dance that was typically done by farmers at the end of the day…this rhythm is so incredibly central to Korean music and I can hear it at any time during the day as I walk along the streets.

African Slaves came up with the blues to sing away their sorrows and Korean farmers came up with this.

Kurt Vonnegut said it better than me:

Or actually his friend, Albert Murray did,

“During the era of slavery in this country (The United States)…the suicide rate per capita among slave owners was much higher than the suicide rate among slaves…They could shoo away old man suicide by playing and singing the blues…the blues can’t drive depression clear out of a house, but can drive it into the corners of any room where it’s being played.”

The habit of the lower classes to make fun music transcends cultures.

What would Freud Say About Korean Traditional DaRum Dance:

If you take the notion that a cultures music and dance reflect how they are in the bed then you could make the argument, based on the video above, that Korean coitus is characterized by:

A. Half-jerk motions

B. Violent and sporadic bursts of energy

Culminating in…

C. A series of mini-climaxes

D. A strong desire for applause

E. And an inability to tell when enough is enough

Also, those white sticks and ribbons that dangle from their hats mean absolutely nothing.

Because lightning doesn’t actually make a sound:

The drum ensemble consists of four types of drums. Each one symbolizes an element of a storm.

Kkwaenggari (gong) – The sound of thunder:kwaen.gif

This instrument is the primary sound that you hear. It is the head of the ensemble.

Janggu (double headed drum) – The sound of rain:doubdrum.gif

The leather on either side of the drum is of different thickness and provides a different sound. It is generally a more high pitched drum.

Buk (just a regular drum) – The sound of clouds:puk.gif

I still think lightning would be a cooler sound than clouds.

Jing (mini gong) – The sound of wind:ching.gif

While the larger gong is struck with a wooden stick this is hit with a stick that has cloth mallet that gives it a softer song.

Don’t let anybody ever try to tell you I didn’t give you some education.

One more bit of visual stimuli:

Because I actually do like the drums and I think this style is pretty boss.


1 Comment

Filed under Culture, Things to Entertain You, Videos

One response to “Your Daily Shot of Soju: Korean Music Week – DaRum

  1. Diana

    I am a fan of samulnori actually and I am a part of a samulnori group in Romania. I just wanted to mention that you got the 2 gongs wrong. The small gong that you hold in your hand when you play is the kkwenggwari, and also the stick you play with from the picture you posted is not the correct one. The jing is the bigger gong that you hang on a stand to play.

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