Rhythms of West Africa and Korea

I let my kids stay up late last night. I took them to the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland to experience a concert that fused the traditional rhythms of Africa and Korea. The performance started with the Youngnam Nongak, a staple piece in the Samulnori repertory. Then, Fe Fila and N’Goron were preformed on the African drums. Then the two ensembles came together. The experience was fun, strong, loud, hypnotic, beautiful and very moving. We were encouraged to grunt and shout during the performances. During one of my grunts, I got all choked up. I thought of drumming on pots and pans as a kid in Korea, my mom not being able to continue her dance and drum lessons as a girl, and the 1992 LA riots. What if, instead of weapons, we picked up drums, and together we beat out our woes, our pain, our fears, our joy, our hopes, grunts and all? Surely, we would find a rhythm all could breathe, move and dance to.

On the drive home, I was happy to hear Sophie say that she liked the African drumming better. My mission as a parent felt accomplished, even though we got home way past their bedtime. As I put them to sleep, I hoped the vibrations of different cultures fusing resounded in their dreams.

The UMD African Drum Ensemble and the UMD Korean Percussion ensemble at the Dekelboum Concert Hall.
Photos courtesy of Jeremy Kim.
Find him at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jeremy-Kim-Photography/300738016604051

Published in: on December 13, 2011 at 1:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

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