Saturday, October 6, 2012

Seoul Drum Festival at Gyeonghui Palace

I happened to see an advertisement for a drum festival here in Seoul.  I've always been a fan of percussion, and it was fueled even more when I discovered Korean Pungmul. (traditional korean drumming/performing)

I had the day off because of the extended Chuseok Holiday and it was free so I decided to give it a chance. I was very glad I did! It was amazing! The performances were really top notch.

The only downside was that it was so packed I had to sit on the ground, and it was very cold doing so. 

Here are the performances I saw:

Dinoman: The story was cute and the drumming was great, though you could tell it was aimed more at children, since they were dressed as dinosaus.

Exotic Percussion: This group were part of Thailand's Got Talent and were inspired by STOMP. So they do a lot of beating on random things. This was one of my favorite bands since they were young and did a lot of performing with their drumming. They would dance and jump onto their drums and the like.

Jojo Mayer & Nerve: This group had some really cool jazz/techno mix of music. I really liked them their first ten minutes... then it kinda got a little boring. The music was still good, but they didn't do anything. I understand they aren't the performance driven type, but it was hard to hold my attention.

Jo Yun-Sik: A ten year old child prodigy! An absolutely amazing drummer, and he caught us all by performing 'Eye of the Tiger' seamlessly about halfway through.

Balkwang: This group was a mix of everything. They played traditional instruments, new instruments, and also recyclables like tin cans as well. They were also able to make all of it blend very naturally.

Maestro Kwon Oh-Hyun: I'd honestly never heard of him before, but he is supposed to be very famous. He was a man with a lot of humor and he was able to fully orchestrate the entire crowd into making a song simply by clapping alone. It was impressive and it sounded really great.

Sweet Beats: This was another one of my favorites. They were an american group and so their music was very familiar to me.  They were also a humor based group so they did cool tricks but with hints of humor in them. They also did part of their performance without drums -- they only used their hands to make music.

There were a few more performances after this, but alas, I didn't make it through. The ground was so cold and my back was hunched from sitting for hours on it.  The finale sounded like it would have been really cool though, next time I'll have to prepare more and bring a pillow and blanket!


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