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SamulNori Contemporary Korean Drumming and the Rebirth of Itinerant Performance Culture by Nathan Hesselink
  

SamulNori Contemporary Korean Drumming and the Rebirth of Itinerant Performance Culture

Part of the Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology Series

Synopsis

SamulNori Contemporary Korean Drumming and the Rebirth of Itinerant Performance Culture by Nathan Hesselink

In 1978, four musicians crowded into a cramped basement theater in downtown Seoul, where they, for the first time, brought the rural percussive art of p'ungmul to a burgeoning urban audience. In doing so, they began a decades-long reinvention of tradition, one that would eventually create an entirely new genre of music and a national symbol for Korean culture. Nathan Hesselink's SamulNori traces this reinvention through the rise of the Korean supergroup of the same name, analyzing the strategies the group employed to transform a museum-worthy musical form into something that was both contemporary and historically authentic, unveiling an intersection of traditional and modern cultures and the inevitable challenges such a mix entails. Providing everything from musical notation to a history of urban culture in South Korea to an analysis of SamulNori's teaching materials and collaborations with Euro-American jazz quartet Red Sun, Hesselink offers a deeply researched study that highlights the need for traditions - if they are to survive - to embrace both preservation and innovation.

Reviews

This book-length study of Korea's super-group, SamulNori, is long overdue. The book is original both in its subject matter and in the way the author approaches the subject matter, presenting translation of authoritative Korean scholarship, transcripts of interviews, personal opinion, and careful musical analysis. Even in Korean, such a book has yet to be published. --R. Anderson Sutton, University of Wisconsin Hesselink documents with great subtlety the human agency of actors determined to keep a rural musical tradition relevant and exciting in the modern city, a process going on nearly every place in the world since World War II. He focuses on what is arguably Korea's most dynamic and engaging musical export, the ensemble SamulNori and the new genre it spawned (also called samul nori ). The author also challenges us to think anew about such well-worn concepts as tradition, modernity, and musical hybridity and fusion. --Timothy Rice, University of California, Los Angeles (03/12/2012) essential for understanding SamulNori the quartet and samulnori the genre. --Hyunseok Kwon Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

Hesselink provides an in-depth and yet far-reaching study of SamulNori and the genre of music they created that manages to ground the group as a modern-day continuation of the namsadang tradition, a product of the urbanization and growing concert-hall culture of 1970s South Korea and (perhaps most importantly) the creativity of individuals and groups in collaboration. Hesselink also contributes to larger discussions of tradition and the preservation of heritage that question the ways we approach what we consider to be traditional and how these things should be preserved, while remaining relevant and allowing for artistic creativity. --Kurt Baer Journal of Folklore Research

Scattered across multiple continents, legions of SamulNori fans and Korean music researchers have long been hungry to know more and Hesselink's book will certainly do much to satisfy their curiosity. However, the book will surely also be welcomed by the broader ethnomusicological community: like many other ethnomusicologists, Hesselink is primarily exploring how musicians, audiences, and other decision-makers have responded to the meeting of old and new in contemporary society, and he sheds much light on the processes of musical transmission, preservation, and adaptation involved. --Simon Mills Ethnomusicology Forum

Readers who are already acquainted with traditional Korean percussion will find much of interest in this history, and others will find a new world of music to explore. Enjoy! --Carla Nappi New Books In East Asian Studies

This book-length study of Korea s super-group, SamulNori, is long overdue. The book is original both in its subject matter and in the way the author approaches the subject matter, presenting translation of authoritative Korean scholarship, transcripts of interviews, personal opinion, and careful musical analysis. Even in Korean, such a book has yet to be published. --R. Anderson Sutton, University of Wisconsin essential for understanding SamulNori the quartet and samulnori the genre. --Hyunseok Kwon Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

Hesselink provides an in-depth and yet far-reaching study of SamulNori and the genre of music they created that manages to ground the group as a modern-day continuation of the namsadang tradition, a product of the urbanization and growing concert-hall culture of 1970s South Korea and (perhaps most importantly) the creativity of individuals and groups in collaboration. Hesselink also contributes to larger discussions of tradition and the preservation of heritage that question the ways we approach what we consider to be traditional and how these things should be preserved, while remaining relevant and allowing for artistic creativity. --Kurt Baer Journal of Folklore Research

Scattered across multiple continents, legions of SamulNori fans and Korean music researchers have long been hungry to know more and Hesselink s book will certainly do much to satisfy their curiosity. However, the book will surely also be welcomed by the broader ethnomusicological community: like many other ethnomusicologists, Hesselink is primarily exploring how musicians, audiences, and other decision-makers have responded to the meeting of old and new in contemporary society, and he sheds much light on the processes of musical transmission, preservation, and adaptation involved. --Simon Mills Ethnomusicology Forum

Readers who are already acquainted with traditional Korean percussion will find much of interest in this history, and others will find a new world of music to explore. Enjoy! --Carla Nappi New Books In East Asian Studies

Hesselink documents with great subtlety the human agency of actors determined to keep a rural musical tradition relevant and exciting in the modern city, a process going on nearly every place in the world since World War II. He focuses on what is arguably Korea s most dynamic and engaging musical export, the ensemble SamulNori and the new genre it spawned (also called samul nori). The author also challenges us to think anew about such well-worn concepts as tradition, modernity, and musical hybridity and fusion. --Timothy Rice, University of California, Los Angeles (03/12/2012)


About the Author

Nathan Hesselink is associate professor of ethnomusicology at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of P'ungmul: South Korean Drumming and Dance, published by the University of Chicago Press, and editor of the volumes Music and Politics on the Korean Peninsula and Contemporary Directions: Korean Folk Music Engaging the Twentieth Century and Beyond.

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Book Info

Publication date

12th June 2012

Author

Nathan Hesselink

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Publisher

University of Chicago Press an imprint of The University of Chicago Press

Format

Mixed media product
Contains 1 Hardback and 1 CD-Audio
224 pages

Categories

Folk & traditional music
Percussion instruments

ISBN

9780226330969

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