Home Korean “I want to make pansori the latest popular song” The dream of pansori singers Lee Bong-geun and Go Young-yeol

“I want to make pansori the latest popular song” The dream of pansori singers Lee Bong-geun and Go Young-yeol

by Pansy Robbins

Approach the public with pansori ‘Crossover’

Known as ‘Immortal Song’ and ‘Phantom Singer’ respectively

Before Korean Traditional Music Festival ‘Korea Rhythm Touch’

Pansori singers Lee Bong-geun (left) and Ko Young-yeol pose for a pose at the Mapo Art Center in Mapo-gu, Seoul on the 16th. Courtesy of Mapo Cultural Foundation
Pansori singers Lee Bong-geun (left) and Ko Young-yeol pose for a pose at the Mapo Art Center in Mapo-gu, Seoul on the 16th. Courtesy of Mapo Cultural Foundation

Pansori singers Lee Bong-geun (40) and Go Young-yeol (30) are familiar to fans of TV music competition programs. Lee Bong-geun won the KBS and Ko Young-yeol won the JTBC runner-up. They are singers who approach the public through the “crossover” that combines pansori with other musical genres. I met Lee Bong-geun and Ko Young-yeol on the 16th in front of the stage of the Korean traditional music festival “Korea Rhythm Touch”, which will be held for the 5th time this year at the Mapo Art Center in Mapo-gu, Seoul.

Lee Bong-geun said, “I want to make pansori a fashionable song,” and said, “If you try to ‘preserve’ the tradition, it won’t ‘develop’.” “Pansori itself is a popular song that brings together words that were popular at the time. It is the music that most satirizes the present, but it did not develop from the past. Audience time is in front of me, but only the old look is kept, so the public doesn’t want to open it because of the old packaging.

Ko Young-yeol also said, “I think of traditional music that matches the modern era. I want to serve as a springboard for more people to listen to pansori. “It is difficult for modern audiences to appreciate the original music of the Joseon Dynasty as it is. In order to popularize ancient music in the current era, the “current Korean traditional music” must be created. Without it, I fear it will become a genre that will eventually be dismissed as “early music”.

Lee Bong-geun was born in Namwon, Jeollabuk-do, “the hometown of pansori”, and majored in Korean traditional music at the Korea National University of the Arts, but took vocal lessons at an academy popular music without the knowledge of his teachers. He said he listens to more jazz and R&B than traditional Korean music. He also stood on the stage of a Hongdae club as a vocalist of a rock band. He appeared as an actor in the 2020 film and the musical 2022 . Such experiences accumulated intact in the inner workings of pansori. “Learning other music was a big help for Pansori. Mastersinger Seong Chang-soon, my teacher, taught me that ‘music shouldn’t touch the ceiling’, but I didn’t understand what was going on. he meant. However, as I encountered other genres of music, I was able to naturally realize the meaning of a harmonious sound.

Go Young-yeol is famous for her ‘Piano Byeongchang’, which is pansori while playing the piano. Appear in became an opportunity to change my life in music. In the mission to perform by lottery by genre, “world music” was selected, and Cuban, Greek and Israeli music was arranged and presented. At that time, I had the idea of ​​grafting folk music from various countries onto the pansori. “Not only in Korea, but also in other countries, there was ‘Han’ and ‘exciting’ folk music. Korean gugak is also world music seen from abroad, so it has something in common. I thought pansori could become world music like flamenco, bossa nova and samba.

Pansori singer Lee Bong-geun appeared on by JTBC and sang “A Poetry for Small Things” by BTS, mixed with scat jazz and arranged in pansori. Capture Youtube JTBC
Pansori singer Koh Young-yeol appears on from JTBC and sings “Love Song”, a part of Chunhyang-ga, while playing the keyboard. Capture Youtube JTBC

During the performance on the 31st of this month, Lee Bong-geun sings “Love Song” from the second month, “I Didn’t Know Before” by Lee Han-cheol and “Hae-yeo-ga” by Seo Tai-ji and Boys. ‘. “Project Band M” prepared Korean fusion music, and “Project Crew M” prepared street dance combining mask dancing. “There is a lot of music that is played with rhythms like playing with friends, so I hope you will enjoy it as a ‘piece’. We have prepared a lot of popular songs arranged in pansori. We are in restoring the ‘Ga of Yi Sun-sin’, which disappeared during the Japanese colonial period, and we will also show you one of them, ‘Desperation and Life’.”

During Koh Young-yeol’s performance on the 1st of next month, you can listen to famous pansori songs such as “Love Song”, “Goodbye Song”, and “Secret Arirang”, as well as Ko Young-yeol’s self-composed songs. yeol “Unachievable”. ‘, ‘Death from Heaven’ and ‘Yellow Light’. By adding the rhythm of foreign folk music to pansori, the audience feels like they are taking a world tour of pansori. “I’m going to show you that traditional Korean music can also blend beautifully with rhythms from other countries. Especially South American music, such as Korea, seems to go out of rhythm and has an exciting beat. In a country with a sad history, you see that kind of rhythm.

Although the two singers are called the representative ‘crossover pansori’ runners, they run towards different goals. Lee Bong-geun said, “I want to become a pansori singer with only one drum and no crossovers.” “I want to make a Lee Bong-geun pansori song. I’m sure I can make any audience in front of me cry with pansori. A crossover borrows the power of another genre to reach a mass audience. When we we performed at Lincoln Center in New York, USA in 2013, a professor from the Juilliard School said, “It’s amazing and unique that Korean music is added to American music.” maybe my own compliment, but it sure hurt my pride.

Koh Young-yeol said, “My goal is to create and sing wonderful traditional music that people around the world enjoy as much as K-pop.” “When BTS’ Suga arranged and sang ‘Daechwita’, there were many reactions overseas who said it was ‘mysterious’. But as a person who makes traditional music, I dream of more than that. I want people around the world to listen to a lot of traditional Korean music beyond K-pop and enjoy it like Mozart or Beethoven.

Pansori singers Lee Bong-geun (left) and Ko Young-yeol pose for a pose at the Mapo Art Center in Mapo-gu, Seoul on the 16th. Courtesy of Mapo Cultural Foundation

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