SEOUL, South Korea, July 22 (Korea Bizwire) – Since last year, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism has promoted a project to preserve traditional dances in rural communities. As part of this effort, the members of Yangsa Percussion Club in Gangwha County, Incheon, are holding regular performances so that they could carry on with the proud tradition while improving communication among those in the community.
This traditional performance is part of Pungmul or Nongak, a term meaning “farmers’ music” whose usage arose during the colonial era (1910–45). And Drumming is the central element of pungmul.This is a Korean folk music tradition that includes drumming, dancing, and singing. Most performances are outside, with tens of players, all in constant motion.
“Farm work is so hard. But once I finish with a percussion performance, my fatigue goes away like a magic. Now I realize how our village elders felt when they played the Pungmul.” Hwang Bong-rye, 67 years old, said this after putting on a noisy performance on the yard of Yangsa-myeon office. She attributed her troupe’s success to the government’s timely support as well as to the members’ sacrifice and devotion.
In order to help with the club, the ministry paid for purchasing musical instruments while subsidizing the cost for hiring instructors. Thanks to the support, the Yangsa Club won the bronze award in a percussion event held in Gongju last November. This year again, the club was selected as one of the 70 organizations to be benefited from the government program.
The 50-or-so club members include youths in the early teens to those in their 80s. Some have lived in Gangwha Island for generations but some of them have just settled in the island after decades of hectic life in Seoul.
Hwang Gil-beom, 52 years old, is a singer in the troupe who was given in 2010 the title of an intangible cultural property by the government. He said, “These days most people don’t know about our own tradition of enjoying the first full moon day of the year while observing Halloween. We have forgotten too many good things in the past. Our small effort is to get back some of these beautiful traditions.”