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.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 408 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
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)"