It’s Korean Culture Caravan with a twist!
Korean Cultural Center (KCC) held its 23rd Korean Culture Caravan last July 16 at the Black Box Theater, School of Design and Arts Campus at De La Salle – College of St. Benilde (DLS-CSB), a home to many local and international talents and creative minds in the multimedia industry.
The Korean Culture Caravan is regularly held to bring the Korean culture closer to the younger Filipino audience for awareness and appreciation. This fun and interactive event usually comprises of Korean movie or concert screening, photobooth, Hanbok-wearing experience, and lots of Kpop performances. But this time, KCC took Korean Culture Caravan to its next level through the K-Music Concert. This concert aimed to focus on and bring out the other side of the Korean music in the form of Korea’s classical and traditional-western fusion music—something that is fresh and is far from the colorful and trendy Korean pop culture that most of us can recognize.
Starting off this promising musical event, Mr. Patrick Frias, the OIC-Chairperson of the DLS-CSB Music Production Program gave an inspiring welcoming remark wherein he praised music for being an effective tool to bring people closer together. His introductory speech was followed by the national anthems of the Philippines and South Korea, which were symbolic to the cultural sharing of these two countries.
Jazz group, “Meno Mosso” main singer Heena Kim and violinist Jihae Kim set out the mood as the Jazz duo performed Heena Kim’s self-composed song titled, “Comfort.” The song was about being able to smile because of the comfort of a special person despite wanting to cry and give up. Heena Kim and violist Jeong Minkyeong also serenaded the young audience with her sweet song “Sometimes,” followed by “Time will Tell” that says everything is going to be alright. Heena Kim then told the audience that she was happy to be performing here in the Philippines before ending her performance with the heartfelt song, “Shenandoah, Danny Boy.”
Fusion classical music ensemble composed of talented and attractive three-female members named MUSES had amused the audience with their classical crossovers between classical music and popular music using acoustic strings such as violin, viola, and cello. They gave off a fairy tale-like vibe in their beautiful pieces titled, “Fairy Tale,” and “Into the Forest.” The melodramatic piece “Rhapsody in Moonlight” was giving off a suspenseful emotion at the beginning but falls on to a heartwarming feeling for the listeners. The MUSES also prepared their excellent rendition of Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon, and South Korean musical group BanYa and Diana Boncheva’s Beethoven Virus.
Surprising the audience was a special intermission number from Val John, a versatile artist who was trained and mentored by international producer Hun Jik Kim who has also worked with various talents in South Korea. Val John, crowned as regional and official representative of the Philippines to South Korea for the 2015 Kpop World Festival, performed South Korean artist Jay Park’s original song “Joah” (I Like). His lively performance was followed by his carrier debut single titled, “Blow the Night Away” written personally by him and in which dynamically consisted of English, Filipino, and Korean lyrics. After his last performance, the audience wanted an encore in which he gladly accepted by performing an impromptu cover of Taeyang’s “Eyes, Nose, Lips.”
Ewha MBA Ensemble, master students of the Graduate School of Performing Arts in Ewha Women’s University in Korea, owned the stage with their emotional operatic pieces titled, “Nella Fantasia,” Balloon Flower,” and “Chu Chun Ga.” These talented opera singers majoring in Music Business Administration, who seemed to bring their audience goosebumps and strong emotions, exuded beauty and elegance in their lovely modern Hanbok costume.
Last but definitely not the least to amaze the crowd was World Music Group Yoon-Seul, an artist group who plays music as a medium of communication where various cultures and arts meet. The performers played a delightful combination of Korean traditional musical instruments such as gayageum, samulnori, and flute, and western classical musical instruments such as violin, cello, and piano. The world-class talent started with their relaxing and nature-inspired pieces titled “Flight to Spring,” and “Where the Flower Bloom and Fell.” A Korean musical and cultural showcase is never complete without the famous Korean folk song, “Arirang” which they harmoniously played for the crowd. This was followed by the musical composition named “Balloon” or “Doraji” presented through Korean traditional string instrument gayageum. Jazz singer Heena Kim joined Yoon-Seul for their powerful encore performances titled, “Tae-pyung ga,” and “Yoon-Seul Bet-No-re (shanty).”
KCC Director and Counsellor for Culture and Public Relations of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, OH Choong Suk expressed his excitement and gratefulness towards the Korean performers and to the audience for their support and for the success of the K-Music Concert. He said that he wanted to show the Filipinos a different side of the Korean musical culture through this event, and he promised that KCC shall continue to promote other types of Korean music through other events in the future including Happy Hallyu Day and Pinoy Kpop Star this coming July 23 at the Sky Dome, SM North EDSA.
Please be sure to check out upcoming Korean Culture Caravan and other events at the official website of KCC Philippines: https://phil.korean-culture.org/
Writer’s Personal Thoughts: It was really an honor for me to be able to watch this Korean music concert and see these talented musicians perform live. I am very well used to attending Kpop concerts, but this was my first time to watch a different type of Korean music performance that surely gave me a new kind of feeling. It was a great experience! The powerful combinations of traditional, classical, and modern performances were overwhelming for me. This event has opened a lot of doors for me as I realize that I still have a lot to discover when it comes to the Korean music. I was also happy to listen to the songs and musical compositions with my fellow Korean culture enthusiasts. I hope that more musical events like this will be held in the future to reach out to bigger audience. Indeed, music is a universal medium transcending cultural and language barriers among nations.
Written by Krew Member Mary Joy Padilla. Follow her personal blog: https://maryloveskorea.wordpress.com/