By Korea.net Honorary reporter Menna Allah muhammad
Photos= Nada Salah , Nada Moustafa and Menna Allah Muhammad
The Korean Cultural Center in Egypt, as always, aspires to provide us with a variety of Korean heritage experiences and to show us many sides to Korean society. It recently organized a workshop for traditional Korean drumming and music to teach us how to play the different kinds of traditional Korean musical instruments.
The word samulnori means “four instruments.” It refers to the four instruments that are played in this kind of musid: the kkwaenggwari small gong, the jing large gong, the janggu double-headed drum and the buk barrel drum. The music has its roots in both Buddhism and indigenous farmers’ music. The workshop was divided into a beginner session, for people who never played before, and an intermediate session for Korean language students, as they knew the basics as a part of their studies.
In the beginner class, we all played the janggu double-headed drum, and we had only one player of the buk barrel drum. The double-headed drum is the most representative drum in traditional Korean farmers’ music. It consists of an hourglass-shaped body with two heads. The left one is made from white horse leather and the right one is made from normal horse leather. The barrel drum is often referred to a “shallow barrel drum,” with a round wooden body that’s covered on both ends with animal skin. To start, our teacher talked about how to hold the drum sticks and how to read the musical notes so we could easily follow each other if someone forgot a note. Then we started to slowly play a basic beat and our teacher kept giving us new notes once we got the first ones right. He gave each of us personal direction, helping us to create perfect harmony, as that’s what traditional music is all about.
We played a traditional song that’s sung in the countryside by the farmers. The lyrics go as follows.
He looks at the sky and hold the stars. He looks at the ground and plants it.
This year’s crop is copious and the next year’s will be even better.
The moon, the shining moon, we’ll shine as well.
In the middle of the darkness, we’ll bright the world.
This song is usually for beginners after we learn the proper rhythm. We practiced the full song everyday for two weeks. The teacher was so considerate. On the performance day, we got our uniforms and practiced one last time to show them how we transformed from having zero knowledge about the instruments to playing together in harmony, thanks to our teacher.
In the end, we made new friends, experienced a new thing related to Korean heritage, and had a lot of fun.