By Chucky Kim
Producer, Chaos Theory Music
It's a locale and a sound, a people and a rhythm. At once ancient and modern, Korea is a space for cultural production. It is fascinating that this small peninsula would give birth to burgeoning modern culture, one that is quickly wooing the world with its music, dance, and drama. And we must wonder, what is this idea communicating to the world?
Los Angeles experienced an artistic statement with the Live @ the Ford show, Rhythm & Passion of Korea. Performing in front of a homegrown audience, at once cross-generational and multiethnic, Haegum Plus and Last for One delivered an incredible show, allowing us to experience the melding of the innovative and the traditional.
Drawing upon traditional voices and modern arrangements, Haegum Plus offers a musical journey. With appealing compositions, Haegum Plus seamlessly weaves ancient Korean melodies and instruments with the contemporary genres of jazz, pop, and even Western classical. Sharing a similar aesthetic, Last for One shares a unique tale. They officiate a marriage among eastern and western music -- hip-hop and samul nori (traditional Korean percussion music). Traditional Korean drumming meets the high-flying theatrics of break dancing. In short, we see a snapshot of modern Korea.
Culture is often heralded as a dynamic entity that sketches possibilities. It is the very realm where sentiments are funneled into everyday actions, culminating in artistic statements that are meant to capture a people's historical moment. What we experienced at the Ford was exactly that: culture. It was at once ancient, drawing upon instruments, voices, and movements that traveled through repression and liberation, and contemporary, conversing with the multitude of today's global voices. Thus for a moment, we were all able to sit still and enjoy. We were entertained, yet also educated. We were captured, yet also moved.
Korea was experienced as an idea; a living, breathing notion that is felt, but yet to be understood. We hope you will feel the same.