Monday, May 09, 2016

A Two Day Journey Around the World

This afternoon, I went to the Seoul Friendship Fair. Held since 1996,  this fair is celebrates the sister cities of Seoul from various places around the world. Considering my love of cultures, the lure of traditional music, costumes, as well as traditional food and handicrafts was too much to pass up. For a few hours in the afternoon, I sat on the grass by Seoul City Hall in the bright May sunshine and soaked up not only sun rays, but some wonderful performances.

Their costume and singing reminded me of some of the performances I saw in Serbia. Some songs were very happy and one was more somber. The accordion player was very energetic and the roh player was able to get a variety of tones out of the animal horn.

The Shamisen player from Japan played a few lively, energetic pieces. Two puppeteers also performed a few skits, including one with a lion and some butterflies. The lion reminded me of a larger version seen in some Korean performances.
Lion and human marionettes manipulated by a skilled Japanese puppeteer
As there was no shade on this very sunny day, I didn't want to push being too long out in the sun. However, when I saw the beautiful costumes from Tashkent, I decided to stick it out a bit longer. We had to wait for the drumset and other instruments to be assembled and set up, but it was worth it. A clarinet player myself, it was fun to hear the different tones and melodies produced from such common instruments. The male singer was both forceful and tender. The dancers, however, stole the show. In the four or five pieces, different costumes were worn for each one. The dancing and music had a more Middle Eastern feel to it. The dancers were very particular with their hand and arm positions, and their twirling and footwork was great. Imagine twirling and dancing in high heels! 

Each of the dancers had their hair in long braids, which twirled like ribbons as they spun around.

It was an enjoyable afternoon at yet another Seoul festival! #visitseoul

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