East meets West at Jeonju Sori Festival

  • Published : Mar 30, 2010 - 14:38
  • Updated : Mar 30, 2010 - 14:38


Traditional Korean music, amid the huge popularity of pop songs and classical music in the local music industry, has been failing to appeal to younger Korean audiences for the past few years.
Jeonju International Sori (Sound of Voice & Music) Festival is one of the country`s efforts to revive and promote classical Korean music and dance among local and foreign audiences. The festival has been taking place since 2001 at the city located in North Jeolla Province which has been long-known for their excellence in music.
The annual festival this year will be held Sept. 23-27 at various venues including Sori Arts Center of Jeollabukdo and Jeonju Hanok Village.
"This year`s feat will feature more diverse programs despite its relatively shorter period than previous years," said Kim Myung-gon, the chairman for the festival`s organizing committee and a former Culture minister, at Wednesday`s press conference in Seoul.
"I have an aspiration to promote the festival into one that represents Korea and make it function as bridge that make Korean and international musicians communicate," he added.
Unlike other festivals of its kind which only focus on introducing gukak (classical Korean music), Jeonju sori festival aims to embrace other kinds of genres -- including foreign, local artists` concerts and even musicals, said Kim. Diverse musicians -- from pansori (traditional Korean opera) masters to fusion traditional music singers, pop and folk singers from abroad -- will be able to meet and harmonize at the festival, he added.
Under the slogan, "Resounding Sori, Cheerful Harmony," the festival this year plans to set the identity of Korean sori, while expanding audience size with diverse pansori and gukak performances as well as high-quality performances given by foreign artists, organizers said.
The event will focus on examining the past, present and the future of pansori. Various sessions including "Biographies of Deceased Pansori Masters" and "Celebrated Pansori Signers and Families" will help visitors get an insight on the history of pansori and where its future is headed to, a festival official said.
"Whereas in past events the feat mostly invited artists to perform their works rather than organizing its own, the festival will present more original performances from this year," Kim said.
Festival organizers have added a new program where over 100 famed singers and music masters come together and present the essence of traditional Korean songs and dances on Sept. 23, a festival official said.
Another highlight of the feat, meanwhile, will be the World Masters Series which will take place Sept. 24-26, he added.
Pasori will meet various musical genres from the world through performances given by noted pansori singers Cho Sang-hyun and Sung Chang-soon, plus Argentine pop singer Graciella Suzanna, Korean trot singer Shim Su-bong and soprano Shin Young-ok.
For schedules and further information, call (063) 232-8399 or visit
By Koh Young-aah