Broaden Your Musical Horizon at Jeonju Sori Culture Center
It’s not difficult to hear someone singing pansori (Korean traditional long solo epic song) while walking down the streets of Jeonju Hanok Village. Jeonju is renowned as the city of pansori and Korean traditional music. If you feel like immersing yourself in something totally Korean, while visiting the Hanok Village, why not visit Jeonju Sori Culture Center to experience pansori?
Exhibitions at Jeonju Sori Culture Center
Jeonju Sori Culture Center is easily spotted, next to the public parking Jeonju Hanok Village. The high-rise gate and hanok building seem quite elegant.
Jeonju Sori Culture Center is established to promote pansori and other Korean traditional music.
There are things to see, learn, and experience in the center. Today, I’ll focus on the things to see and experience.
I start by visiting the exhibitions. When I visited, the temporary exhibition ‘pansori dasutbatang (the five masterpieces of pansori)’ was being held. The five masterpieces of pansori are:
1) Chunhyang-ga (the song about Chunhyang, a woman who resisted the corrupt governor)
2) Simchung-ga (the song about Sim Chung, a woman who sacrificed her life for her blind father)
3) Sugung-ga (the song about the rabbit who travelled the underwater palace)
4) Heungbu-ga (the song about Heungbu, a good but extremely poor man)
5) Jeokbyuk-ga (the song based on an anecdote between Gwan Yu and Cao Cao from the ancient Chinese novel “the Romance of the Three Kingdoms”).
Originally, pansori used to have twelve masterpieces, but only five are widely sung currently.
I also visited the permanent exhibition at the “Gukchang Oh Jung-Sook Memorial (National Master Singer Oh Jung-Sook Memorial)”. Master Oh is celebrated as the first female pansori singer to complete all the five masterpieces (completing one masterpiece typically takes 6 to 8 hours). She also dedicated her life to passing down pansori to her students. In the exhibition, I learned about the life of the pansori master singer.
Gukak (Korean classical music) Concert
Every Saturday at 5pm, Jeonju Sori Culture Center holds Gukak (Korean classical music) concert “the Sound of Jeonju, the Sound of the World”. The concert is held year-round and consists of pansori, sanjo (solo musical instrument), dance, and others. Attending the concert was the biggest reason for the visit to the center.
As if entering a residential home, I needed to take of shoes to enter. From the number of the shoes, I could see that quite a number of people were going to attend the concert, which was surprising. Jeonju is truly the city of Korean traditional culture!
The theme of the concert changes monthly. The theme of the February was “nunagui” which means that spot on a tree branch that sprouts green in early springtime.
The concert program consisted of Gayageum (Korean instrument with 12 strings) Sanjo, pansori, Daegeum (Korean bamboo flute) Sanjo, Taepyungmoo Dance, K-pop in Gukak, and Samulnori (Korean folk ensemble). The program was very exciting that I was almost dancing.
Free pansori class open to all
The center runs a free pansori class for the visitors to Jeonju Hanok Village. After visiting the exhibitions and attending the concerts, maybe it’s time to try singing pansori for yourself!
I learned “Sarang-ga (the love song)” from Chunhyang-ga, one of the five masterpieces of pansori.
They say even if you’re single, this song makes you feel very romantic. The free pansori class is open to anyone. The class is held every Friday and Saturday 11am, at either the pavilion or daechungmaru (open hall).
At Jeonju Sori Culture Center, I could feel the energy and talent of the young artists striving to promote the Korean traditional music. The center is open for everyone, so if you feel like widening your musical horizon, I highly recommend visiting here!