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Faces of Korea: Arirang, the People's Song Updated: 2007-02-01 12:00:00 KST

Faces of Korea: Arirang, the People's Song
Our non-Korean viewers may have wondered about the name of our station - Arirang.
Well, in this installment of Faces of Korea, we introduce you to our namesake, which is a folk song that's an intrinsic part of the Korean identity.

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RECORDED: "Arirang is the people's song of Korea. It's one that all Koreans, both at home and those living in 145 countries around the world, can relate to. It's not only a song of the past or the present but also a song of the future."

Across the Korean peninsula more than 60 kinds of Arirang can be found, and the number of known songs runs into several thousand.
Among them the three main kinds are Jeongseon Arirang, Jindo Arirang and Miryang Arirang.
Form and rhythm vary by region.
The Arirang of rugged Gangwon Province is slow and sad, while the Gyeongsang region's Arirang is marked by a quick tempo and a cheerful tune.

RECORDED: "Jindo Arirang, which is famous in the southwest of Korea, is a bit more showy and upbeat. Miryang Arirang is powerful and full of energy. The Arari form of Gangwon Province is calm and can draw out a person's inner feelings."

Jeongseon Arirang instruction center in Jeongseon County, Gangwon Province. Hong Dongju, a government-recognized "Intangible Cultural Asset" teaches Jeongseon-style Arirang.

Jeongseon Arirang, also known as Jeongseon Arari, contains the most lyrics of any Arirang form.
It's been relatively well-preserved and passed down the generations.

RECORDED: "About 2,000 people a year get regular lessons here from 10 in the morning till 3:30 in the afternoon. Besides them, another two to three thousand who belong to several groups also study Arirang."

In Jeongseon County, Arirang is performed for the public weekly.
Here spectators get a fine introduction to this traditional vocal music.

RECORDED: "After foreigners saw this Arirang performance, they wanted to come back here. And they also bought Arirang CDs and tapes."

The Korean folk song 'Arirang' has been reinterpreted for modern times.
In 1926, a silent film was made going by the name of 'Arirang'.
Today, it's considered a classic of early Korean cinema.
The film moved Koreans' spirits with its anti-Japanese message during the dark era of Japanese colonial rule.
Arirang also played a key part in the World Cup soccer matches of 2002 when the street cheers of Korean fans were heard round-the-world.
And one young singer remade Arirang into a soccer cheer.
It became clear then just how well Arirang mirrors Koreans' emotions.

RECORDED: "When I sang the Korean traditional folk song 'Arirang' to cheer on our players, I could feel my nation's spirit. It was exciting."

Arirang is a song overflowing with Koreans' emotions! The tune is the most popular and most representative song of Korea.
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