In addition to ‘pansori’ and Buddhist chant, one of Korea’s three best vocal music ‘gagok’ was put on the UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list last September, completing the official inscription of all three of Korea’s traditional vocal songs on the list. Also, in October a Koreanalbum of traditional female vocal songs was nominated in the category of World Music at the 2011 Grammy Awards, rewriting the history of Korea’s music.
What is it about these songs that are the world’s slowest songs that takes over 10 minutes to play with its 16 beats drew the attention of the world? The purpose of this program is to introduce what ‘gagok’, the epitome of Korean people’s spirit, is by digging into the origin of ‘gagok’that stemmed from the traditional rhyme-versed songs of Korea from the Silla Dynasty of 1,000 years ago and redefining the historical values of these artistic songs that has preserved its form that was perfected in the early 16th century as well as the secret behind its artistry and its philosophical background in an easy-to-understand and modern perspective.
Part 1 Gagok, and Cho Soon-ja
An in-depth look is taken into gagok from the first person perspective of Cho Soon-ja, the Important Intangible Cultural Property No. 30, and a visit is made to a reenactment scene which continues on the long history and philosophy of gagok.
Part 2 Surpassing the teacher
The history and beauty of gagok is highlighted from the objective perspective of Important Intangible Cultural Property Cho Soon-ja’s special student from the U.S., John Shields (Ph. D candidate at UC-Santa Cruz, studying abroad at Seoul National University).