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Folk songs from Gyeongsang Province

#Sounds of Korea l 2016-06-01

Sounds of Korea

Folk songs from Gyeongsang Province
Welcome to “Sounds of Korea” on KBS WORLD Radio. This traditional music program invites you to deepen your understanding about Korean traditional music by taking a closer look at various music-related topics every week. Today, we’ll learn about the folks songs from Gyeongsang Province in southeastern Korea. I’m your host ________. Please stay tuned, I’ll be back shortly.

In the Naeil-dong내일동 area of Miryang밀양 city, South Gyeongsang경상 Province there is a big pavilion named Yeongnamnu영남루. Standing on a cliff above the Miryang River, the pavilion offers a panoramic view of the surrounding area, but the pavilion seen from the southern part of the river is also quite picturesque. Together with Gwanghallu광한루 in Namwon남원and Jukseoru죽서루 in Samcheok삼척, Yeongnamnu is counted among the three most beautiful pavilions in Korea. But it is also the background for a sad, eerie story about a local official’s daughter, Miss Arang아랑. The beautiful maiden Arang took a walk one night to enjoy the moonlight, but she was murdered by a man who was following her. Arang’s vengeful spirit tried to tell her harrowing story to every government official assigned to Miryang, but the newcomers all died from the fright of seeing her ghost. Finally, one brave man survived the scary apparition to hear her appeal and comforted her spirit by apprehending the man who had killed her. Since then the people of Miryang are known to have been singing Miryang Arirang to remember her.

Music 1: Miryang Arirang/ Performed by Orientango
That was Miryang Arirang performed by a Korean fusion music ensemble. Miryang Arirang is probably the most well-known folk song of Gyeongsang Province, but there is another one just as popular. It’s Kwejina Chingchingnane 쾌지나 칭칭나네, which translates to “Let’s Sing and Dance Together.” This merry tune was sung while farming or fishing or even when partying. One person would sing the first part of the song and others would take over the chorus part that goes “Kewjina Chingchingnane.” It was a very cheerful song perfect for livening up the atmosphere. A large number of Korean folk songs may sound jolly and energetic in melodies but their lyrics generally describe the pain of parting or the hardship of marriage. But this Gyeongsang folk song’s words are joyful. Here’s a couple of lines from the song.

Let’s go, let’s go, to the world we live in together.
Stars dot the night skies, it’s a beautiful world.

Music 2: Kwejina Chingchingnane/ Performed by Arisu
You just heard Arisu, a group of female folk singers, singing Kwejina Chingchingnane. The song starts rather slowly, but gets faster as it progresses. It’s a perfect song for festivals, because the slow beats convey a feeling of peaceful prosperity, while the fast part is lively and entertaining.
The last piece we’re going to enjoy today is “Ongheya옹헤야,” a melody sung during barley threshing in rural communities. In the old days, barley was dried under the sun and beaten with a thresher to separate the grains. Workers sang Ongheya slowly so they could get their movements in sync and work more efficiently. The Ongheya we’re familiar with is a later version which professional singers refined for public performances. The chorus which repeats the phrase “Ongheya” is fun and unique in its tune and pronunciation, which is why today’s young musicians often play its variations. Let’s conclude this week’s Sounds of Korea with “Ongheya” composed by Lim Jun-hee and performed by Gyeonggi Gayageum Ensemble.

Music 3: Ongheya/ Gyeonggi Gayageum Ensemble
That’s all for this edition of “Sounds of Korea.” Thank you for joining me. This has been ______. Good-bye.

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