Monday, March 28, 2016

Poem of the Week 3.28.16

The Poem, the Artist, and the Waterfall


"The p'ansori is a narrative verse form that flourished in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Korea. It is performed by a single professional singer (kwangdae), who both narrates and assumes the roles of his characters, accompanied by a single drummer. In addition to his superior voice and memory, the singer was expected to master narrative and dramatic techniques. The aspiring singer usually trained his vocal art near a waterfall, so that his voice could outreach the sound of the cascading water. Only when his singing was clearly understood by the people nearby was he ready to perform in public."

~ Peter H. Lee
Anthology of Korean Literature

This is how I was first introduced to the art of pansori. This description is given in the poetry section of my anthology, and I thought it was pretty cool. A poem that's a story that's a song~ that's awesome! But then my friend sent me THIS! ... I had never heard anything quite like it. It's so... jarring and haunting and beautiful~ all at the same time. That is when I developed an even greater respect for pansori and those who perform it.

I also have a great appreciation for things that are "meta." I like metal, metaphysics, and metamorphic rocks. In this case, however, I'm actually referring to things that are self-aware. Art that is internally conscious of itself as art~ A consciousness that allows the art to function as more than just simply art... (Wow, I hope that makes sense.)

And so, voila! 
Or shall I say... 여기 있습니다!

The poem of the week is meta- pansori~~~ Essentially, a pansori kwangdae telling the story of how awesome pansori is, AND of how awesome he and his fellow artists are.

Check it Out~~~

THE ART OF THE SINGER
[Kwangdae ka]
(Excerpt)

His first requisite is to create characters,
The second, narrative art, and the third, musical knowledge.
Then comes his dramatic power.
Full of gusto and grace, he plays many roles-
Now a fairy, now a ghost- making us laugh and cry-
Romantics and gallants, men and women, old and young...
With musical taste, he discerns five tones,
Handles the six pitches and sings by vocalization...
He narrates words of fine gold and jade,
Adding flowers to embroider, to adorn his story-
A lovely lady with seven jewels emerges from a screen,
The full moon appears from behind clouds-
He makes us laugh with beaming eyes!
Character is inborn and cannot be changed.
Such are the singer's infinite inner workings.

The prelude flows like a clear stream under ice,
Or a boat gliding with a fair wind.
Then comes the sound of falling water gushing forth.
His lifting voice soars like a lofty peak,
Rolling down voicefalls in a cascade-
Long and short, high and low, endless changes.
The "weaving" technique is a swallow's talk or a parrot's song,
He improvises from slow to quick tempo-
His rolling voice, the cry of a phoenix on Mount Cinnabar,
His floating voice, the whoop of a crane in a clear sky,
His plaintive voice, the lute played by Shun's consorts,
Sudden bouncing voice, a peal of thunder,
A resonant command tosses Mount T'ai-
Now it's a desolate wind among bare trees,
Sad as "Going Out the Passes" or the "Song of the Swan."
We change color and shed tears-
How arduous the singer's art!

~ Shin Chae-hyo (1812- 1884)
Translated by Peter H. Lee
Anthology of Korean Literature

I actually managed to find a contemporary rendition of this pansori!
(In 한국어, of course!)
Yaaay!!! I'm sooo excited!!! ^^

Hope you learned something new!
Hope you like pansori now!
Hope you purchase a buk and a traditional hanbok on Amazon, find yourself a waterfall, and start practicing!!! 
:)

~ Clinton

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