The Fourth Insa-dong Street Soripan (인사동 거리소리판4)

This is the fourth part in a series that documents the 2016 Sunday-afternoon street performances in Insa-dong by Park Tae-o and other “Ttorang Gwangdae” (또랑광대). See also part1, part2, and part3).

IMG_0961Today, the performance started two hours later and took place, at the request of an adjacent store owner, a little bit more towards the middle of the high construction fence. Today, it featured a beautiful image of Gyeongbok-gung that served as a fitting backdrop to the singers.
I arrived shortly after five while the set up was still going on. Jo Sang-min (조상민) stood solely next to the fence, playing on his daegeum bamboo flute. The singers came, one by one, from the basement café Sigayeon where they had dressed up in hanbok. Some people gathered already, and even more came as Son Jong-hwan (손종환) played a driving rhythm on the drum. As usual, Park Tae-o (박태오) opened the Street Soripan with a few words and then started right away with a danga.

IMG_0964Park’s performance was short, though, as the line-up was quite large today. The next singer, Gang Eung-min (강응민), was a newcomer, but he gasped the audience’s attention with an episode from Chunhyang-ga (춘향가) that included the famous “Love Song” (사랑가). He moved around and acted out the scene quite a bit, to much applause.

Next came Im Sang-rae (임상래), performing what is maybe the most hilarious part of Simcheong-ga (심청가), the arrival of Ppaengdeok, Blindman Shim’s new lover. Im drew the audience closer in and received a lot of laughter and applause. As the warm sun had cooled down a bit, listening to the street performance was much more comfortable than the last times. I think it is a good idea to start a little bit later!


Jo Sang-min now gave a short interlude on the daegeum. Then, Kim Jeongeun sung, like last week, a scene from Heungbo-ga (흥보가), including the audience favorite “Money Song” (돈타령). This time, she was wearing a casual, still brightly colored hanbok and once again, her voice, regularly on the edge of breaking, was very moving. The drummer had changed, too, with Jo Sang-min taking the stick from Son Jong-hwan. A banner standing next to the ad-hoc stage also announced today’s performers.

P1090545The last singer was Kim Hyungog, again starting with the danga “Song of the Four Seasons” (사철가), then turning to the end of Simcheong-ga (심청가). He was the only singer who would occasionally take a seat, and his voice and the expressions on his face were clearly showing the efforts he made bringing the dramatic finale to life.

Finally, all together now, “Jindo Arirang” (진도 아리랑) made many sing and almost everyone clap along. As the future schedule of the Street Soripan is open to change – the singers will first attempt a weekly rhythm, with the next performance on June 12 (5pm) –, some spectators left their contacts for updates. It seems that this event has found some regulars.

The structure of the Insa-dong Street Soripan, with a duration of (a little bit over) one hour, has stabilized, with everyone performing for 10–15 minutes. Now that there are enough participants, some of them being unavailable on a given day does not cripple the whole event. We discussed some of those points over makkeolli and some snacks at Sigayeon I am looking forward how this format will develop in the following months!

If you’re looking for casual, playful, easy-going pansori, come along and join the Soripan next time!

– 9 May 2016 (日)

  • 인사동 거리소리판, 출연: 박태오 (소리), 김형옥 (소리), 조상민 (북, 대금), 손종환 (북), 강응민 (소리), 임상래 (소리), 김정은 (소리), 인사동길, 2016년 4월 24일 (일), 오후 5–6.10시.
  • Insa-dong Street Soripan, with Park Tae-o (sori), Kim Hyungog (sori), Jo Sang-min (buk, daegeum), Son Jong-hwan (buk) Gang Eung-min (sori) Im Sang-rae (sori), Kim Jeongeun (sori), Insadong-gil, 2016–04–24 (Sun.), 5–6.10 pm.

About Jan Creutzenberg

Jan Creutzenberg, friend of theatre, music, and cinema, comments on his performative experiences in Seoul and elsewhere.
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