I just sent off my first album review! I’m not the biggest fan of pansori records, as the spontaneous and interactive atmosphere of a live performance cannot be fixed on tape. But the live double album by Chae Su-jeong (채수정, see the ideosyncratic spelling in the album booklet below, see her profile in Korean at Gugak Portal “Arirang”), of a full-length performance of Heungbo-ga in dongpyeon-je-style, following her teacher Bak Song-hui’s (박송희) teacher Bak Rok-ju (박록주, 1905–79, she’s the one with the cool sunglasses, see the poster of her 110th memorial event from one year ago) is maybe as close as it can get.
The spectators that night (July 14, 2013) at the Namsan Gugak-dang (남산국악당, these days a hot-spot for pansori, it seems) must have been great – their laughter, applause, and chuimsae are an important part of the recording! And of course Chae herself is just wonderful to listen to. I think I never had the chance to see her perform live, although I met her once in Jeonju and remember her as full of humour, which also shines through in many of the scenes on this album.
This is a scene from Heungbo-ga (“Heungbo’s wife moaning”), performed by Chae Su-jeong on TV, probably Gugak Hanmadang, the weekly Saturday-show of traditional music on KBS. Of course, in the TV studio the atmosphere is quite different from a live event – as a listener, I definitely prefer the CD to the TV-stage!
Anyone interested in my review has to wait until fall, when it will be published in Asian Musicology, an English-language journal published in Korea by the Council for Asian Musicology (아시아음악학회), formerly headed by gugak-studies-legend Chun In Pyong (전인평 全仁平). You can find more information on the album at “Jeong Chang-gwan’s World of Gugak Albums” (정창관의 국악CD음반 세계) and if you’d like to buy it, a search for the Korean title (see below) on the usual online shops should work.
The two posters for the performance are also just beautiful. I wish I had been there three years ago!
– 3 June 2016 (金)
- 채수정 판소리 동편제 흥보가 (CD 2매), 소리: 채수정, 고수: 김정만, 박근영, 악단이반 2015, 25,000원.
- Chae SooJung, Dongpyeonje Heungboga Pansori live (2 CDs), sori: Chae SooJung, drum: Kim JeongMan, Park GeunYoung, AkdangEban 2015, 25,000 KRW.