Traditional singer Ahn Sooksun will perform in the opening performance “Love of Thousand Years.” / Courtesy of organizers
By Chung Ah-young
A wide spectrum of unique sounds from Korea and the rest of the world will create a new stage for musical exchange at the Jeonju International Sori Festival.
The special event will embark on a five-day journey of music on Oct. 1 at the Sori Cultural Arts Center and other locations around Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, the home to “sori,” Korean traditional narrative songs.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the festival which has featured various acts from fringe performances featuring artists in diverse genres from around the world since its inception in 2001.
Under the slogan “Timeless Sori Brings Together Generations,” the event will host 140 groups from nine countries to present musical diversity and new trends in the international music scene and foster friendships among musicians.
“We’ve been preparing the festival for two years to show a different and new aspect to mark the 10th anniversary as last year’s event was cancelled due to the fear of the spread of influenza (H1N1),” Kim Myung-gon, chairman of the organizing committee and former culture minister, said.
Unlike other similar music festivals, it has encompassed diverse genres from jazz and traditional chanting to world music. “It is a rare and unique stage for world musicians,” said Kim.
Kim and veteran traditional singer Ahn Sook-sun will collaborate in the opening performance “Love of a Thousand Years” to commemorate the 10th anniversary. The large-scale show is based on “Jeongeupsa,” the ancient song of the Baekje Kingdom. Under the theme of “Love,” foreign musicians from China, India and Cambodia will perform together with Korean artists.
World-renowned musicians such as Inessa Galante from Latvia, Titi Robin and fusion band Babylon Circus from France, H’Sao from Canada and the Sehm-Tov Levy Ensemble from Israel will participate in the festival as guest foreign performers.
Also, amateurs will be given the opportunity to present their talents in “Sori+Kki Festival” in which some 90 aspiring young groups will perform in the fringe stage.
The finale performance, “Song Singing Together” will feature not only traditional music but also modern music in an outdoor venue with more than 7,000 seats. Celebrated host Kim Je-dong, rock band YB and twin duo Kayarang will grace the stage in the closing show. Kayarang, the first twins ― Lee Ye-rang and Sarang ― to play the gayageum (12-string instrument) are also good-will ambassadors of the festival.
The organizers will launch a train package from Seoul to Jeonju from Oct. 2 to Oct. 3 combining tourist attractions in Jeonju and festival programs. The package costs from 65,000 won to 120,000 won.
For more information, visit www.sorifestival.com.