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2008 Event Media Release - Daorum

Issued Monday, 4 February 2008

The Studio at Sydney Opera House presents Daorum

9 March - The Studio

Daorum is a phenomenon, a meeting of old and new, of East and West. This groundbreaking musical project will introduce Sydney audiences to the astounding Korean tradition of pansori for the very first time.

Part classical, part folk music, pansori has its own unique rhythms, sounds and textures. Performed by a vocalist (kwangdae) and a drummer (gosu), this is a music theatre style of epic story telling like no other.

As the kwangdae sings changden, the gosu and audience gives calls of encouragement (chuimsae) at the end of vocal phrases. Based on early 19th century tales, only five pansori are performed today from the 12 which are thought to have existed.

Changden are the rhythmic keys which dictate tempo, time signature, accent pattern, drum beat, phrase construction and feeling of a piece. The pansori rhythm has a dance quality which keeps the music buoyant with the tensions and resolution of each bar creating a circular feeling, commonly described with the phrase: rise, hand, bind, loosen.

Open to new sounds, rhythms, teaxtures and approaches, Daorum is not a traditional pansori concert but an experiment to uncover what new sounds this collective of musicians could create. A combination of traditional Korean songs, improvised textural landscapes and spontaneous compositions, it utilises elements of jazz, rock, electronic, pansori, nongak (percussion) and sinawi (melodic improvising).

Simon Barker, one of Australia's greatest drummers, leads the contingent of local jazz musicians who, together with pansori artist Bae il Tong and renowned percussionist Kim Dong Won create an "utopian anthem".

This passionate, emotional energetic art form will have Sydney audiences cheering, weeping and laughing. Without any theatrical props except a fan flicked open to accentuate certain phrases, pansori relies on the intense emotion created by the kwangdae.

This improvised collaboration came about after Barker went to Korea in 2005 and Kim Dong Won was their guide. He introduced Barker to Bae il Tong and the idea for Daorum was born after hearing the two of them perform for the first time.

An uncompromising artist of extraordinary power, Bae il Tong is one of the few contemporary singers to follow the harsh pansori tradition of practising on waterfalls in isolation. Living on root vegetables and berries, Il Tong spent 18 hours a day for seven years practicing at the waterfalls of Mount Chiri.

Barker has worked with Carl Dewhurst, Matt McMahon and Phil Slater for almost 15 years over which time they have developed an improvised language that represents their various interests and influences, including music from Korea, Japan and China.

This one-off concert will be set against Emma Franz’s stunning images of Korea's beautiful Chiri Mountain, exploring themes such as energy, movement, seasonal change, collaboration and isolation.

Dates/Times: Sunday 9 March at 6.30pm
Venue:  The Studio
Tickets: All tickets $30 or $25 concession
Bookings: (02) 9250 7777 or online at
Duration: 80 minutes


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