▲ The Jeju Arts Center is located just south of Jeju City, next to Halla Library. Photo by Cho Gyewon
Our fair little island offers a lot in regards to the nature scene. We have beautiful beaches, an amazing mountain view and an abundance of oreums (volcanic cones) to hike and explore. Yet, those of us dealing with the “work for the weekend” mentality sometimes get pulled back by the seemingly lack of cultural activities in Jeju City, especially during the week.
Luckily for me, I kept my eyes and ears open. When I heard of the free concert being offered at the Jeju Arts Center on Tuesday evening, I, of course, did my routine check on “who it is,” and still getting accustomed to the free shows, I expected a mediocre performance and a light crowd.
▲ Jeju Arts Center lobby. Photo by Kim Jung Lim
Well, I was wrong. Upon entering the Arts Center, which in itself is an inviting idea, I was greeted with a packed house and an enthusiasm fit for that of a major venue. With hardly any other foreigners there to enjoy it, I immediately got the sense that most of us were missing out on these events on a fairly regular basis.
Then, Les Freres began and my assumptions were proven correct. Filling the air with powerful melodies, most notably “Presage”, they had the crowd’s attention from the start. With a wide range of up-beat songs in the boogie woogie style as well as American folk melodies, the crowd clapped along with every push of the key. But those looking for a classic piano approach were not disappointed either. The set exploded with color: reds, blues, and vibrant white. This complemented the music in a subtle and perfect way.
The two Saito brothers from Japan truly enjoy what they’re doing, and that makes it all the more fun to watch. When those performing seem to exude pure enthusiasm for their art, it shows in the performance and in the reaction of the crowd.
With four hands twisting and crossing, they belted out songs you know along with originals that seemed to really capture a feeling and then turn it into a positive note. With some songs, they kept it simple, side-by-side and playing in rhythm. On others, they would wrap around each other in a fun, playful act which got us tapping our feet and clapping our hands.
After nearly an hour-and-a-half of amazing performance, the two brothers thanked the crowed and headed off stage. But, wait. The crowd wanted more, and they did not disappoint. The concluding final song was melodic, rhythmic and pure fun.
Nothing less than a standing ovation was expected, and that’s what they got. An amazing evening, on a Tuesday notwithstanding. So, for me, I’m keeping alert for many other events like this and I anticipate even more amazing things this place called Jeju seems to offer.
For a comprehensive roundup of events, festivals, performances and more, please consult The Weekly’s Community Calendar, which you can find on page 20 of the print edition and on our Web site main page. You can also get event information at the Facebook group Jeju Island Social -- Ed.
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