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Jeju cultural assets celebrated at City HallThe 2011 Jeju Culture Festival gives a nod to the island's N7W designation
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승인 2011.11.26  16:16:12
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▲ Performers reenact thrashing grain during “Farm Song,” another Jeju cultural intangible asset. Photo by The Jeju Weekly


On Friday, Nov. 25, the 2011 Jeju Culture Festival was held at Jeju City Hall, offering locals the opportunity to experience several Jeju and Korean intangible cultural assets as well as traditional and modern musical performances in celebration of the island’s recent designation as a New7Wonders of Nature.

Hosted by The Federation of Artistic and Organization of Korea, Jejudo Association, the event kicked off at 5 p.m., with performances of four Jeju intangible cultural assets. The first to be performed was “Haenyeo Song” (Jeju Intangible Cultural Asset No. 1) where several women dressed in traditional haenyeo garb took to the stage and reenacted how Jeju women divers harvested the sea, all while singing. This was followed by Jeju Intangible Cultural Asset No. 16, “Farm Song,” performers depicted an entire village sowing a field and then thrashing grain. There was also Jeju intangible cultural asset No. 17, “Weed Song,” as well as several songs sung in the Jeju traditional method (Jeju Intangible Cultural Asset No. 20).

▲ Women dressed in traditional haenyeo (Jeju female diver) clothing perform the “Haenyeo Song,” a Jeju cultural intangible asset and the Jeju Culture Festival. Photo by The Jeju Weekly
▲ An artisan builds a clay jar in the traditional Jeju method during the Jeju Culture Festival. Photo by The Jeju Weekly

Lining the perimeter of the festival grounds in the parking lot of Jeju City Hall were several tents allowing spectators to make traditional crafts like clay pots and necklaces. Also, there were demonstrations of traditional hat making (Korea Intangible Cultural Asset No. 4), and Jeju clay pot making (Jeju Intangible Cultural Asset No. 14).

▲ A traditional Korean scarf dance. Photo by The Jeju Weekly

As night fell the tempo and genre of music shifted from calm and traditional to upbeat and contemporary. There were several belly dances, and a flamenco performance with microphones attached to the dancer’s heels so her rhythmic thumping could be properly heard and appreciated by the audience. There was a artistic modern dance as well as two K-pop dance routines that were surprisingly good and accompanied with pyrotechnics and smoke.

▲ Belly dancers shimmy and shake to Middle Eastern music during the cold evening of Nov. 26. Photo by The Jeju Weekly
▲ A flamenco dancer filled the parking lot of Jeju City Hall with the reverberations of her heels pounding rhythmically and frenetically upon the stage. Photo by The Jeju Weekly

But the highlight of the night was easily Action Artcal; a martial arts, Korean traditional dance, and samulnori (traditional Korean drumming) performance. The troupe had flash and style, nun-chucks and swords, fire and energy. The performers did flips and pounded out forceful energetic beats from their drums. The most suspenseful moment of the entire night came when a blindfolded swordsmen cut the heads off of flowers held between the teeth of one of female drummers and clutched in her out stretched hands.

▲ A group of young woman perform to hip hop music. Photo by The Jeju Weekly

The event ended at 10 p.m. with a punk rock band that elicited screeches from the young females in the crowd.

Festival organizer and deputy general manager of The Federation of Artistic and Organization of Korea, Jejudo Association, Boo Jae Ho said that the purposes of the festival was, “to celebrate Jeju becoming one of the New7Wonders, … [as well as] to emphasize that Jeju not only has natural beauty but also cultural assets that are worth sharing [and] … to give Jeju locals the chance to experience these cultural events.”

Due to the cold Boo worried that there would not be many spectators, and though he was right about the turnout, those that were there seemed to enjoy the festival.

▲ Action Artcal, a martial arts and Korean music fusion group, put on a daring and innovative show near the end of the 2011 Jeju Culture Festival. Photo by The Jeju Weekly
▲ Action Artcal, a martial arts and Korean music fusion group, put on a daring and innovative show near the end of the 2011 Jeju Culture Festival. Photo by The Jeju Weekly

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