▲ Korea Performing Arts Development, Maro performed in Seattle on June 17 photo by Erik Martinson
Korean Performing Arts Development, Maro have performed in the United States after a dedicated fan helped to raise more than $20,000 for a tour.
The seven-piece team of traditional percussionists and dancers from Jeju captivated audiences with their performance of Leodo: The Paradise at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.
The June 17 show was partly the result of a Kickstarter campaign signed by more than 230 people to bring Maro to the US city.
Korean-born Seattle resident MinJeong Moon launched the bid after being impressed by the group’s earlier performance of Leodo in New York City.
After losing her father to cancer, she took comfort in seeing the group perform and became determined to bring them to her hometown.
▲ MinJeong Moon - Photo by Erik Martinson
Her dream came true when she presented the group's mesmerising and high spirited performance to a full house at the Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony.
Min said she was “punch drunk on gratitude” for the show which was attended by some 500 people.
Performing Korea’s traditional samulnori - itself a form of pungmul, meaning wind objects - Maro re-enacted Leodo, a 5,000 year-old mythological Jeju tale of a girl's quest to find paradise.
The finale drew standing ovations with celebrations continuing into the venue's main hall for madang-gut - an informal, open space performance.
Min said: “It felt so surreal to sit in the back and observe the audience members from all different backgrounds marvel in the performance.
“Some had taken days off from work and flown in from New York (including my two former managers from the Korean Cultural Center), Utah, Oregon, and as far as Canada and Korea to support my dream. I thought that people only did this for weddings.
“When the Maro group received a standing ovation, I lost it. This entire experience helped to confirm that pain can be turned into beauty and wounds into wisdom.”
▲Maro - Photo by Erik Martinson
Other audience members took to social media after the show to give the performance glowing endorsements.
Thorny Rose wrote on Facebook: "Thank you Maro and Min Moon for making this magical event happen in Seattle. It was truly a gift from the heart.
"I am still in awe over each artist's performance. Bravo!"
Min raised $23,287 for the performance through the Kickstarter campaign as well as receiving sponsorship from Korean Chamber of Commerce in Washington in US and Korean Traditional Performing Arts Foundation, Korean Air and Jeju Folk Village in Korea.
This led to Maro flying to the US for six days where they toured a string of shows in addition to the Benaroya Hall.
They also performed at the Seattle City Hostel Theatre, Frantz Coe Elementary School and at a Korean Adoptee Family Foundation (KORAFF) event.
The MARO team had the opportunity to tour Seattle, dine at the homes of Joana Chong (President of Korean American Chamber of Commerce), Susan Chung (President of KORAFF), and attend a few celebratory dinners.
Mingyeong Ha, a representative for Maro, told Jeju Sori: “I also feel very grateful for Minjeong Moon's commitment. I am very pleased to show Jeju's traditional art and culture through Ieodo: The Paradise.”
▲ KPAD, Maro performed in Seattle on June 17 - Photo by Erik Martinson
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