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Friday, April 11, 2008

Shin Kwe-Dong Style Geomungo Sanjo by Kim Young-Jae

Listen to Samples

This album presents the masterful performance of Geomungo, a six-stringed Korean bass zither plucked with a short bamboo rod which is held in the right hand, and producing majestic deep sounds, by the master Kim Young-Jae.

It is widely believed that Geomungo Sanjo was originated by Baek Nak-Jun at the end of Joseon dynasty (1392-1910). Sanjo is a genre of traditional Korean folk music, involving an instrumental solo accompanied by drumming on the Janggu, an hourglass-shaped drum. The moment his Geomungo Sanjo had been known to the public, it was envied by many critics but soon its hiking popularity outshined them. It's due to Back Nak-Jun's brilliant musical creativity and Geomungo's great performing potentiality.

Though Geomungo has its remarkable superiority, it is very difficult to learn and play, and the more so to master the quintessence of Geomungo Sanjo. Kim Young-Jae was taught by Shin Kwe-Dong, who was one of three disciples of Baek Nak-Jun, to inherit Geomungo Sanjo for his lifetime and now has gained his position as a virtuoso. Kim Young-Jae inherits the orthodox of Shin Kwe-Dong and of Baek Nak-Jun in nature.

The characteristics of Shin Kwe-Dong style Geomungo Sanjo are that it generally comprises of daring, bold rhythm and beat. It presents Nonghyeon (various vibrations and hand movements exerted on the string) having the rhythm of intensity and the beats of affability, the graceful use of plectrum, evenly scaled resonance, and the solidly arranged structure throughout the whole Sanjo scale.

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