Dr. Eun Ha Park

Dr. Eun Ha Park is an expert dancer, percussionist, educator, and the keeper of the Intangible Cultural Property of Korea No. 3, inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanities in 2009. Throughout her life, Dr. Park has amazed global audiences and fellow musicians as well as participants in her meticulously-run workshops with her talent, artistry, and commitment to her music.

Dr. Park started playing Korean traditional music and performing Korean traditional dance at the age of five. Her professional career began in 1984 when she became a founding member as well as the first woman to join the Samulnori Troupe at the National Gugak Center (formerly, the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts), and currently is the leader of the Samulnori Troupe.

Park Eun-ha has been a trailblazer in the world of traditional Korean music, both as a woman and an innovator. She is comfortable in both the traditional and modern aspects of her music and offers an excellent example of both the future of Korean music and how to get there.

“It was a joy to hear and see her perform…” R. Anderson Sutton, Dean, School of Pacific & Asian Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Seoljanggu(설장구) is a solo dance with janggu (장구, a double-headed, hourglass-shaped drum) which takes place as part of an individual performance in nongak (농악農樂 literally, Farmers' Music). Nongak is a popular performing art derived from communal rites and rural entertainments. It has evolved into a representative performing art of Korea, combining a percussion ensemble and sometimes wind instruments, parading, dancing, drama, and acrobatic feats. Nongak begins with the Farmers’ Music band dancing in various formations which is followed by the individual band members showing off their instrumental skills and acrobatic skills. Seoljanggu has always been seen as a virtuosic act reserved for the best janggu player in a troupe.

Dr. Park will perform seoljanggu of the Yang Doil tradition of Gyeonggi and Chungcheong provinces. The rhythmic patterns of seoljanggu in the Yang Doil tradition do not rely on complicated rhythms and have many empty beats/rests filled by dance movements. It uses many simple rhythms in both Chaepyeon (채편 right hand, struck with a stick) and Bukpyeon (북편left hand, struck with a mallet). The dance movements of the feet and hand are small with details as well as big movements using wide spaces. Rhythms are played very softly in the beginning and they gradually get faster and louder. When Janggu is played at its best with hand and foot movements, it creates lots of joy and excitement as well as gracious dynamics. The performance will start with dasrum (다스름 literally, tuning) and move on rhythms of hwimori(휘모리 presto), dongsalpuri(동살푸리), gutgeori(굿거리), jajinmori(자진모리 allegro), hoodoorook garak(후두륵가락), dolsangwoo garak(돌상우가락), and hwimori(휘모리).

Jing Chum (징춤, Jing Dance) is a form of performing art that synthesizes the beauty of Korean traditional dance and the exquisite musical quality of Jing. Jing Chum’s objective is to create a musical composition and dance choreography, often improvised in front of an audience, which results in a cathartic release of emotion.

Jing (징, large gong) is considered one of the most important musical instruments in Korean Folk music along with Kkwaenggwari (꽹과리, a small handheld gong), Janggu (장구, hourglass drum), and Buk (북, barrel drum). The Jing is played by striking the middle of the instrument with a cloth-covered hammer or by hand, and its sound represents the wind. The simplicity of its appearance and use can lead one to misunderstand its true versatile musical quality. In the hierarchical divisions of Korean traditional musical instruments and performances, it is one of a few musical instruments that were used in various genres from royal court music to folk music. Jing is an important component in the Royal Ancestral Ritual in the Jongmyo Shrine and its Music (종묘제례 및 종묘제례악), in Daechwita (대취타, military music), in Namsadang Nori (남사당놀이, performance of an itinerant troupe), and in Nongak (농악, farmers’ music). The government of South Korea has officially designated these priceless aspects of intangible culture for preservation in accordance with the 1962 Cultural Property Protection Law. They have become the Important Intangible Cultural Heritage of Korea protected by UNESCO.

Jing has marched, played, and caused laughter among all classes and social statuses of the Korean people. It has developed its historical, social, and cultural context in Korea. All these aspects are infused in Jing Chum.