By Mudassir Raja
An electrifying series of Korean musical performances enthralled Doha audience at the drama theatre of Katara on Saturday night.
The music event called ‘Fantastic Sounds of Korea’ offered a variety of melody ranging from classic to modern and from Korean to Western. Presented by Katara in co-operation with the Embassy of Korea in Qatar, the music night was attended by ambassadors, diplomats, members of Korean community in Qatar and prominent figures from other expatriate communities in large numbers.
The auditorium echoed with the rocking music and sparked with glittering flash lights as Queen, the Korean fusion band, presented as many as 15 different performances and earned the well-deserved applause from the gathering.
The band consists of five female musicians. Ah-Reum Lee, who played gayageum – a traditional Korean string instrument; Yi-Su Chung on janggu – the most representative drum in traditional Korean music; Ji-Hyun Kim performed pansori – a Korean genre of musical storytelling performed by a singer and a drummer; Hye-Kyung Kwon played daegeum – a large bamboo transverse flute used in traditional Korean music; and Kyung-Min Kim, who played electric violin.
Queen is known for introducing audience from all over the world to Korean music as the band beautifully incorporates both Eastern and Western musical elements. The band has managed to popularise Korean music by playing various famous musical pieces including classical masterpieces, movie and television soundtracks, as well as pop songs. This has allowed the band to reach out to young and old audience alike across the global. Following in the footsteps of the K-Pop craze, Queen has performed in over 60 cities in 40 countries.
The world-renowned band started their energetic performance with the song titled Ong-Hye-Ya. The song is associated with the tradition of working together and in rhythm while harvesting barley in Korea. The second performance Ssukdaemeori is Korea’s famous pansori that tells a love story. The band’s other performances included soundtracks from different TV plays and movies. The most fascinating was the soundtrack of Mission Impossible. The musicians also presented a special song for Qatar.
In his opening speech, Kim Chang-mo, Ambassador of Korea to Qatar, said: “It is my great pleasure to welcome you to Fantastic Sounds of Korea. We prepared this special event to share Korean culture with Qatari people and diplomatic missions in Doha.
“This year marks the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Qatar, and the relations of the two countries have got strengthened further recently, especially with the successful visit of His Highness the Amir of Qatar to Seoul last January.
“In line with cementing ties between Seoul and Doha, this year, my embassy is going to present a number of Korean cultural events to the people in Qatar, and tonight is the first showcase.
“I proudly introduce to you the Korean fusion band Queen. Five young talented musicians are going to play four different instruments. They will play 15 musical selections including classical masterpieces, movie and television soundtracks, K-pops and a special song devoted to the Qatari people.
“Last but not the least, I would like to thank all organisers of the show, and above all – the relentless support of Maryam Majed al-Saad, Manager of International Affairs of Katara. Tonight’s event would not have been possible without her support.”
Q Grace Hye, a Doha-based Korean artist, attended the music event with her husband. She said: “I really appreciate their music. It is a wonderful example of how powerful and rich the musical dialogue between different cultures can be.
“Without forgetting their Korean roots, the young musicians mixed some other rhythms and Western instruments. That brings a new breath to Korean traditions. I felt very proud of the band. They are a great example of what Korea can offer to the world. It would be great if we could have more of these cultural shows in Qatar. I hope that Katara will continue developing more cultural programmes with the Korean embassy. I also appreciate our embassy for organising such a nice and rich show.”
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