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• What is SamulNori 

The term SamulNori was first brought up in 1978 and describes a genre of music as well as serving as the name of Korea's leading traditional performance group. When used to describe the music genre, SamulNori refers to the performance of four musicians playing and dancing each with a different Korean traditional percussion instrument. The Korean worlds "samul" means "four things", and "nori" means "to play" hence "four things playing."

In 1978 four extremely dynamic and talented Korean percussionists came together to form the group SamulNori. Henceforth, SamulNori has sparked a renaissance in Korea's music scene as well as becoming world-acclaimed. The origin of SamulNori's music can be traced back to what is usually referred to as "farmers" band music ("nong-ak"). SamulNori uniquely combined the rhythms used in nong-ak with musical elements from shamanic ceremonies and modern compositions.

They therefore stand at a musical crossroad where rural and urban traditions and east and west meet in a synthesis of music and dance. They mastered the rhythms to a high level of intricacy and also increased the tempo immensely. These new styles were what they became known for and what differentiated samulnori, the music genre, from nong-ak.

Over the years, SamulNori's U.S. tours have brought them to New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Hawaii and the Asia Society's sponsored tour across the country. In 1985, the Asia Society was awarded an "Obie" for Off-Broadway Theatre for introducing SamulNori to New York's stages.

SamulNori has performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and at the Smithsonian Institution as part of an effort to establish scholarly exchanges between the Smithsonian and Korea. They also appeared at the Percussive Arts Society Convention in Dallas and served a residency for the University of California at Berkeley.

Internationally, SamulNori has toured Germany, Austria, Great Britain, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, China, Australia and Greece, where they accompanied the Korean Olympic representatives for the lighting of the Olympic torch in 1988. They also visited Italy, where they were filmed for a Puma sneakers commercial.

SamulNori has collaborated with many highly acclaimed musicians from around the world from a variety of styles of music ranging from jazz to pop and have also performed concerti written expressly for them with orchestras. They have taken part in many festivals including "Live Under the Sky" in Japan and Hong Kong, the Kool Jazz Festival, Moers Jazz Festival, and Han River International Jazz Festival.

In addition to their busy touring schedule, SamulNori is dedicated to furthering the tradition of their unique performance and teach at the SamulNori Academy of Music in Seoul. They have been the subject of several books (including their own intensive instructional book) and videos for many labels including SONY. their 15 recordings are available on the CBS/SONY, Nonesuch, CMP, Polygram, Real World, and ECM record labels.


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