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East to East: a synergy of cultures, art forms
East to East: a synergy of cultures, art forms
19-Feb-2020 | Source:

‘The Same Same But Different’ show brings together the modern and the classical from Korea and India

On Friday, the city will host a collaborative music and dance performance called ‘Same Same But Different (SSBD),’ that bridges cultural forms between India and Korea.

Korean new wave music group Noreum Machi has produced SSBD, a concert series launched in 2013.

The Mumbai performance has been conceived and produced by InKo Centre, The Korea Foundation in collaboration with The Royal Opera House and Avid Learning. The SSBD series is dedicated to bringing together artists from different cultural backgrounds and provide an opportunity to Korean traditional music to converge with different art forms from across the world.

Friday’s performance in the city will feature pioneering contemporary dancer and choreographer Astad Deboo and Trayam, an ensemble of three critically acclaimed Indian musicians: percussionist B.C. Manjunath, singer and flautist Varijashree Venugopal and percussionist, composer and music director, Praveen D. Rao.

Together with Noreum Machi, these artistes will merge traditional Korean sounds with classical Indian music, complemented with the stillness and flow of contemporary dance. Korean percussionists Howon Lee and Hyun-ju Oh, the traditional Korean double reed piri player Gyeongsik Kim and gayageum player Hyeyeong Oh will also perform.

For this series, artistic director Ju-Hong Kim said he has taken traditional Korean music to countries like Germany, Turkey, Austria and Mongolia. He believes Indian culture has much in common with Korea’s traditional arts. “There are instruments like mridangam and jango, which are common to both cultures,” he said. “Jango is known as [an] instrument which has historically been handed down from India.”

Indian expressions, he said, are “as detailed and distinguished as the stars in the sky”, and Korean expressions are “the moon”. “Indian and Korean performers have interacted extensively to compose a single track which considers the characteristics of each instrument,” said Mr. Kim.

Mr. Deboo, who has collaborated with Korean artists since 2015, said this project was initiated by Rathi Jafer of InKo Centre, and premiered in 2017 in Chennai. It subsequently travelled to Hyderabad, Mumbai and Bangalore. Mr. Deboo, who has receieved training in kathak and kathakali, believes every culture has its unique points and each of them are distinct.

“But for me, music is universal. I have a very eclectic choice of music and musicians,” he said.

This edition of SSBD is its sixth, and is sub-titled ‘Universe’. “We agreed to retain the title as it effectively captures the spirit of the project which is to celebrate both the distinct music and movement vocabularies and cultural specificities of Korea and India,” said Ms. Jafer. “In terms of percussion, rhythm, the blend of traditional instruments with a contemporary twist and in the inward-looking yet outward flamboyance of dance, this distinct yet similar vocabulary is most evident.”