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* Date : 2015-08-25

Lee Kwang-soo, the Creator of Samulnori

Samulnori is Korean traditional percussion quartet consisting of four musical instruments, kkwaenggwari (small gong), janggu (double-headed drum), jing (gong) and buk (drum). This particular genre was created by Lee Kwang-soo in 1978, based on the melodies and rhythms of pungmulnori (folk music). The dynamic and powerful sounds of samulnori that place the audiences in a state of trance have taken the world by storm since its beginnings.

Lee Kwang-soo learned traditional Korean music starting at an early age thanks to his father, who was the leader of Namsadangpae, a traveling theatrical troupe. He joined Namsadangpae at the age of 5 and showed his artistic and musical brilliance early on. Then, together with Kim Yong-bae, Kim Duck-soo and Choi Jong-sil, he formed a band called Samulnori and began serving as the ambassador of traditional Korean music and culture.

The INNERview crew went to the Academy of Korean Music to meet Lee Kwang-soo. The Academy was founded by Lee after he returned to his hometown, Yesan, in 1993 after his band disbanded two years earlier. He is dedicated to educating and training excellent practitioners at the Academy in addition to promoting traditional Korean music worldwide by performing samulnori himself at home and abroad.

During the interview, we had a chance to tour his hometown, Yesan, and pay a visit to Sapdari Market in Sapgyo, which was his father’s hometown, his favorite rice soup restaurant, a samulnori competition that has been taking place for the past 16 years, and his childhood home in the Yedang Plains. Also, Lee Kwang-soo, also known as the gifted gong player from the heavens and the living legend of binari, presented us with a beautiful binari performance.

Tune into The INNERview this week to meet the celebrated musician, Lee Kwang-soo, who’s contributing to the advances made in traditional Korean music and promoting traditional Korean culture around the world.

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