Review by Charlotte Leamon
Variety E-Seo is an up and coming ensemble from South Korea, who are touring and presenting their work for the first time at Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The four main members of the ensemble perform traditional dance, song and wear traditional costumes of ancient ritualistic traditions. Their names are Wi Yeonseung, Park Hyundai, Jin Seunghun and Moon Doyeon. In the performance there are three movements which are based on traditional music forms Mungut, Gilnori and nonngak which include, “shamanistic rituals, beautiful costumes and vibrant and exciting movements.”
The members begin by introducing themselves and warning the audience to not be scared, as the music is very loud! The first movement began with percussion instruments such as the Sogo, Janggu, Pungmul-buk, Kkwaenggwari and Jing. They performed a wonderful combination of rhythms, commonly duple against triple rhythms which are called Jangdan. They left room for solos which were very impressive as the Janggu performer rapidly hit each side of the drum in alternations, flicking his wrist and turning his head for accuracy. The changes in rhythm had smooth transitions and the performers knew how to highlight certain combinations of rhythm so that the audience had their feet tapping and heads bobbing. They performed some vocalisations in this piece, however the next piece included a singer. The vocalist had a fan and indicated for the audience to begin clapping in time with the music, this was just the beginning of audience participation. Pansori includes a vocalist and drummer and is once again a traditional art form. His tone was deep and rich, and the flourishes and ornamentations were highly impressive. The drummer also performed impressive rolls and had a few vocalisations which acted as an assistance and support to the vocalist.
After this, the senap performer assisted the group on stage. This instrument is a copper-made trumpet and gives a nasal tone. The breath work and tenacity of this performer was great as he proceeded to play for the remainder of the performance non-stop. The sangmal headwear was worn as part of the costume in the latter part of the program which are hats with a long ribbon attached that can be spun and flipped in circles and other patterns which were mesmerising. As they danced and played they brought an exciting energy to the stage and everyone was highly impressed, and more importantly having a fun and enjoyable experience. The joy that I saw performing brought these musicians, as well as the audience was touching and heart-warming that it brought tears to my eyes. Their dancing was spectacular, with acrobatic-like tricks include turns and spins were incredible and very impressive.
A lively, vibrant group of performers that were entertaining and had the audience roaring. The final song invited the audience to get up and dance, and every single audience member joined in on the fun, holding hands and celebrating together.