Be-Being present the Korean Masque Music Project: ‘Yi-myun-gong-jak’

The Be-Being ‘Korean Masque Music Project’ was performed as part of ‘All Eyes on Korea’:  A Hundred Day Summer Festival (June – September 2012). The performance took place at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre in London. The above clip, is courtesy of the Korean Cultural Centre (KCCUK), and is a demonstrative of just how wonderful the performance was. Mask Cultures are some of the oldest type of musical dramatic performances in the World, and this was a great introduction to Korean Mask Culture, and was fully appreciated by audience in what was an almost capacity crowd at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. This is the accompanying description by the Korean Cultural Centre in promotional material:

“This concert of traditional Korean music consists of both original compositions and reinterpretations of various traditional Korean mask plays. The title of the concert, Yi-myun-gong-jak, refers to an activity or action behind the scenes: wire-pulling in the background revealing the symbolic power of the mask and the masquerade.” (KCCUK, 2012).

Below is a short documentary on the Korean Masque Dance which is helpful in explaining its origins and meanings.

Of course, for fans of South Korean Cinema, memories of the wonderful The King and the Clown (왕의 남자: 2005) were not far away, as elements of the Korean Masque Dance are utilised by Director Lee in his sumptuous tale of treachery and Court intrigue during the reign of King Yeonsan (4 October 1476 – 20 November 1506).

The performance has made me want to find out more about Korean Masque Cultures, and certainly in relation to South Korean cinema, which is the subject of my current research.


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