The Korea Herald


Korea Foundation introduces Southeast Asians to diverse Korean culture

Korea Festival showcases contemporary Korean culture through fusion music and dance

By Lee Woo-young

Published : May 12, 2013 - 19:44

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With Korean pop culture commanding a significant fanbase in Southeast Asian countries, efforts are being made to introduce a more diverse range of Korean culture.

One such effort is the Korea Festival which aims to introduce Korean music, dance performances and art exhibitions to Southeast Asian countries.

Organized by the Korea Foundation, a state-run organization that promotes Korean studies and culture aboard, the Korea Festival will take place in Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand from May 16-Aug. 23. 
Shin Eun-ju of Shin Eun-ju Dance Company performs. (Korea Foundation) Shin Eun-ju of Shin Eun-ju Dance Company performs. (Korea Foundation)

The festival will feature art exhibitions, music concerts and dance performances that show a blend of traditional Korean culture and contemporary features, lectures and seminars on Korean studies, and bilateral forums on public diplomacy.

“The Korea Foundation expects the event to introduce diverse aspects of Korean culture in a balanced way to Southeast Asians who are more familiar with K-pop and Korean TV dramas and movies,” said Yoon Keum-jin, director of culture and arts department of the KF Cultural Center, on Friday.

“We hope we don’t stop here as one-time event, but continue the event every year,” said Yoon. The KF held the first Korea Festival in Brazil last year.

The festival features touring events, including an exhibition of Korean print works that will be held at the National Museum of Indonesia and Metropolitan Museum of Manila to show the development of Korea’s print culture and experimental creations in prints. 
Ensemble Sinawi. (Korea Foundation) Ensemble Sinawi. (Korea Foundation)

Fusion music band Ensemble Sinawi, known for mixing traditional Korean music with classical and popular music, will hold concerts in the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore, where they will also put on a collaborative performance with local musicians including Philippines’ Grace NoNo, Indonesian violinist Fafan Isfandiar and Vietnamese B-boy team Big Tow.

The Seoul Chamber Society will meet classical music fans in Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines with familiar classical music. The musical group is also planning a visit to local charity group Yayasan Heesu located outside of Jakarta, Indonesia, and holding a charity concert there.

Contemporary dance performances by Eunju Shin Dance Company and EDX2 Dance Company are expected show a new level of Korean dance to the Southeast Asian audience with a new interpretation of traditional Korean dance by Eunju Shin Dance Company and hip-hop-based popular dance moves mixed with contemporary features by EDX2 Dance Company.

The dance teams will tour in Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar, where they will perform jointly with local dancers to facilitate future cultural exchanges.

Leaders of Korea and the participating countries will hold bilateral discussions on social, economical and cultural exchanges while Korean studies-related events and bilateral forums on public diplomacy will be held to contribute to people’s understanding of Korean culture and enhance bilateral relations.

By Lee Woo-young (