Globally-renowned non-verbal performers Blueman Group in S. Korea for first time in 14 years
Updated: 2022-06-16 17:14:30 KST
It's Thursday and that means it's time for our regular culture segment "Arts and Culture."
As always, our Kim Bo-kyoung is here in the studio with us to share with us the latest in the culture sector.
Hello, Bo-kyoung, what have you brought for us today?
Well, when we think of summer, we usually think of blue, the color that makes us feel cooler by reminding us of ocean.
Well, to help people feel cool during the hot summer, an energetic performance group, who have their faces covered in blue, has arrived in South Korea.
They have been performing their non-verbal shows for three decades and have attracted tens of millions of people.
Allow me to give our views a peek of the rocking and energetic shows these men in blue put on.
35-million people in 25 countries over the past 30 years.
Such huge numbers for just one performance group.
But Blueman Group has done it.
As virus prevention restrictions are removed, more and more globally-renowned artists are visiting South Korea, including these men in blue.
They are here in South Korea for the first time in 14 years.
Though they were supposed to come to the country two years ago, the pandemic pushed their tour back until now.
The performers are thrilled to finally be up on stage.
"There was a long time I think where we thought will there ever be an end, will the show actually come back? So it feels fantastic to be able to do it again and the fact that now we can even tour around the world and keep doing it. It is a pretty great feeling."
Blueman Group use mundane items such as PVC pipes and marshmallows, turning them into musical instruments and props, as language is NOT used.
And that is the part of excitement, the show captain says.
"What are the attractive points of non-verbal performance compared to other shows?"
"Actually non-verbal performance gives us a lot of freedom to express things that go beyond words. So we can communicate through our eyes, and through feelings that we have and also through our musical instruments. It gives us a whole new world to express ourselves that goes beyond words."
The captain says blue is the most appropriate color to show the group's identity.
"Blue is, it matches very well with the qualities of character which is open-minded, curious and very interesting."
To enjoy the show better, the performer says, bring an open mind.
And the more audiences enjoy the show, the more energy the performers get.
"We often consider the audience sort of the fourth Blueman or the fourth character because we interact with the audience so much that we come out to the audience during the show. The energy of the audience changes the show. It changes us on stage."
The show runs until August 7th.
It must be a great opportunity for families with children to enjoy the show together.
Now alongside these performances, many people are now looking forward to travel this summer.
Are there any places holding special events?
Well, visiting cultural heritage sites across the country might be more exciting this year with the 2022 version of the "Visit Korean Heritage Campaign".
With actress Kim Min-ha known for her role in the TV series hit "Pachinko" nominated as the celebrity ambassador, the campaign kicked off with a press conference on Tuesday at the former presidential office.
The campaign started in 2020, but focused on non-contact programs.
Now that people have more freedom to travel, the campaign has returned with more programs aiming to boost tours to the country's cultural heritage sites.
Since Cheongwadae is open, the venue will host a wide range of programs such as a performance stage and media art exhibition, while programs that invite people to visit cultural heritage sites such as the Royal Culture Festival, which welcomes people to royal palaces from the Joseon-era and the World Heritage Festival, which holds regional festivals will run again with more collections to see.
Adding to that, campaign videos including one that features Kim Min-ha touring Haeinsa Temple in Hapcheon will be shown at New York's Times Square.
"Global attention toward our traditional culture is higher than ever before. This year, the "World Heritage Festival" with diverse media art will take place in eight regions across the nation. Expanding the tour course to Cheongwadae, which was Gyeongbok-gung Palace's rear garden, we will have performances of K-pop and Gugak commemorating National Liberation Day and also have a media art exhibition, so please visit."
"With Korean content, more and more Korean culture is becoming known globally and I am so happy and proud to let more people get to know the historical beauty of Korea's own cultural heritage. Thank you."
Now moving on to the classics, Bo-kyung, I heard the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition is taking place, and it seems Korean pianists are doing well?
Yes, six pianists qualified for the final round of the 16th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, and the list includes 18-year-old South Korean pianist Lim Yunchan.
Among all the competitors, he is the youngest.
The announcement was made by the jury, after the conclusion of the semifinal round, in which 12 of the original 30 competitors played.
Lim played 12 Transcendental Etudes by Franz Liszt and, Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 22.
Those 12 pianists competing in the semifinal round also included three other South Korean pianists, but only Lim got to the finals.
Each of the six finalists will pick two concertos to play in Texas from June 14th to 18th, and the final announcement will be made on the 18th at 7PM local time.
The 16th edition was supposed to be held last year, but was delayed by a year because of the pandemic and ended up falling on the 60th anniversary of the first Cliburn competition, which was in 1962.
A South Korean has won this competition before, right?
That's right, Sunwoo Yekwon won the competition in 2017, meaning that 18-year-old Lim Yunchan would become the second Korean winner if he wins the contest.
Alright, let's have our fingers crossed for him.
Thank you Bo-kyoung for sharing those updates in arts and culture, and I will see you next week.