Their name comes from a Korean expression meaning “little by little, gradually without notice, but when you hear the pulsating rhythm of the janggo, a Korean drum, you may think of something else. Sinaboro, the University’s traditional Korean drumming club, uses this definition to explain the group’s goal of increasing awareness and appreciation of traditional Korean culture. Sinaboro will hold its seventh annual concert Saturday at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre.
“I think ‘Sinaboro’ the name has more meaning as to how we want to operate and expand here in Ann Arbor and onward. No big jumps or leaps, but just small steps that definitely count,” Business senior Eun Sung Lim, the club’s president, said in an e-mail.
Nearly nine-and-a-half years ago, a group of Korean University students decided they didn’t want to lose sight of their cultural roots. When they discovered the janggo, it became clear the instrument would be their link to their native home. What began as just eight students has now grown into an organization of more than 40 who learn about traditional Korean music and invite others to do the same.
Sinaboro’s wide range of talent is a result of their diverse group. The group is comprised of students from different years and backgrounds. Many are international students and a few are American-born.
“The biggest thing that I want to achieve is to bring our members to a certain level where they can really enjoy the music they play. Only then can the audience truly feel the same joy the performers are experiencing,” Lim said.
Saturday’s concert will consist of six pieces. “Young Nam Garak,” which showcases varying speeds on the janggo, is performed by the entire group seated onstage. As the drummers play, they rock and breathe in unison in a movement called “hu-heup.” Hu-heup helps the players keep the complex and changing rhythms of the piece.
Other sections of the performance captivate your sight with traditional Korean dance. The Kisaeng Dance does just this. Eight female dancers ascend the stage, taking on the role of “Kisaengs,” or female entertainers from historic Korea. The audience can expect this dance to be elegant and swift.
Sinaboro is derived from a musical genre called samulnori, which has earned global acclaim. The various drums and cymbals are named after elements of nature they sound like or symbolize. The janggo is related to rain, buk to cloud, kwenggari to thunder and the jing to wind. The performance originated from a celebration of farmers in ancient Korea who hoped for a prosperous harvest. Sinaboro takes this tradition and reinvents it in a modern sound.
Sinaboro strongly believes in the power of samulnori and its ability to bring communities together.
“Personally, I interpret that as being a Korean and letting others know of the joy of our music, but achieving all that without being close-minded or overly embracive of tradition,” Lim said.
Their music is the kind that resonates with a fearless force. So take in Sinaboro’s sound, if not “little by little” or “gradually without notice,” then at least all at once during Saturday’s performance.
Saturday at 6 p.m.
At the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
$8, $10 at the door