Tortoise looks upon the beautiful scenery of the world above water

The end of my fifth week at The National Changgeuk Company, and my third week of daily lessons. My schedule thus far has been dragging myself up the mountain to the company’s rehearsal studios in the morning to practice for 2 hours before singing with my teacher for 90 minutes, eating lunch and then watching the company rehearse. Then, when rehearsals wrap up at about 4, I go into the studio for another hour or two of solo practice.

Last week there were a few days when my voice had assumed a certain sexy huskiness that one usually associates with too much whiskey and cigarettes. Neither of these has been a staple of mine on this trip (Soju is much cheaper). It seems to be ok now however.

It’s production week for Seopyeonjae now and my teacher’s voice is a bit tired so I have been learning a new piece from 수궁가 (Sugungga) – The Tale of the Underwater Palace from her husband.

This has been a challenge because learning from a male voice, I have to sing in a higher register (although in the clip below, we had crept down from where we had started). The musical style of this epic is very different – but it is a lot of fun. Very blues.

Listen to the end to hear me attempting to vocalise the image of a goose flapping its wings. There is almost nothing more awkward.

Duck weeds float on the pond.
Fishes sleep in the water.
A bird flies vigorously in the sky.
The breeze and the waves of a wide and clear lake signify autumn.
Tortoise pulls and pushes blue waves of water with his front and rear legs.
He wanders here and there.
He gazes around on the surface of the water.
The land is wide.
The colour of the water is the same as that of the sky.

Lord Mayor’s Young and Emerging Artists Fellowships are an initiative of Brisbane City Council. This project is supported by Asialink and Arts Queensland.

The image at the top of this post is from The National Changgeuk Company’s “Mr. Rabbit and the Dragon King” (수궁가) directed by Achim Freyer (a student of Bertolt Brecht). I really hope to see this work one day. You can find bits and pieces on YouTube easily enough.

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