This Beautiful Korean Musician Preserves an Ancient Art

In Culture
TeRra Han plays the kayageum, a traditional Korean 12-string zither, at Carnegie Hall in New York on Sept. 29, 2015. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
TeRra Han plays the kayageum, a traditional Korean 12-string zither, at Carnegie Hall in New York on Sept. 29, 2015. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

With her traditional Korean dress, her perfectly made up face, and demure appearance on stage, TeRra Han seemed like a work of art of ancient times that had come to life as she performed in New York’s Carnegie Hall.

She plays the kayageum, a Korean zither-like instrument. In ancient times, the world was quiet enough to hear its twelve silken strings with ease.

TeRra—whose name roughly translates as “great things coming to earth”—wants her music to be relevant today.

TeRra Han, a virtuoso kayageum musician, in New York on Sept. 30, 2015. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
TeRra Han, a virtuoso kayageum musician, in New York on Sept. 30, 2015. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

“I think this music is really needed in this period,” she said. The style TeRra plays is called sanjo, which is considered a masterpiece of Korean heritage by UNESCO. For one hour, the performer builds an intricate melody.

Sanjo starts with slow, soft plucks before developing into a rapid gallop accompanied by a drum. Unlike Western music, themes and motifs of the Korean art are not fully brought out until the end, when the audience is treated to the glorious conclusion.

This musical tradition may seem out of place at a time of busy lifestyles, information overload, and instant access to things. Easy distraction replaces the ability to listen well.

“I don’t want my music to just exist as if in a museum. I want to share my music with all people,” she said. Her goal is to find her audience. “I have to think about when, where, and to whom I should play this music. … I have to open my mind and share my music,” TeRra said.

Read the full article by Milene Fernandez at Epoch Times.

 

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