Disclaimer: I don't know very much about pansori (spelt "pansoori" in most reviews of Chunhyang), so maybe someone can add to this.

Pansori is the epic and oral storytelling tradition of Korea. In performance, there's usually a singer and a drummer. The singer uses an incredible range of voice to both recite and sing the lyrics, which shift between third person narrative and first person. He or she also strikes poses and gestures, deftly using a folding fan and sometimes a handkerchief. The drummer uses a stick to strike the wooden body of the drum with one hand, while using his left hand on the drum head--he also calls out to the singer occasionally. It's very rhythmic and you can actually tap your feet to it, unlike many other epic traditions.

There's an unusual sort of call and response technique involved with the audience, a bit like some African-American and evangelical churches. These audiences are actively involved with the story, sometimes chanting the words ahead of time, sometimes reacting to the joy or sadness of whatever's just happened.

Tradition holds that the pansori comes from the rituals of shamans of the Cholla region, which won't surprise you once you hear the songs. Some shamans became itinerant minstrels (kwangdae) instead, and during the Choson period, strictly-pansori kwangdae branched away from purely-entertainment kwangdae. There are female pansori, though I don't know the earliest date of such.

You can see the amazing muscles in the neck and throat of a performer, and it's no wonder, because a complete pansori takes 6 to 8 hours to perform. Pansori plays a major role in the film, "Chunhyang," so perhaps more information in English (outside of academic journals) will be forthcoming.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.