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East Meets West as Maria Pomianowska Blends Two Cultures in Korea

South Korea
San 1-1, Duckjin-dong, Duckjin-gu
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Maria Pomianowska with Polish and Korean musicians, photo courtesy of  Maria Pomianowska

Maria Pomianowska, an instrumentalist, vocalist and promoter of traditional music, performed with Polish and Korean musicians at the 2014 Jeonju International Sori Festival. 

Maria Pomianowska blended together Polish and Korean musical traditions for the Poland-Korea Project, the latest in her line of cross-cultural projects. Since 2011, the artists has fused the music of Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan, Tunisia, Algeria and Senegal with that of Poland, with the participation of both Polish and foreign artists.

The Poland-Korea project draws from Polish and Korean musical traditions based on triple metre, which is common to both countries. Known in Poland as the mazurka rhythm, it is an essential part of the Polish musical identity. Interestingly, Maria Pomianowska found certain similarities in Korean music – a very similar rhythmic metre is regarded as a characteristic element of Korean music. This element formed a musical bridge between the two cultures.

The programme prepared for the International Sori Festival falled into two parts. In the first one, the artists showcased the two traditions separately, while in the second part, titled 'Conversations', they presented a blend of traditional Polish and Korean music, where elements of Mazovian songs, Obereks, Kujawiaks and Mazurkas met with the expressive Korean sanjo genre and elements of the pansori style.


A specially-prepared piece mixing Chopin’s Mazurka, Op. 68, No. 3 with 'Arirang', one of the greatest Korean folk songs, was performed at the climax of the show.

Maria Pomianowska also gave a lecture about traditional Polish music and instruments, and moderated workshops during which Polish and Korean artists had the opportunity to exchange ideas regarding their respective cultures and preparation of musical material.

Organizer: The International Sori Festival in Jeonju


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source: press materials; edited by kd; translated by Kasia Dolato; September 2014

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