Nunchi Nori is an age-inclusive collective that will teach children and families of all races traditional Korean drumming in Philadelphia.
I am the mother of an African-American daughter and a Korean son. When my husband Ben and I adopted our kids, we made a commitment to honoring and learning about their birth cultures. One of the ways I did this was to join the p'ungmul (Korean traditional drumming) group at the University of Pennsylvania. This was a student-run group and I was the only non-Korean there (as well as being twice as old as anyone else present.)
I had a wonderful time, and absolutely fell in love with p'ungmul. It is drumming, it is dance, it is (historically) shamanistic...and it is incredibly underappreciated. Sadly, even so for Koreans in the US. I realized how hard it would be for my son to join a group like this if he ever wished to when he was older -- he'd have as hard a time as I had, with my limited Korean language skills, and almost NO experience with the amazing, mystical beats that make p'ungmul!
My experience with learning p'ungmul was really like being dropped onto another planet -- and I was so obviously "the other" in the group. It made me think of how transracial adoptees not only grow up feeling somewhat "other" in their families, but also feel "other" when they try to join social, musical or culture groups at college, with people who share their ethnic background.
My goal -- with support from Korean p'ungmul drummers in the Philadelphia and New York areas -- is to create a p'ungmul teaching collective in the Philly area, for first-generation Korean and adopted Korean kids and their families -- although we will be open to all ethnicities (otherwise how could my son's sister come along?) Kids and their families will be able to learn traditional Korean drumming, play together, and even learn the acrobatic dances that are integral to p'ungmul. We've got a commitment of rotating, volunteer drumming teachers, and a great, comfortable, professional meeting space to rent for a cheap hourly rate.
What we do not have is the drums, which need to be ordered from Korea (although we may also have found a source in Flushing, which will save us tons of shipping). We expect to start with only a few sets to share, as p'ungmul is traditionally taught at first with mnemonic chanting before the drums are even touched. And, since p'ungmul is often associated with t'alch'um, the Korean masked dance, we will have opportunities as well to make and wear masks and costumes with the kids for use in drumming!
For our Kickstarter campaign, our plan is to find the total of a workable but modest number of drums (one set in adult, one or possibly two sets in kids' sizes), the rental costs for four sessions of meetings/rehearsals (we hope to meet biweekly), and the gasoline costs for those four sessions, for driving and picking up our drumming teachers from the University of Penn. Outside of the drums themselves, our overhead is very low -- and having the drums will give us the opportunity to experience and learn an important, and mind-blowing, facet of Korean traditional performing arts -- and to give this opportunity to kids in Philly who would otherwise not get it until college. (P'ungmul is by nature age-inclusive and I can attest to the fact that even toddlers love it.)
Please donate to Nunchi Nori's drum fund to get this journey started! A dollar makes a difference, seriously. And look for updates at our blog, http://nunchinori.wordpress.com. THANK YOU!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
pledged of $1,500 goal
seconds to go
Apr 25, 2010 - Jun 10, 2010
Pledge $1 or more
we will thank you, by name, at our blog, http://nunchinori.wordpress.com!
Pledge $10 or more
10 backers Limited (10 of 20 left)
you will receive a thank you card in the MAIL -- a card handmade by a young p'ungmuler-to-be! (likely either claudia or béla!)
Pledge $15 or more
a very special reward -- a PAULOWNIA TREE SEEDLING! paulownia wood is frequently used for making high-quality p'ungmul drums and comes from the beautiful flowering trees also known as empress trees. we planted our paulownias from seed on march 17th 2010, and we have a lot of them to give away! a LOT! NOTE: THIS REWARD IS LOCAL PICK-UP ONLY AND CANNOT BE SHIPPED. REWARD LIMIT SUBJECT TO ACTS OF NATURE. RIGHT NOW IT'S IN THE HUNDREDS, THOUGH.
Pledge $50 or more
4 backers Limited (6 of 10 left)
wow, you are pretty hardcore. how about a handpainted, fired, food-safe coffee mug? designed and executed by either béla or claudia, it is bound to be non-representational, yet very evocative.