By Kim Minji
A concert featuring giants in traditional Korean music and globally renowned Chinese American cellist Yo-Yo Ma was held on Sept. 9 at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to wish for peace between the two Koreas.
Marking the first anniversary of the Pyeongyang Declaration signed last year by the leaders of two Koreas during their Sept. 18-20 inter-Korean summit, “Culture Connects: DMZ Peace Concert” was held at Dorasan Station and hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Tourism Organization.
Until 2008, this station was the only rail connection between both Koreas among civilian access control lines. It also holds symbolic value as a venue where efforts toward inter-Korean peace have been made.
The concert was part of a project to attract “peace tourism” to the DMZ and its development into a global attraction through culture and arts. About 400 attended including Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, Culture Minister Park Yang-woo, Koreans forced to flee the North long ago and former defectors from North Korea.
Beginning the performance was the traditional Korean dance talchum put on by performers from the two Koreas. Cellist Ma followed with “Missing Mt. Geumgang” with North Korean performers and the Korean folk standard “Arirang” with South Korea’s leading pansori (traditional lyrical opera) vocalist Ahn Sook-sun, who is designated Intangible Cultural Heritage No. 23, and samulnori (traditional percussion quartet) pioneer Kim Duk-soo.
Ma’s performance at the DMZ was part of his “Bach Project,” in which he goes to 36 countries to tear down borders and boundaries with music. “We can dream through culture. We will be able to achieve what is impossible,” he said.