The Life and Art of Chudam(the Pond in Autumn)
edition and translation: Jeonju Cultural Foundation
The pond in autumn
The water in autumn is clearer than the other season.
So do water stored.
Summer showering often passes now,
water moderately stored is
with rippling the surface of the pond.
This is the pond in autumn, the purity.
In the pond in autumn,
It is more plentiful than the other season.
The red or yellow leaves
colored by the autumn
sink in the pond in autumn,
so make a feast of colors.
From long, long time ago
the pond of sounds in Chudam Hong Jeong-taek′s house
looked like the pond in autumn.
Little boys and girls as an innocent children
get into the pond of sounds in Chudam′s house
and became blue and red.
boys and girls much more developed
get out of it
and get into the larger pond of sounds.
Now, Chudam is gone,
but the pond of sounds in his house is still passing.
He entered the fascinating world without hesitation!
When Hong Jeong-taek, the master singer of Pansori, was 14 years old, he entered Pansori. In those days, he watched Song Man-gap′s Korean traditional opera(Changgeuk), played in Jongduk-ri, Jongsan-Myeon, Buan-gun, so this made his heart hot. He went to Lee Gi-gwon, the master singer of Pansori, and learned Pansori from him.
Lee Gi-gwon, the first teacher of him, was a person who only lived in Jeonbuk. -the story went that the representative of the master singer of Pansori in Jeonnam was Jeong Gwon-jin, in Jeonbuk was Lee Gi-gwon. Lee Gi-gwon had a great influence on young singers before one generation. From 14 to 18, he sat at Lee′s feet and learnt the five Pansori.
Many male singers at puberty passed a serious crisis, So did he. When Chudam was not able to sing Pansori, he went to Wolmyeong temple in Buan and worked harder, so he could recover his health.
He used to refer to Lee, Song, Lee Hwa-jungsun, and Lim Bang-ul, who were the master singers, as the most influential people to him. Actually it is difficult to check that he learn when, where, what, and how much time from them, but it seemed for him to be influenced by them through interaction with them in Seoul from his late teens to early 20′s.
His exoteric performance activities began after he was 22 years old. At that time, Korean traditional opera organizations, a generic name, Hyeopryul Company, strolled actively. He went a long way to northern land taking an active part in a number of ′Chosun Korea Traditional Opera Organization,′ ′Woori Korean Traditional Opera Organization,′ and ′Seon-il Korean Traditional Opera Organization.′ He used to take on a main character in ′Seon-il organization′ made by master singers of Hong Du-won and Kim Ok-jin, and he take part in as member for the largest time. It was in that time when he got married to Kim Yu-aeng was in that time.
Actually, he was not just clown, but romantic performer. In last year, the author introduced Kim Yu-aeng′s life and art as a part of those recording project. In the author′s opinion, it′s difficult to try to understand him and Kim separately. They would write a performance script together in Seon-il Organization, and announce many performances: Arirang Apricot Flower, the Princess Seon-hwa, the Great Wall of China, Six Martyred Ministers, and so on. After the independence in 1945, he became a vocal teacher, and Kim became a dance teacher at Gyeongbuk Provincial Institute for Korean Traditional Performing Arts in Daegu. They were always together not only that time but also when they moved to Jeonju in 1958. They set up music academy in Jeon-dong which was sown town of Jeonju and trained about 40 pupils together. Finally they both were nominated the holder of Sugungga(Sea Palace song) and Chunhyangga Pansori, a Jeollabuk-do Intangible Cultural Property in 1984. After they held the professor of the Pansori department at Jeonbuk Provincial Institute for Korean Traditional Performing Arts in 1987, they educated many singers of Pansori.
He preferred teaching songs to pupils to singing them on the stage(Pan)! He have lived in Jeonju after 1952 to the rest of his life. So, most of master singers of Pansori from Jeonju were his pupils, and they became prominent master singers of Pansori today.
He was also one of the important people who revived ′Jeonju Daesaseup′ and founded ′the national drummer(gosu) contest′ that had the first step to a successful career for a number of drummer today. Kim Ik-du, the professor of the department of Korean literature in Jeonbuk National University, who learnt the drum methods from him says that ″he was a great dignified drummer.″ He was not too encouraging and disheveled, and didn′t turn away his gaze from singer until the performance was over.
′The Chudam′s National Korean Classical Music Contest′ that started from 2007 to now is another stage made by his friends for carrying on his will about sounds. During his life time, he never taken charge of contest judge, probably because he had strong rejection of 'evaluating ′sounds.′
His sounds would be the pond filled with serving and being courteous to human! His family would have relevance to Donghak Peasant Revolution. The reason for mention of his family isn′t due to personal feeling, but correlation between the thought of Donghak and the attitude of him. The idea about ′Innaechun′ of Donghak is the thought of sanctity of life that as the human is the god itself, everyone is created equally. The attitude of him is represented in his usual awareness about contest and a manner toward pupils.
In the interview with the Jeonbuk Ilbo, he has said that ″I don′t take charge of contest judge. For I am grieved at heart for determining the ranking of contestants who are nearly equal in their skill.″
According to social conditions of the present time that deciding the ranking is a matter of course, it′s hard to understand him. Maybe he has thought that determining the ranking of contestants is an evil dead because he experienced all sorts of emotions for becoming the master singer of Pansori.
In these examples, we can know his life style. He respected other people respectively from a new pupil just entering the sound′s world to a master singer.
Everyone keeps emotional experience met as a child throughout whole life. If he was a self-centered and calculating person, we would not have many master singers today.
He never put down drumstick to 91 years of age because he like to teach pupils very much! Chudam Hong Jeong-taek who like to live in a small house and tend the deep pond of sounds all his life rather than to go forward to the wide ocean! It should be recognized that he is the greatest contributor of flourishing Pansori today.
Hong Jeong-taek, the holder of Sugungga Pansori, a Jeollabuk-do intangible cultural property No.2. in 1984, founded 'Chudam Pansori Research Institute' with his wife, Kim Yu-aeng, and trained Pansori and the drum methods to pupils until the rest of his life. His sound is taken over by his granddaughter, Kim Se-mi, and grandson, Hong Cheol-ung.
The Profile of Hong Jung-taek
The holder of Sugungga(Sea Palace song) Pansori, a Jeollabuk-do intangible cultural property No. 2.
The full time professor of the Pansori department at Jeollabuk-do Provincial Institute for Korean Traditional Performing Arts.
The administrator of the Hong Jung-taek & Kim Yu-aeng Pansori Research Institute.
1921 Birth in Buan-gun, Jeollabuk-do
1967 Winner of a special prize in Pansori Concours in Chunhyang festival
1968 Winner of a special prize in Korean Traditional Music Concours in Jeolla-do
1980 Winner of a culture prize in Jeolla-do
1982 Winner of an achievement award on the Korean Traditional Music Association
1998 Winner of a culture prize in Mokjung Cultural Foundation
2001 Winner of a Dongri grand prize
2008 Winner of a prize, ″A boastful Jeonbuk person″
2013 Passing away