9 May 2012
Venue: Room 802 (Anthropology Tea Room), Human Sciences Building (Building 201)
Host: Dr Sunhee Koo Department of Anthropology University of Auckland
Chaoxianzu refers to the Korean ethnic minority in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The largest Chaoxianzu population is based in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in Northeast China, which borders Russia and North Korea. Since the establishment of the PRC, Chaoxianzu musicians have been encouraged by the central government to promote their music as a symbol of their ethnicity in multi-national China. Pre-1950s Chaoxianzu music was largely represented by traditional and Western style vocal music. Since the 1950s, however, Chaoxianzu musicians have visited North Korea to learn traditional Korean instruments and instrumental music. Instead of simply adopting the traditional instruments, Chaoxianzu musicians modi!ed the physical structure and acoustics of the instruments. Their instrumental music largely consists of new compositions by Chaoxianzu musicians and arrangement of the North Korean repertoire. By discussing Chaoxianzu musicians, their development of Korean instruments and instrumental music in China, I show how a diasporic Korean community has creatively constructed their cultural identity different from either that of North or South Korea. With musical and ethnographic data collected from Yanbian in 2004 and 2005, I argue that the diasporic Korean context in Yanbian is a site for constructing hybrid cultural and political identities and, more importantly, a creative space that enables Chaoxianzu to express their uniqueness as diasporic Koreans in China.
As a Lecturer of Ethnomusicology, Dr Sunhee Koo joined the University of Auckland, Department of Anthropology, in fall 2011. She received her BA and MA degrees in Musicology from New York University and PhD in Music (ethnomusicology) from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa (UHM). Before she came to Auckland, she taught Western Classical, World Music, and Asian Music courses in UHM, Kapi‘olani Community College, and Hawai‘i Tokai International College. As an instrumentalist, she led Chinese and Korean Music Ensembles based in Honolulu. Her research interests lie in a number of topics in East Asian music with issues of identity politics, diaspora, globalization, and modernity.