Pansori is a long picaresque narrative, alternately played, talked and sang, where a percussionist accompanies the performer, male or female. The interpreter makes live alone for hours a while palette of colorful characters such as peasants, charlatans, artisans, nobles and warriors … The drummer, who supports and comments maliciously the action, bounces it with humor through his interventions.
This art appeared in Korea around the 18th century, Pansori had first been associated with rituals of shamans. Emancipated from these rituals, the interpreter became itinerant performers, playing in public places. Pan means public or a market place, and Sori means the sound or noise. Pansori could thus qualify the uttered or sung word in such a place by a person at the bottom of the social ladder … Indeed, this kind of act that has never stopped changing, was first enjoyed in the peasant world before to interesting the scholars and the officials.
Endangered, this art was proclaimed « Important Cultural Property » in 1963 , which favored a revival. In 2003 UNESCO enters it in Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
With a range for every accessory, the interpreter, « the gwangdae » is a singer, a storyteller and an actor –mime. He alone holds all the roles between recitatives and singing.
The vocal technique, her full throaty and jerky voice, sometimes « hoarse voice », « light voice » quivering voice (much vibrato) », » iron voice (hard) » etc., requires a lot of energy and results from a long training.
Her companion, « the gosu » is not content to punctuate the narrative with his drum. It invective verbally encourages punctuates the play with small exclamations such as « Jotta ! « Or » Eulsigu! » as if it were to encourage himself by encouraging the singer.
Spectators also take part in this long epic song through some exclamations related to feelings and on values expressed by the story to underline the quality of interpretation.