From November 27 to December 2003 the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Republic of Uzbekistan had held “Evenings of Uzbekistan – Korea Friendship” in order to strengthen Uzbek – Korean cultural contacts. At the Academy of Arts was held a meeting with the Director of the Academy of Korean Musical Culture, Chairman of Jury of the International Musical Festival “Sharq taronalari”, Professor Han Meng Hoo from Seoul. A musicologist, public figure, journalist and writer, he is famous in Korea as an author of the most popular song “Pemok”, devoted to the civil war between the North and South, which became a state hymn of the Republic of Korea.
In conversation Professor Han told us:
- For last eleven years I visited hospitable Uzbekistan many times, where I took part in the jury of the Festival “Sharq taronalari”, including as its chairman. Popularity of the Samarkand forum of musical art is permanently growing, what is proved by a number of guests. I should not be wrong if express general opinion of all foreign artists having a lucky to visit this kindly land: “We feel deep enjoyment meeting here full understanding and thankful spectators and listeners. In good sooth, speech of art needs no interpreters since it’s the most intelligible and accessible for all peoples”.
Korean music is also very popular in Uzbekistan. The recent musical tour over the biggest cities of your country within the project “Caravan of Korean Music” again proved that. We arranged musical evenings of Korea-Uzbekistan friendship at SABT of opera and ballet named after A. Navoi in Tashkent and at Samarkand Music Theatre named after Kh. Alimdjan. Success of this important cultural action, organized by Association of culture and art contacts of the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Union of Composers of RUz, was much promoted by the support of the Embassy of the Country of Mourning Freshness in your state and the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan. The spectators could not be indifferent to excellence of the famous Korean performers – Lee E Joo (dance), Jee E Ri (kayagym), Chon Kee Hong (baritone) and Park Che Chon (percussions). In its own turn, the people in South Korea well know the art of ensembles “Ofarin” from Khiva, “Lyazgi” from Bukhara and “Sogdiana” from Samarkand.
Our contacts have all – round character. One of the examples of our fruitful cooperation became a visit to our country of the Chairman of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan, T. Kuziev and Academician of AS RUz E. Rtveladze, giving a cycle of engrossing lectures on history of Uzbek – Korean cultural contacts. As the practice demonstrates, such contacts and wide spectrum of cooperation in the field of culture and art promote not just exchange of new scientific information, but develop mutual influence and enrichment of our national cultures.
To promote news coverage of our bilateral cooperation, we expect jointly with the Editorial Board of the journal “San’at” to establish a premium for the best article devoted to culture of Korean and Uzbek peoples and published in the journal.
Now, under development is the Project on establishment of the Uzbek Cultural Center in Seoul with a museum and concert hall. The life has showed good prospects of cooperation in this form – in Seoul are already successfully operating the Cultural Centers of Germany, France, England and Japan. We shall do all our best to realize this Project.
In spite of rather active contacts during the last decade, the Korean people still not well know about Uzbekistan. High culture of the Uzbek people is a guarantee that your country has significant creative potential and all chances for stable economic development. This powerful potential feeds the force of culture and art, which, as history showed, play an important role in development, including economic, of all countries and nations.
I think that a secret of the successful reforms carried in Uzbekistan for the years of Independence and achievements in establishment of democratic society with social – oriented economy hides in understanding by the government that especial role in this process belongs to the culture and traditions of the nation. In a course of centuries, the states and nations were surviving the top blossoming and welfare in the periods when existed conditions, kindly soil and instruments for realization of permanent international contacts, mutual penetration and enrichment of cultures of different nations.
Each nation on our planet, having such unique “tree” of originality, represents especial value for research of its culture.
For example, symbiosis of the Uzbek traditional culture and European culture can be resulted in interesting phenomenon. In this connection, especially significant are centuries – old traditions of ethnic and religious tolerance, which has formed in Uzbekistan that territory always – from the time of the Azurite and Great Silk Roads – served a bridge connecting civilizations of Asia and Europe – the East and West in general.
In this connection, it is worthy to be noted that Professor Han popularizes the Uzbek classic art in Korea. He was the first who revealed and showed how much close is the musical culture of the Uzbeks to the Korean as well as pointed out that experts find numerous linguistic resemblances in these two languages, (for example, the word “bahshi” – “folk narrator and musician” has the same meaning in the Country of Morning Freshness), which along with monuments of material and art culture and ideology, in this case – Buddhism, give evidence for ancient contacts and relations having enriched our cultures. Long and stable contacts between the peoples of two countries has formed since the period of the Great Silk Road.
- My multiyear familiarity with the Uzbek people, their hospitality and sincerity proved that they have much common with the Korean people, including these features, – continued Professor Han. – Along with that, we have the same delicate relation to cultural heritage, particularly, to classic folk dance and music. In spite of that, for obvious reasons, folklore is closer to the heart of the elder generation, and the youth more gravitates to the modern Western culture. I think that principles of balance and respect to different tastes, world visions and interests, which are practiced in our country, aim to the good of the nation in a whole.
Such psychological, but not just ethnic and religious tolerance has formed, probably, under long influence of Buddhist culture, which states the principle of “juste mileu” and tolerance to everybody.
Another favorable cause for consolidation of all people of good will on the hospitable land of Uzbekistan could become “Festival of the Desert” in the Kyzylkums in Bukhara or Navoi regions as a return to historical sources of the man. At the same time, it would allow to visit excavations of camps and settlements, which were left by ancient people inhabiting these places, and to visit “picture galleries” they left on stones.
In my opinion, communication on a basis of such enculturation to the roots of “the tree” called “human civilization” now is very topical for all people tired of busy and noisy urban life. Such action providing several days living in yurts or tents nearby ruins of ancient towns have great importance for the contacts with the nature and among the people, what will open their best features in the conditions isolated from leadening urban atmosphere.
Prepared by Sergey Savchuk – Kurbanov