A Woman Was Named
for shamisen solo
The melodies in A Woman Was Named are derived from Chichang-pulgong, a Korean Buddhist chant for the dead. The chant is sung at an extremely slow tempo and is made of curved lines - said to be the movement of fish in water - and short percussive sounds - the sound of raindrops.
In the spring of 2002 I began to write music for the Korean instrument komungo, and A Woman Was Named originated from my interest in the similarities between the komungo and the Japanese shamisen (the komungo is played by striking the strings with a bamboo stick, the shamisen by striking the strings with a plectrum; both instruments have strings that are used to play a drone).
The music is in memory of my long-time friend Gaji. She was given her name by the Japanese while growing up during their occupation of Korea.
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