Rainjita Geesler & Her Mother in Korea – Drumming Interview

Rainjita Geesler & Her Mother in Korea – Drumming Interview – MD 8, CD 11
Recordings by Rainjita Geesler
Date: Summer 2004
1 CD, 1 Track, 52:15


RAINJITA: 3, 2, 1


RAINJITA: Okay? If you could start. This is Rainjita in Korea. If you could start out by introducing yourself and the style of drumming that you do.



RAINJITA: What did she say?

YOUNG MAN: She said she’s introduce and she play her instrument is introduce.

RAINJITA: When did you begin playing and where do you play professionally like shows?



YOUNG MAN: Seven years ago she begun playing chango.

RAINJITA: And now she performs in shows? Where does she perform?


YOUNG MAN: She said. She’s seven years ago she played changu and five years she played changu at Hungsadan and it’s two years ago she played changu at Suan, Suan Culture Association played there. And…

RAINJITA: It’s okay. We’ll do it later. Why is traditional drumming important in Korean culture?


YOUNG MAN: She said the samorori is very important to her because samorori is Korea’s traditional music. Is keeping and…

RAINJITA: The roots. What are the roots of this traditional drumming? The beginning? What is the significance and the roots of the drumming?

YOUNG MAN: Beginning?

RAINJITA: Yeah, where did it start?


MOTHER: Traditional song that kings and queens.

RAINJITA: Wasn’t it the farming?


MOTHER: Let me translate that. What’s she saying, years and years ago drumming is like Indian signal. You know, drumming, people listen. It had different meaning to different things, sad and good. And we lost that in Korean war and other wars we lost that a little bit. But now, twenty years later it’s coming back and people more listen to it.

RAINJITA: Did she talk about the different parts? The ching and the gangarie? Talk about the different parts? Different instruments? Let’s…this is good. Should we ask this question? Why is it important to preserve this musical tradition of salmanori drumming? Why should we continue playing?

MOTHER: TRANSLATES She was saying, why is important to go on in generation.

RAINJITA: Two different questions.


YOUNG MAN: She said because this chango ching and gangari group is Korea’s traditional music.

RAINJITA: That’s why. Okay. Anything else we want to ask her? Anything else she wants to add?


RAINJITA: Why does she do it? Why does she like to play?


MOTHER: What’s she saying. She does this, chango. It’s like her…When she studies, her feel better. It help her physically, emotionally. It make her harmony. It’s like meditation. She enjoys doing it, nobody tells her how to do it. She enjoys doing it herself. She feels that her health is got a lot better. Emotionally, everything is a lot better and she enjoys it tremendously. And she wishes she could have started earlier.

RAINJITA: I’m learning. What message does she want to give to the new generation coming up?


YOUNG MAN: She says in Korea is a samolori and there’s to honor the country’s samolori, education is better people.

RAINJITA: Any final words?

MOTHER: If I want to try chango, will she give me advice on how.


MOTHER: If you want to play chango, will she encourage or not?


MOTHER: She say if I want to go play chango, just try like rur rur rur. it’s not like that. You got to keep trying, listen. It’s like piano, you got to start key. There’s lots of steps you follow and you got to try to keep exactly what you’re learning. Just like you do. That’s all she said. Don’t give up and just listen. You got to keep trying. It’s not one of those thing I go bang bang bang, it’s not of those thing. You got to listen to key like you do. I wouldn’t know, but you can’t give up. Lot of training you’ve got to do.

MOTHER: How long you been doing it?

RAINJITA: Two years, only.

NEW PLACE – 18:59

RAINJITA: Should I get my questions?


YOUNG MAN: Mic test 1, 2, 3. mic test 1, 2, 3

RAINJITA: 1, 2, 3

YOUNG MAN: I’m going to give to her to interview.

RAINJITA: Okay. I have questions. See, I prepared? Have him come closer. Talk about when you were growing up, what it was like. When he was a young boy, what was it like? What does he remember? As a young boy growing up…what does he remember of my mom 30 years ago?



YOUNG MAN: He said when he was younger his family is very poor and he was a little kid, he remember h is family is very poor and very difficult for living. And he remembers hitting your mother and your mother is many fights and he’s scared of your mother.

RAINJITA: Did he meet my father and ask him if he met my father and what does he remember that my mom was doing at the time. What was my mom’s work?


YOUNG MAN: He didn’t meet your father.


YOUNG MAN: He didn’t meet your father and he think your mother’s work is make sweater (knitting) and cotton company.

RAINJITA: How did he feel when your mom left?

YOUNG MAN: Your mother is married to your father and left to America?

RAINJITA: How old was he and how did he feel when she was gone?



YOUNG MAN: Your mother’s go went to America. He is, he was 20 years old and your mother left to America and he was stayed prison.


YOUNG MAN: Yeah. He is. he was 20 he is very confused situation and his fight there’s many people and he was stayed a little bit just stayed prison. And he think your mother left. He heard your mother left, the news. He was prison. When he was prison. And he think your mother left to America and he think it is he and your mother were not kind. And your mother want to go America. That’s you mother’s life. And his life is he think.

RAINJITA: What was his thoughts that she married an American soldier. How did he feel about that?


YOUNG MAN: He’s…he’s optimism. His optimism. Your mother married an American citizen. He thinks it’s good. She was good thing.


YOUNG MAN: In that time in Korea is very poor.

RAINJITA: Did he say why?

YOUNG MAN: Korea is very poor but America is very rich country.

RAINJITA: So he thought if she got married she would have a better life.

YOUNG MAN: Better family she married, better country, better life.

RAINJITA: Did he say it on this tape? Okay, two more questions. How was it for him not knowing where she was for 30 years?


YOUNG MAN: He says your mother, not knowing where she was and how she was, he think she was harder life in America. And when he was 40 or 30 or 40 at the time she was better life, and she is, he made a job to find your mother and it is very difficult. And that is very difficult. And he think he and your mother is alive the world. and whenever our family meet anytime he think…

RAINJITA: Two more questions. How did the family try to find my mom? What did they do to search for her at that time?


YOUNG MAN: He had a friend in America and he request his friend to find your mother he say his friend and many people. He is last he know that your mother’s name Illinois. State Illinois. Okay. He find your mother through his friend and all of the fellow.

RAINJITA: Okay, one more.


YOUNG MAN: He says his friend’s sister lived in Texas. He request her to find your mother and the various route to search your mother.

RAINJITA: Now, we’re here. What was your first feeling when your brother called and said my mom was here. What was your first feeling?


YOUNG MAN: His first when his brother’s calling him and he feel happy, welcome and joyful, various feeling he feel. And then next he think your mother’s been a long time come back Korea and he worried your mother’s maybe your mother’s was sick. And your mother’s is people your mother is dying. So that to find your mother’s family and he worried.

RAINJITA: Now how does he feel knowing that we’re healthy and seeing me, his sister’s daughter? How does he feel seeing us healthy, alive?



YOUNG MAN: He says your mother is come to Korea. He was very happy. And you together you is coming Korea. He is more happy. And you are so pretty cute and smart and so that he was better happy, is better happy. And your mother he is thinking feeling. For you is unknown feeling. He is unknown you and he is happy to know you and he is more happy and more surprised and now he is only happy.

RAINJITA: Okay. Last question. What does he hope the future holds? What does he hope to happen in the future? What are his expectations? Hope?


46 :35
YOUNG MAN: He think at first feeling is keeping the rest, keeping the future and at first the feeling is keeping the future and at first is equal and rest. And now he is very happy you and your mother to meet, he is very happy. In future, he feel this feeling again and continues to spill.

RAINJITA: Anything else you want to say?


YOUNG MAN: He ask you and your feeling.

RAINJITA: Me? How am I feeling? He’s interviewing me now.

YOUNG MAN: He’s asking your feeling. You coming to Korea. You meet your new friends. How do you think?

RAINJITA: I’m very happy to meet my family because all this time growing up I didn’t know who my other family was, I only knew one side and it was a mystery. So now I’m very happy and complete to be here with my family.


RAINJITA: And I was very nervous coming. I was nervous, scared. Coming here.


RAINJITA: But I knew we would find you. I knew that we would find what we came for. You know? Does that make sense? I knew that we would find her family.


RAINJITA: Anything else? KOREAN


YOUNG MAN: He said it’s you. At first you come to Korea he don’t say he didn’t say everything. You come in next, you come to Korea next year and slowly, slowly everything is talking about you. You stay in Korea you stay in Korea and you will feel the good the fun and happiness feeling.

RAINJITA: Okay, we’ll stop it now. Done.