Lee Honey on Her Love for the Gayageum

  • english.chosun.com

    November 25, 2009 07:08

    Miss Korea 2006 Lee Honey is now an actress as well as a traditional musician. Her latest outing is as one of several stars cast to play Elle, the Reese Witherspoon part in the musical version of "Legally Blonde."

    "I'm really enjoying the musical," she says. "I've loved being on stage since I was a child. I started playing the gayageum at the age of four, and I've been on stage for nearly 20 years now. I also learned singing Korean traditional songs so I can show variety of skills on stage. Then I got to do musical, where I can interact with the audience through dance, singing and acting."

    Lee Honey

    Lee finished fourth in the Miss Universe pageant in 2007. "I entered the Miss Korea pageant because my mother suggested it," she recalls. "My mom says she didn't think I would have an ordinary life, so told me to show the world how far I could go with confidence."

    Lee's mother, Moon Jae-sook, is professor of Korean traditional music at Ewha Womans University, and is also a nationally recognized "intangible cultural asset" as a gayageum player.

    Lee has been studying Korean traditional music at Seoul National University since 2002 and is now doing postgraduate studies there. "I plan to write my thesis on Korean traditional music in films. In the past, many gayageum experts used to participate in original sound track for films, but they have been replaced by western musicians. When I was young, I never thought I'd do anything other than play the gayageum. It's my friend, and also my destiny. I always come back to it and I hope to make a musical using the gayageum one day." 

    She wants to pioneer a new genre of music by incorporating Korean traditional music with multimedia images. "When my mother took a sabbatical and was a visiting scholar at New York University, I spent a few months with her in New York as well. I experienced many forms of arts. I believe my calling is to find a middle ground between tradition and modernity, multimedia and the stage," she says. And rather than following a particular model, she says, "I want to be a trailblazer."

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