Korean-German Dorothea Suh, seeking the roots of the Korean Wave

Written by on June 14, 2012 in Special Report

-Studies and researches Korean traditional music in university, inspired by pungmul, and promotes Korea as a blogger
-Participated in the Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea press tour as a part of the Worldwide Korea Bloggers (WKB)

Dorothea Suh

Dorothea Suh is a 28-year-old Korean-German who has a special love for traditional Korean music.

She shared, “For me, traditional Korean music opens a window to the ‘soul’ of Korea, how Korean people thought, dreamed, and lived in the past — and how this past is still the core of present-day Korea.”

Suh fell in love with pungmul, a Korean folk music genre that includes drumming, dancing, and singing, when she visited Korea as a 16-year-old. Now she is pursuing a PhD degree in ethnomusicology, specializing in traditional Korean music. She is a professional violinist and her father is a taekwondo instructor. Her family always celebrated Seollal, the Korean Lunar New Year holiday, and she has been exposed to Korea culture since she was little, through such holiday customs and foods, such as her mother’s specialty, kimchi.

Suh started her PhD in Korean Studies upon receiving a fellowship from the Academy of Korean Studies in Korea — and she’s visited Korea many times. In 2010 she came to Korea as an exchange student at Seoul National University, and she took part in a special workshop for international musicologists at the National Gugak Center. Her passions for traditional Korean music led her to visit Korea three times before.

As Suh is in her 20s, she also enjoys K-pop. She found the new niche at a concert during her last visit to Korea. She likes the up-beat rhythm of K-pop and Korean rap. She actively promotes Korean culture through her blog, posting not only about traditional Korean music such as Jongmyo Daeje (Royal Ancestral Rite) or Yeongsan hoesang (Korean court music), but also many other topics such as her favorite K-pop music, Korean food, tteokguk, and methods of learning Korean.

Suh plans to stay in Korea for about four months, until September 2012. Despite her busy research schedule, she spared some time to participate in the Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea tour as a member of the Worldwide Korea Bloggers. She said, “I expect to see a wonderful display of different cultures, but with a distinct ‘Korean’ style which connects them all.” She expressed enthusiasm about the tour by saying, “If possible, I would like to interview a musician who performs there and taste a lot of different varieties of tteok (the Korean rice cake).”

The Worldwide Korea Bloggers

The Korean Culture and Information Service (KOCIS) (Woo Jin-young, director) organized the WKB Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea tour to promote the Expo and let the WKB experience Korean culture. There are two sessions of the tour consisting of ten people each, the first of which was held in May. The bloggers have already written 13 blog posts and posted seven videos, in an effort to promote the Yeosu Expo.

The parcipitants also visited nearby tourist attractions such as Odongdo along with the Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea facilities such as the Sky Tower and Big-O.

KOCIS has been running the WKB program, maintaining a team of 50 bloggers from 17 different nations around the world who write actively on the Korea Blog (blog.korea.net) and on many different Korea.net online social networking channels.

By Lee Seung-joo
Korea.net staff

About the Author

Employees of both Korea.net and KOCIS write on the Korea Blog.