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Ahn Sook-sun named Intangible Cultural Heritage holder of 'Chunhyangga' pansori

Sept. 6, 2022 - 12:14 By Kim Hae-yeon

Ahn Sook-sun, Intangible Cultural Heritage holder of the "Chunhyangga" pansori (CHA)
Veteran gugak musician Ahn Sook-sun, 73, has been recognized as the National Intangible Cultural Heritage holder of "Chunhyangga" pansori, the Cultural Heritage Administration announced Tuesday. "Chunhyangga" is the best-known among the pansori genre, depicting a love tale between a daughter of an entertainer and the son of a magistrate.

Ahn surrenders the "Gayageum Sanjo and Byeongchang" holder's qualification, since the CHA states that a single person should not be recognized for multiple holdings, in order for a stable transmission process of the nation's heritage. Gayageum sanjo refers to freestyle playing of a gayageum solo, and byeongchang is singing while playing the instrument.

Born in Namwon, North Jeolla Province, Ahn has immersed herself in the field of gugak for over 60 years, since the age of 8.

In 1979, Ahn took leading roles at the National Changgeuk Company, and by 1986 she had mastered singing the five major pansori -- "Chunhyangga," "Heungboga," "Simcheongga," "Sugungga" and "Jeokbyeokga."

In 1997, she earned status as the Intangible Cultural Heritage holder of "Gayageum Sanjo and Byeongchang," following her mentor Park Gwi-heui (1921-1993).

Ahn also served as head and artistic director of the National Changgeuk Company of Korea, professor at the Korean National University of Arts' school of Korean Traditional Arts and as the National Gugak Center's artistic director.

Through her active gugak performances on global stages, in 1998 she received the Order of Arts and Letters from the French government.

Last year, she received the Order of Cultural Merit from the Korean government for her dedication to promoting Korean traditional music and culture.

By Kim Hae-yeon (