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'Culture Olympics' close after impressive performances, games

All Headlines 19:07 September 14, 2009

By Shin Hae-in

JEJU ISLAND, South Korea, Sept. 14 (Yonhap) -- The third International Delphic Games came to a close on this South Korean island Monday with competitors and spectators celebrating the successful six-day run of the global cultural contest, which staged some of the world's most impressive competitions and performances.

The Delphic Games opened Sept. 9 on the South Korean island of Jeju, drawing 395 competitors from 35 countries showcasing their talents and cultural heritage.

The 18 competitions in six categories -- music and acoustic arts; the performing arts; craft, design and visual arts; linguistic arts; communication and social arts; and architecture and ecological arts -- as well as non-competitive performances and lectures by some of world's most renowned artists drew more than 1,500 people from all over the world.

"Dear participants, now is the time for us to close the curtains to this emotional and joyful event which helped us building a brand new culture through competitions which transcended national borders and time," Jeju Governor Kim Tae-hwan said during the closing ceremony. "See you all four years later."

The fourth host of the Delphic Games will be determined during the general assembly of the International Delphic Council Tuesday.

The Delphic Games originated out of the ancient Greek culture festivals held every four years at the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi. With representatives from 18 nations founding the International Delphic Council in 1994, the first round of the culture Olympics was held in Russia and the second in Malaysia in 2005. The event in South Korea was the largest so far.

Host South Korea led the competitions, taking six gold medals in games including poetical recital and percussion, followed by Mongolia, which won five golds.

Winners of the Delphic Games were given the gold, silver or bronze Delphic Medal Award, as well as the Delphic Laurel Award, the Delphic Peace Award and the Delphic Lyre Award going to performers who showed excellence in blending traditional and contemporary techniques or cultures from different nationalities.

As one of the most impressive accomplishments of the event, 10 innovative buildings designed by participants of the architectural arts competitions are to be built in Gasiri, a remote village on Jeju, soon after the event.

With most of the expenses to be funded by the government, the small constructions designed by 20 architects from seven countries -- including Jose Luis Esteban Penelas from Spain, Kojima Kazuhiro from Japan, Kamiel Klasse from the Netherlands and Kim Jong-kyu from South Korea -- will be completed sometime early next year.

"What is very interesting about this project is that all these people are present here to create something that will become a part of the country, affecting the place where the games are being held," Alejandro Zaera Polo, a Spanish architect and member of the jury said in an earlier interview. "I think this is very much a part of the games' purpose -- to blend national and global culture into a specific environment."

Gasiri village, located on the southeastern side of Mount Halla, is a relatively underdeveloped region where many villagers were victimized during the so-called April 3 uprising. The 1948 incident resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people after the popular uprising was harshly put down following the end of Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.

Non-competitive performances and lectures by five world-renowned maestros also spiced up the third Delphic Games, drawing large crowds from various countries every night.

The performances included ones by South Korean Kim Young-hee, Spain's "Rocio Vazquez Ramirez Flamenco Company," Portugal's "Joana Amendoeira," performing fado, Japan's "Kyoto ALTI Dance Company," Slovakia's "Gypsy Devils Orchestra," Peru's "Inca Empire," Ecuador's "Apache," Brazil's "Benjamim Taubkin et Nucleo Contemporaneo," France's "Cie Acronote" and South Africa's "Compagmie Vincent Mantsoe."

The five maestros of the third Delphic Games were South Korean folk mono-drama master Shim Woo-sung, Mongolian musician Tserendorj Tseyen, American lettering artist Jill Bell, French poet and scholar Claude Mouchard and Spanish architect Alejandro Zaera-Polo.

Monday's closing ceremony -- attended by the International Delphic Council President Divina Bautista and the council's founder J. Christian Kirsch, and the chairperson of the Jeju Delphic Games organizing committee Lee Jong-duck -- featured performances by winners in the performing arts competitions, as well as the German band "Rhine Power Pipe Band" and the South Korean fusion music team "Whool."

hayney@yna.co.kr
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