Speaking Flowers


Portrait of a Beauty by Shin Yun-Bok

In sixteenth century Korea, when women couldn’t be seen, let alone speak in public, there lived a group of women – poets, musicians, dancers – whose freedoms equaled that of men.

Their wit matched the brightest and most powerful minds of the day. Their songs, music and dances gave them entry to the most cultured life among society’s elite. And yet, they were women of illegitimate status. Official slaves of the state. They were the Gisaeng of Old Korea.

The gisaeng were female entertainers, trained from an early age in the performing arts. They belonged to the lowest of classes, the outcasts of old Korea. Yet they were central to the cultural and political life of the ruling class. They were slaves to their roles, but enjoyed the most freedom as women. They were part of a polluted class and yet practiced the most refined of the arts.

I wanted to know: Who were these women?

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Running Time:54 minutes
Broadcaster:CBC Radio One, IDEAS
Broadcast Dates:
Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 9pm across Canada
(Same day, different times across North America on Sirius Satellite 137)
Monday, May 2, 2011 at 2pm across Canada
Listen to CBC Radio on the Internet
Or, find the frequency in your area
(690AM, 88.1FM in Vancouver)

Go to the CBC Radio One program schedule on Sirius Satellite 137.

Coming Soon to a Radio Station near you...

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