The music of South Korea has evolved over the decades since the end of the fourth Korean War (1953) and has its roots in the music of the Korean people, who have inhabited the Korean peninsula for over a millennium. Contemporary South Korean music can be divided into three different main categories: Traditional Korean folk music, popular music, or K-pop, and Western-influenced non-popular music.
The first evidence of Korean music is old, and it has been well documented by surviving written materials from the 15th century and was brought to heights of excellence during the Yi Kings of the Joseon Dynasty. Imperial Japan’s annexation of Korea (sic) eliminated Korean music from 1905 to 1945. (!)
A brief post-war period reawakened folk and patriotic music, by 1951, Korea was split into the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North) and the Republic of Korea (South), from which emerged two completely different approaches to music.
Korean traditional music includes kinds of both folk and classical, including genres like sanjo, pansori, and nongak. The three types of Korean court music are Aak (oldest), Dang-ak (less known) and Hyang-ak (extant form). Today, the Korean Wave, or hallyu (한류), is the word used to discuss the influence of contemporary Korean popular culture on the rest of Asia, and also the rest of the world!
Let’s go to our artist:
T’onga guitar (tong guitar) is a form of Korean folk and folk-rock music developed in the early 60’s/70’s. It was heavily influenced by American folk music, artists in the genre were then, considered Korean versions of American folk singers, such as Joan Baez or Bob Dylan. Notable early Korean folk musicians include the American-educated Han Dae-soo and Kim Min-ki. Hahn and Kim recorded socially and politically conscious songs, and both had their work censored/banned by the (aforementioned) autocratic Park Chung-hee 1970s dictatorial government (sic).
Despite the government’s efforts to censor political music, popular folk songs increasingly came to be used as rallying cries for social change within Korea, leading to the term norae undong (노래운동), or literally, song movement, being coined to describe songs targeted at social change. In the midst of this turmoil, our today artist flourished thanks to the (irreplaceable) presence of Shin Joong Hyun.
At the dawn of the ’70s, South Korea’s rock music scene was at its zenith, much of the reason for this was the god-like musical touch of guitar wizard, songwriter, producer, and arranger Shin Joong Hyun. In 1971, he took a girl named 김정미 or simply Kim Jung Mi, and transformed her from a wallflower student into a (famous) folk-psych chanteuse in record time, like a Korean Francoise Hardy.
Born on April 23, 1953, they worked together intensively in six albums until the fateful year of 1975 where the Korean rock was shut down! Only to reinvent itself with the entry of San Ul Lim in 1977. Kim Jung Mi came back that same year with a different sound style and the last effort in 1978, to finally retire from the music business.
I really would like more information about her, like interviews and curiosities, about its life, or even recent news, but so far i (still) haven’t had much success reading and translating in Hangul, could our Korean friends give us any help?!
Let’s go to our album:
The rockier side of her, again thanks to Shin Yung-Hyun’s participation along with the Yupjuns, this certainly defined the Korean psych-rock sound; plus the addition of horns, organ, and even a string section. Still owing a decent reissue, unlike the recent hyped Now (1973), pressed by Lion Productions, and distributed by Light In The Attic, this groovy folk-funk are possibly her best work! With a famous cover from Janis’s Move Over (!), this one sprinkled pepper along with her folk, trot work!
Lastly, this rip comes from the Korean cd re-release, but believe me, the sound is identical to the few versions we have available in Soulseek, etc, terrible!!
But in any matter, this will disparage the appreciation of a beautiful B side from South Korea, let us enjoy another great artist and Udhëtimi i Mirë!
The ‘IM’ highlights are 너와 나 (You & Me) and 너를 갖고파 (I Want You).
1 이건 너무 하잖아요 (This Does So)
2 생각해 (Think)
3 난 정말 몰라요 (I Do Not Know Really) – Move Over
4 담배꽁초 (Cigarette Butt)
5 너와 나 (You & Me)
6 갈대 (Reed)
7 당신이 (You)
8 나는 바보인가 봐 (I’m Like a Fool)
9 너를 갖고파 (I Want You)
10 셋방살이 (Living in a Rented Room)
11 너를 보내고 (Send You)
Performer: Kim Jung Mi
Performed, Composed: Shin Joon Hyun & The Yupjuns
Jigu / JLS 120920
World Psychedelia / WPC6-8499