December 25, 2010

Yang HyeonKyung양현경-Snow Fall눈이 내리면

On this Christmas morning I am reminded of my first months in Korea. I was rather destitute when I first came here. I had recently graduated college and had basically sacrificed everything to complete my degree in music. Anyone who knows me knows I am a music freak. Anyone who knows me knows that I adore the female voice. Anyone who knows me knows that serendipity is my best friend.

When I first arrived I made an investment in a manual tuned transistor radio (I know, big spender). I would finish work and slowly spin the wheel and see what the airwaves had to offer. There was a good deal to be heard. The classical radio station in Gwangju had some highlights when it would focus on native traditional music but it in my estimation is absolutely atrocious beyond that. I think I heard Vivaldi over two hundred times and was pretty much going crazy. I soon learned that you need not listen to the radio to hear popular music. The hits of the day blare constantly outside of storefronts and it would be truly impossible to hide from them if you wished.

One fine fall day I saw a giant boom box alongside a garbage pile. Score!! I took it home and sadly the CD player was broken. Fortunately the cassette player worked quite brilliantly! A few days later I crossed paths with an old man pushing a giant cart filled with CD's and cassettes. I stopped him and purchased two cassettes for about four dollars. The prizes were Japan's Pop Hits 2001 and a tape by a native folk artist named Yang HyeonKyung (양현경) upon his recommendation.

Upon inspection the Japanese recording was hideous. I was disappointed but quickly the folk singer's voice gave me great joy. I can't honestly say she is a very powerful singer but somehow her emotion comes out extremely well. I was overjoyed! As I listened to the tape repeatedly I began to notice the subtleties in the recordings and the depth of musicianship. A two dollar gold mine was echoing through my room.

The song which follows is Snow Falls (눈이 내리면). The arrangement is quite simple, a piercing kind of simple. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for a female lament. The story of the song as best as I can tell is of a woman whose husband (or lover) has departed (either for work or war I am not certain) and is not expected to return home until the snow flies. I simply interpret it as a woman's wish for the snow to come and be reunited with her man. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!


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