KOREAN SHOWS: Deulgukhwa (Wild Chrysanthemum) Covered on NAGASU, "I Am a Singer"

It just so happened that three contestants on NAGASU (8/26/2012) chose to sing the songs by the legendary Korean rock band Deulgukhwa (들국화, “Wild Chrysanthemum” or “Chamomile”); or more accurately speaking, one Deulgukhwa song and two others by Jeon Inkwon and Choi Sungwon. Deulgukhwa (1985-1995) consisted of Jeon Inkwon (vocal & songwriter), Choi Sungwon (bass, vocal & songwriter), Cho Deokhwan (guitar), the late Huh Seongwook (keyboards), and Ju Chankwon (drums). As their 1985 debut album paid homage to their idol, the Beatles, Jeon was often compared to John Lennon and Choi was to Paul McCartney, in terms of their stylistic and emotional differences and also their rivalry; Choi’s voice tone and singing style showed a resemblance to Lennon though. The band’s original members except Cho and the late Huh, all in their late 50’s, reunited in 2012.

Guckkasten sang Deulgukhwa’s Haengjin(행진, “March”), featured on the band’s self-titled debut album (1985) which was voted,  in 2007, number 1 on the all time 100 greatest albums; all 9 songs featured on this album became nationwide mega hits and classic songs of Korean rock music.  Jeong Yeop sang Choi Sungwon’s Jejudo pureun bam (제주도 푸른 , “The Blue Night in Jeju Island”), featured on his 1988 solo debut album; and Han Yong-ae sang Jeon Inkwon’s Saranghan hu-e (사랑한 후에, “After Love”), featured on his 1987 project album with the late Huh Seongwook which was ranked 40th on  the all time 100 greatest albums. This song is a remake of the Al Stewart’s 1978 song "Palace of Versailles," completely remade with entirely different words written by Jeon. (Click to listen to Al Stewart's original version.) After delivering a breathtaking rendition of the song, Han was declared the winner, hands down. 

Hearing those songs took me back to a place in time, the concert hall where the band played their live shows in the late 80’s.  I could even smell the dark, musty smells of the concert hall and recall the youthful faces of the band just like it was yesterday. And I remembered one Christmas Eve when the band, after the show, invited the crowd over to a nearby café.  Those were the days when people were so simple, sweet, and warm.

Han Young-ae sings "After Love" 
on MBC's "I'm a Singer" (8/26/2012);
featuring Han Sangwon, master guitarist of Korean funk music

Lyrics: After Love (1987)

After a long day, on the other side of the hill,
the crimson sunset is drenching.
The children who’ve been playing
are going home, one by one, with no worries.
But why am I standing here?
That sunset wakes me up
and the night is closing in on me again.

My painful memories that I have to forget now
turned into twinkling stars and shake me up.
Even the loud cries of the train running on track
can’t  ever soothe me.
But why am I standing here?
Tonight, so many stars, my memories
are dancing in front of me again.

Where is it from? I see a small bird
flying over my head.
The sky is already broken at dawn
and urges me to start yet another day.  
The bell is ringing clearly.
And I wonder who that light is for
when the dawn is turning me on again.
Lyrics by Jeon Inkwon
Music by Al Stewart
Translation by ONSEMIRO

Original Version: Jeon Inkwon & Huh Sungwook
Saranghan hu-e "After Love" (1987)

Guckkasten performs "March" 
on MBC's "I'm a Singer" (8/26/2012)

Lyrics: March (1985)

My past was dark.
My past was difficult.
But if I could love my past,
and if I could paint my memories,
then I would march, march, and march.
I will march, march, and march.

My future might not always be bright.
My future might be difficult at times.
But I’ll get rained on when it rains.
And when it snows, I’ll welcome it with open arms.
I will march, march, and march.
I will march, march, and march.

I’ll sing with you every day
until the morning dawns.
I will march, march, and march.
I will march, march, and march.
Lyrics & Music by Jeon Inkwon
Translation by ONSEMIRO

Original Version: Deulgukhwa
Haengjin "March" (1985)

Jeong Yeop sings "The Blue Night in Jeju Island" 
on MBC's "I'm a Singer" (8/26/2012)

Lyrics:  The Blue Night in Jeju Island (1988)

Let’s leave, just two of us; let go of everything
to be under the stars in the blue night sky of Jeju Island.
We don’t want to be tied up any more
with newspapers, a TV, and paychecks.
I’d rather see the sea through windows than the apartment walls.
Let’s cultivate the kumquat field and grow oranges too.
If you really feel lonely,
then leave to be under the blue night sky of Jeju Island

Let’s leave, just two of us; it’s not that hard
to be under the stars in the blue night sky of Jeju Island.
All this time, haven’t we had enough
of bars, cafes, and many people?
I’d rather hear the whispers of the sea than the silence of the city,
watching people taking pictures of themselves in the same old way.
If you really feel bored,
then leave for Jeju Island where Pureume leaves.
Lyrics & Music by Choi Sungwon
Translation by ONSEMIRO

Original Version: Choi Sungwon
Jejudo pureun bam "The Blue Night in Jeju Island" (1988)