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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Lee Sang-eun concerts in Chongdong Theater

Back in '99 I had happened to hear a song from television (must have been some satellite channel of KBS) which sounded totally different from most of what was spilled out from the box. (There have always been music programs done with dignity though, like Yi So-ra's one.) The tune I heard was by Lee Sang-eun, whose music I've been following to some degree ever since, also getting hold on most of her albums, of which the older ones have been difficult to get by. She is giving two concerts in Chongdong Theater (정동극장) in Jeong-dong (정동), downtown Seoul behind Deoksu palace on 11th and 12th of this month (the same place where the singer Kim Yong-woo performed just recently).

Lee Sang-eun:
Gongmudohaga 公無渡河歌
Lee Sang-eun is a special case in that in the beginning of her career she was part of the entertainment industry, singing what the producers gave her to sing, but she broke out of that mold after two albums, and has done her own music ever since, mostly in cooperation with the Japanese multi-instrumentalist Takeda Hajimu. Her album Gongmudohaga from 1995 is to me a classic of Korean avantgarde(?) or artistic pop, with strong tunes throughout the album and well-thought arrangements by Takeda. Of her music, that's what I play most often. She has usually both English and Korean lyrics; the former tend to be sometimes a bit awkward, but I don't let that disturb the listening.

Her latest album Sinbicheheom (신비체험) in Seoul Selection; I remember reading from some review of that album (which I haven't heard myself) that her craving to be an artist may leave an awkward feeling for a listener; perhaps I'll have to agree with that. But at least that's not the case with Gongmudohaga, which unfortunately seems to be out of print at the moment.

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