01. The Stage Show and the Dance Floor: A History of “Live Music” in Korea


1. Kim Chŏng-gu, “Ton t’aryŏng” (Money Song) and “Saenari palga one” (A New Day Dawns)

From: Film footage from Omoitsuki Fujin (A Thoughtful Lady), Toho, 1939 (movie film).

Kim Chŏng-gu: vocal; Son Mog-in: bandmaster.

A rare video of the performance by Chosŏn Akkŭktan (Chosŏn musical troupe) in a Japanese movie Omoitsuki Fujin (Thoughtful Lady) in 1939. It has been reported that the performance was not a real-life event and was recorded in a movie studio. Kim Chŏng-gu who sings two sinminyo (new folk song) maintained his singing career after the independence of Korea from Japan.


2. Black Eyes Show, “Mambo #5”

From: Film footage from Chiokhwa (The Flower in Hell), Seoul Yŏngwasa, 1958.


Pak Sŏng-wŏn: bandmaster; Black Eyes Show: all instruments.


A rare video clip of the U.S. military camp show in a 1958 Korean movie Chiokhwa (The Flower in Hell). The show troupe is Black Eyes Show conducted by the bandmaster Pak Sŏng-wŏn. It runs from 27:25 to 32:00 in the movie, and the band plays mambo and other social dance music that were hugely popular in the 1950s’.


3. 키보이스, “What’d I say”

3. Key Boys, “What’d I say”

From: Film footage from Maltti sinbu (Horse-year Bride), Kŭktong Hŭngŏp, 1958 (movie film).

Nam Sŏk-hun: vocal; Chŏng Wŏn: vocal; Kim Hong-t’ak: guitar; Ch’a To-gyun: bass; Ok Sŏng-bin: guitar; Yun Hang-gi: drums.


The video clip of the performance by the Key Boys, one of the pioneers of Korean rock music with guest singers Nam Sŏk-hun and Chŏng Wŏn. It is a part of a Korean movie Maltti sinbu, running from 8:50 to 11:00. The singers and band who were trained in the U.S. military camp show cover “What’d I say”, a classic by Ray Charles, in a live music venue for Korean audiences. The English original lyrics is mixed with Korean translation.


4. 신중현과 엽전들, “미인”

4. Shin Joong Hyun kwa Yŏpchŏn tŭl, “Hal mal to ŏpchiman” (No Word to Say, But)

From: Miin/Saenggakhae/Chŏ yŏin/Sŏlleim, Jigu JLS120891, 1974, 33 ⅓ rpm.


Shin Joong Hyun: vocal, guitar; Yi Nam-i: bass; Drum; Kwŏn Yong-nam: drums.



The song is included in the first full-length album of the band. A live performance by “the godfather of Korean rock” and his band in a “go-go club” is featured in the movie Miin where Shin and his band members took acting roles as well.


5. 김정미, “이건 너무 하잖아요”

5. Kim Chŏng-mi, “Igŏn nŏmu hajanhayo” (This is Too Much)

From: Film footage from Yoon Bok Hee Show (Not released).


Kim Chŏng-mi: vocal, Yŏ Tae-yŏng: bandmaster.




The performance of Kim Chŏng-mi as a guest singer of Yoon Bok Hee Show in 1975 at Taehan’gŭkchang (Taehan Theater). Not much is known about the video, but its digital copy was circulated as a kind of bootleg. The singer Kim Chŏng-mi was the queen of psychedelic pop in the early 1970’s; she recorded several songs written by Shin Joong Hyun. But in the video, she sings with the accompaniment of a big band orchestra, which was the custom in iconic “theater shows” of the 1960’s and 1970’s.


6. Rock Concert for Youth: Han River for You Who Are Young

From: Full footage from TV program Ch’ŏngsonyŏn ŭl wihan rak k’onsŏt’ŭ: Han’gang! chŏlmŭn kŭdaeyŏ, KBS, broadcast 13 Sep 1987


Songgolmae: vocals and instruments; Kim Sŭng-jin: vocal; Sinawi: vocals and instruments; Chŏn yŏng-nok kwa Tolp’ung: vocals and instruments; Paektusan: vocals and instruments.

A televised rock concert in the fall of 1987 at Han River Terrace, just after South Korea was democratized.  Five rock bands each performed two songs. Though it follows the TV show format, it shows the beginning of outdoor rock festival. Two of the bands, Sinawi and Paektusan, show the transition from “group sound” to “heavy metal.”