11 Kim Min-gi and the Making of a Legend

OKON HWANG


1. Kim Min-gi, “Sangnoksu” (Evergreen Tree)

From: Kim Min-gi 3, Seoul ŭmban SRCD-3156, 1993, compact disc.

Kim Min-ki: music & lyrics, vocal; Kim Kwang-min, arrangement, piano, synthesizer.

Lyrics

Discogs

This song was originally conceived as a nuptial song to celebrate a joint wedding ceremony of garment factory workers in 1978. It soon became one of the most representative anti-government protest songs. After the democratization of the country, it went through a reincarnation in the 1990’s as the “people’s song,” appearing in a 1998 TV public service advertisement, a 2002 TV advertisement for South Korean presidential candidate Roh Moo-Hyun (No Mu-hyŏn), and a 2009 TV news program Tolbal yŏngsang (Pop-up Images) shortly after President Roh Mu-Hyun’s funeral.


2. Kim Min-gi, “Ach’imisŭl” (Morning Dew)

From: “Kim Min-gi 1.” Seoul ŭmban SRCD-3154, 1993, compact disc.

Kim Min-gi: music & lyrics, vocal, guitar.

Lyrics

Discogs

Composed in 1970, this song was regarded as the most beloved song among university students in South Korea during the country’s democratization movement. The song’s enduring legacy is testified by the fact that it appears, along with “Sangnoksu,” in the list of the 100 most legendary Korean popular songs compiled by the Korean music channel Mnet in 2014.


3. Yang Hŭi-ŭn, “Ach’imisŭl” (Morning Dew)

From: Yang Hŭi-ŭn kounnorae moŭm, Universal Record KLS-26, 1971, 33 ⅓ rpm.

Kim Min-gi: music & lyrics, guitar; Yang Hŭi-ŭn: vocal.

Lyrics

Discogs

Composed and worded by Kim Min-ki, this song appears in the first track of the Side A in Yang Hŭi-ŭn’s 1971 debut LP album. The design of the record sleeve headlines the title of the song. It is considered the most representative repertoire in Yang’s career as a singer, who has become a towering presence in the South Korean popular music scene for almost half a century by now.


4. Kim Min-gi, “Kŭ nal” (That Day)

From: “Kim Min-ki 1.” Seoul ŭmban SRCD-3154, 1993, CD.

Kim Min-gi: music & lyrics, vocal, guitar.

Lyrics

Discogs

Yang Hŭi-ŭn asked Kim Min-gi to be her guitar accompanist for her 1971 debut solo album. The album includes a total of 10 tracks, out of which 7 are a cover version of foreign songs and 3 of which are original compositions including two by Kim Min-ki: Ach’imisŭl” (Morning Dew) and “Kŭ nal” (That Day).


5. Kim Min-gi, “Kkot p’iunŭn ai” (A Child blooming a Flower)

From: “Kim Min-gi 1.” Seoul ŭmban SRCD-3154, 1993, CD.

Kim Min-gi: music & lyrics, vocal, guitar.

Lyrics

Discogs

The flower in the song, composed in 1971, refers to the rose of Sharon—the Korean national flower—which could be construed as a metaphor for democracy in South Korea. In the spring of 1972, Kim was invited to lead a sing-along during a freshmen orientation session for the College of Liberal Arts and Science of the Seoul National University. The very next day after the performance of the song, he was taken to a police station and held in custody while his records remaining in the market were all confiscated.


6. Kim Min-gi, “Param kwa na” (Wind and I)

From: “Kim Min-ki.” Taedo EU-716, 1971, 33⅓ rpm.

Han Tae-su: music & lyrics; Kim Min-gi: vocal, guitar; Chŏng Sŏng-jo: piano, flute and etc.

Lyrics

Discogs

Kim Min-gi’s first solo album was released in 1971 featuring 10 tracks, out of which 8 are his own compositions, 1 a foreign melody with words by him, and this song composed and worded by Han Tae-su. It was one of the rare songs he sang that were ever broadcasted.