More Nochatsa - Prayer (기도), The Land (산하), Ocean, The Ocean (바다여, 바다여)

Woman Praying

These are songs from Nochatsa (Seeker of Songs)’s first album, Nochatsa 1. They are unassuming, purist artistically, and not even particularly ambitious sounding yet surprisingly good for what they are. Their beauty is in the sparkling lyrics and the delicate, quietly moving melodies delivered in pristine young voices. One feels that they are works of art solely for the sake of art, free from the ulterior motives that often muddies the waters. Created by students who have not yet gotten an exposure to the murky currents of the society and industry, they stand for the purest and loftiest quest for beauty.


눈을 감고 잠잠히 기도드리라
무거운 짐에 우는 목숨에는
받아 가질 안식을 더 하려고
반드시 도움의 손이 그대 위해 펼쳐지리

그러나 길은 다하고 날 저무는가
애처로운 인생이여 애꿎은 노래만 우네

멍에는 괴롭고 짐은 무거워도
두드리던 문은 머지 않아 네게 열릴지니
가슴에 품고 있는 명멸의 그 등잔을
부드런 예지의 기름으로 채우고 또 채우라

삶을 감사하는 높다란 가지
신앙의 고운 잔디 그대 영혼 감싸리


Pray in the quiet with eyes closed
For more bountiful rest to be bestowed
On those crying under an unbearable weight
For the sure hand of grace to look after them

Is the road coming to an end as the day is done
A helpless elegy lamenting the sorrows of life

The shackle is hurting, the burden heavy
Yet the door you're knocking on will open for you
So you may fill the quivering lamp in your heart
With a joy of warm anticipation over and over

A lofty branch of humble gratitude for life
May the tender grass of faith shelter your soul


겨울 가고 봄이 오면 아지랑이 피어오르는
길게 누운 이 산하는 여윈 몸을 뒤척이네
피고지는 네 얼굴에 터질 듯한 그 입술에
붉은 비가 몰아치면 혼자 외로이
끝도 없는 긴긴 밤을 살아가는 나의 산하

하얀 고개 검은 고개 넘어가는 아리랑 고개
눈물타령 웃음타령 휘어감는 사랑노래
피고지는 네 얼굴에 터질 듯한 그 입술에
붉은 비가 몰아치면 혼자 외로이
끝도 없는 긴긴 밤을 살아가는 나의 산하

The Land

Amid the fluttering haze of spring after a long winter
Lies the long stretch of this land tossing its thin body
Face blooming and waning of life, lips about to burst
It lies lonely in the midst of a stormy red rain
My homeland living through the long, endless night

White and black hills, the Arirang hills I struggle over
A love song to embrace chants of tear and laughter
Face blooming and waning of life, lips about to burst
it lies lonely in the midst of a stormy red rain
My homeland living through the long endless night

바다여 바다여

슬픈 눈망울로 돌아온 쓸쓸한 저녁 햇살
울울한 겨울 바다 차디찬 물거품은 사랑이었네

당신은 너무 가까이 내 속에 있어 보이질 않고
우리가 만난 시간은 늘 바다였네

성난 돛폭에 찢긴 바람 상처 입은 채
내 깊은 속 아픔에 숨어

당신은 너무나 멀리서 고독한 몸짓으로
하얀 거품에 어둠 실어 보내고 울고 있었네

나는 달려가며 소리 질렀네
바다여 바다여 사랑이여

Ocean, The Ocean

The lonely evening sun back with a mournful eye
Love was on the cold bubbles of the gloomy winter sea

You were out of my sight standing too close inside me
And it was always the ocean when we met

The wind hid in the depth of my aching innards
Rent and wounded by a fierce sail

You sent the darkness away riding on the white crests
Stood crying from a distance in a gesture of loneliness

I started running and cried out
Ah the ocean, the ocean, ah love

Kim So Wol

Prayer (기도) is based on a poem of the same name by Kim So Wol (김소월, 1902-1934), who is perhaps the best loved poet of the classic literature period, which comprises works of the modern Korean literature from the beginning to the middle of the 20th century. Kim published countless gems of poems in his extraordinarily earthy language bringing out the beauties innate in the Korean language. He led a tragic life, however, of family misfortunes, failed business endeavors and persistent poverty, and took his own life by drinking poison at the age of 32.

Although many of his poems are written in languages so steeped in traditional vernaculars of Korea, Prayer is in a relatively plain style. It is a heartfelt recitation of a prayer to one’s supreme being that the sufferings of the unfortunate around him be reprieved, and solace and rest bestowed to them so they can find strength and comfort in the sorrow-ridden journey. It was a period of Korean history when things were bleak to the utmost for the nation, when such prayer couldn’t have been more appropriate. Coming from a poet who lived through this dark and trying time and delivered in a voice of childlike innocence, its message of pity and compassion gets to the listener’s heart.

The Land (산하) sings of love and compassion for the land and soil of Korea. The traditional Korean ethos is decidedly earthbound as they have lived in the Korean peninsula generations after generations tilling the same land for thousands of years. The landmass of Korea is thus inseparably intertwined with the lives of its people, which is often not the case in many parts of the world where migratory and transitional peoples have come and gone endlessly. This characteristic has brought about an unusually deep and ingrained love for their land in the Korean hearts, almost like an alter ego so that one cannot imagine the Korean people without the Korean peninsula. This song is a confession of this deep affection for one’s motherland, as well as the pity he feels for all the tragic events that have taken place in it, such as foreign invasions and occupations, a massive war, and bloody political conflicts among its people. Thus it goes: White and black hills, the Arirang hills I struggle over, where Arirang refers to the singularly Korean emotion as well as the folk tune that is the most Korean of all, much like a national soul expressed in a tune. So life in this land is a perpetual love song to embrace chants of tear and laughter.

Ocean, The Ocean (바다여 바다여) is a love song of the ordinary kind, expressing affection for the ocean as well as one’s sweetheart. One peculiar fact about Nochatsa is that there is a dearth of love songs in their works. If you think about it, this is rather extraordinary since love songs make up the bulk of popular music. Probably something like ninety per cent of the pop music relates to romance and love of one form or another, regardless of the period or region of the world.
Not so with Nochatsa, however. Nochatsa’s young idealism is so pure and selfless it seems they regard a romantic love as a luxury they should stay away from. So they have many songs about love for their land, tradition, brethren and family, but rarely those concerning love in the commonly assumed romantic sense.
Even the song titled Love Song is not the usual fare about romantic love but rather about vowing to distance themselves from it. So Ocean, The Ocean is a departure from this tendency in that it involves what seems to be a purely ordinary relationship set in the backdrop of the ocean. It may be as close to a love song as Nochatsa gets, free from references to their loftier concerns and ideals. The result is truly beautiful in every way, with a gentle, sadness tinged depiction of the ocean and the melancholic, subdued mood of the two people in it, which all escalate to a climactic evocation of *the ocean” toward the end.


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