Boohwal (부활) - Korean Classic Rock with Grand Style

Forest Stream

Boohwal (부활, “Born Again”) is a top rated Korean rock band who has played their own brand of grand style rock with a sad, ponderous mood. Leader Kim Tae Won (김태원, 1965-) writes and styles most of their original songs, which are unique for their fluid, slow moving rock ballads which evoke poetic sadness. Reminiscence 1 (회상) and A Sad Deer (슬픈 사슴) are on their second album released in 1987 with then singer Lee Seung Chul (이승철, 1966-), from the first of their glory periods. Kim’s songwriting prowess and Lee’s emotion drenched vocals came together to create a spellbinding music which put them at the top of the Korean rock scene with a big fan base.

회상 1


오랜 그 옛날 하늘 파랄 때
엄마 되고픈 그 하얀 아이
인형 머리 매만지는 커다란 눈망울과
그 조그만 손

그땐 땅이 초록이었고
냇물이 진한 노랑이었지

하늘아 땅아 그땔 아니
냇물아 나의 아이야
그 파란 하늘아 초록빛 땅아
그땔 아니
냇물아 나의 아이야

저녁 노을이 슬픔지는 그 하얀 아이 멀리 가버리고
홀로 남은 인형만이 내 기억 속에 남아 있네

하늘아 땅아 그땔 아니
냇물아 나의 아이야
그 파란 하늘아 초록빛 땅아
그땔 아니
냇물아 나의 아이야

Reminiscence 1


Long ago in the old days with the sky blue
A fair skinned girl dreaming of motherhood
With those large eyes, tidying up a doll's hair
And that small hand

The earth was green then
The stream a thick yellow

Remember then, sky? Earth
Stream, my little one
Blue sky. You land of green
Do you remember then
Stream, my little one

The fair skinned girl of sad twilight has gone far off
Only the doll left behind remains in my recollections

Remember then, sky? Earth
Stream, my little one
Blue sky. You land of green
Do you remember then
Stream, my little one


슬픈 사슴


슬픈 사슴이 당신과 꼭 닮았어
웃는 모습이 꼭 슬픈 작은 새를
당신은 좋아 했지만 당신은 새가 될 수 없어
당신은 환히 웃어도 귀여운 새는 아니에요

그저 웃어 버리는 슬픈 사슴 사슴 같아요
그저 웃어 버리는 슬픈 사슴 사슴 같아

깊은 꿈속에 당신은 날 만났지
우는 모습에 내게 슬픈 무언가를
나에게 원하였지만 알아 들을 수가 없어
나를 원망하는 듯 가만히 보고 있었거든

이제 나는 당신을 정말 도울 수가 없어
이제 나는 당신을 정말 도울 수가
이제 나는 당신을 정말 도울 수가 없어
이제 나는 당신을 정말 도울 수가 없어

A Sad Deer


You are a spitting image of a sad deer
Your smile taking after a sad little bird
You loved them so much but you'll never be a bird
May beam up brightly but you still ain't a cute bird

You look like a sad deer, just smiling it all away
You look like a sad deer, just smiling it all away

You came to me deep within my dream
In tears, sad, in need of something from me
You wanted something but I couldn't make it out
With that blaming stare on me, you just stood there

Now I really cannot come to your help anymore
Now I really cannot come to your help anymore
Now I really cannot come to your help anymore
Now I really cannot come to your help anymore


Boohwal

Boohwal’s music may be called classic rock with an emphasis on emotional content that is sad, rueful, and grand style. The predominant mood usually concerns loss of love, remembrance of an old sweetheart, or a tragic or ironic fate that us helpless mere mortals are subjected to. The lyrics typically set the scene or story early on, hinging on some simple imagery like personal items, objects in nature or the city, setting the tone of fuzzy, wistful sentiment. Vocals, guitar, and other instruments escalate the pathos of the scene, using a balladic, heavy handed notes in a loud and ponderous mix. This sadness and despair tinged, pathos ridden rock was not entirely new. Shin Joong Hyun has already tried it to a great extent in the 70s, in songs like Sunset (석양) and If I Must Forget You (잊어야 한다면), and such western bands as Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin had touched on it. What set Boohwal apart is that they went further with the pathos, heightening it with their smooth flowing yet often weighted melodies. Singers like Lee Seung Chul and later Kim Jae Gi thus brought on a new genre of vocal, one that punctuates smooth and emotive delivery drowned in sadness, in a departure from the usual hard driving classic rock.

Lee Seung Chul, Kim Tae won

Reminiscence 1 (회상 1) looks back on a time in the past, a world which was populated by a girl who dreamed of becoming a mother and the blue sky, a stream, and the gloriously verdant land. It is all mysterious and not much is spelled out, but still paints a poignant picture of nostalgia and sadness, which is the critical ingredients of Boowhal music. The nostalgic mood is cleverly amplified by the use of the cries of playing children at the end.

A Sad Deer (슬픈 사슴) is about the narrator’s girlfriend who looked like a sad deer. She is again a mysterious character who loved little birds but could never be one. She appears in the narrator’s dream begging for something, but he can’t make out what it is she wants in the muddled world of a deep dream. Finally she resigns herself with a helpless stare on him, and he is left wailing that there is nothing he can do for her now. In typical Boohwal style it all comes together to create a beautifully tragic setting, much like a tragic scene of a noir style film.

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