Korean Folksong 3: choo-eun baram



날 부르는 바람이 왜 이렇게 차가운 걸까?

차가운데 나에게 희망을 주는 것이다

날 부르는 바람이 날 어디로 인도하는 걸까?

이 차가움을 견디고 따라 갈 것이다


Nal boo-reuh-neun ba-ram-ee wae ee-ruh-kae cha-ga-oon-gul-kka?

cha-ga-oon-dae na-ae-gae hee-mang-eul joo-neun-guh-shee-dah.

nal boo-reun-neun ba-ram-ee nal uh-di-loh indoh-ha-neun gul-kka?

ee cha-ga-oom-eul gyun-di-go dda-rah gal-guh-shee-dah.

Full Translation: 

Oh wind who’s calling me, why are you so cold? 

Despite the cold, you also give me hope.

Oh wind who’s calling me, where are you leading me?

I will endure the chill of your breeze, and follow you. 

2) My Korean grandmother introduced this folk song, called “cold wind,” to me because it was a song that she learned during middle school, but came to have great meaning to her after she immigrated to America in her late 20s. She said her decision to come to America made her scared, but she was willing to endure this fear for the possibility of a future as a nurse in the US. 

3) This performance was actually done by my grandmother and mother together. My grandmother sang the lyrics, and my mother, being a pianist, improvised an accompaniment along with the melody. It was a set of four Korean folk songs that they performed in front of me and the rest of our family. 

4) I connect this folk song to the Korean concept of ‘Han.’ Han is an emotion that connotes an accumulation of Koreans’ suffering over time. It is a very dynamic emotion that has a fierce color that could almost signal the energy and birth of new possibilities. I think the song my grandma sang connects to this concept because although it invokes the necessity of suffering along a certain road, it also signals that there should be hope that despite this suffering a worthwhile outcome could arise.