Korean Folksong 4: Fate’s Appearance



빛나는 그대를 보면 볼수록 태양이 어두워진다

청국의 가장 아름다운 천사들도 평범해 보여지게 하는 그대가 

어디에서 온 걸까? 

다른 세계 – 가능

다른 세월 – 가능

이 세계 – 확실히 불가능

우리의 출신이 세상 차이니 낯선데 뭔가 인연인 듯이 익숙하다

Romanization / Transliteration: 

Bit-na-neun geu-dae-reul bo-myun bol-soo-rok tae-yang-ee eoh-doo-wuh-jin-da

chung-kook-eh ga-jang ah-reum-da-oon chun-sah-deul-do pyung-bum-hae bo-yuh-ji-gae ha-neun geu-dae ga eoh-di-ae-suh on-gul-kka?

da-reun seh-gye – ga-neung

da-reun seh-woul – ga-neung

Ee-seh-gye – hawk-shil-hee bool-ga-neung

Oo-ree-eh chool-sheen-ee sae-sang cha-i-ni nat-sun-dae mwon-ga in-yun-in deu-si eek-sook-ha-da

Full Translation: 

The more I see you shine, the darker the sun gets. 

Where did you, who can make even heaven’s most beautiful angels appear ordinary, come from? 

A different world is possible

A different time is possible

But you being from the same world is without a doubt impossible

Since our origins are so different, you seem strange, but something, as if it’s fate, is familiar

2) My Korean grandmother introduced this folk song, called “인연의 나타남” (fate’s appearance) to me because it was a song that she learned during highschool, and it came to have great meaning for her when she met my grandfather. She said the song is about a very idealistic love, and she told me that she hopes people don’t yet give up on the idea that such a love could possibly exist. 

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) This song is centered around the idea of two lovers who are of completely different backgrounds. The subject of the folk song is a person who appears almost perfect, so perfect that assuming a relationship with that person seems near impossible. However, the concept of fate, Inyun, in Korean plays a big role in the song’s theme. It suggests that no matter how infeasible this relationship seems, if fate wills its manifestation then it will come to be. This song also leads me to compare Inyun with the concept of Akyun, which depicts a relationship that is also subject to fate, but is instead bound to be ill-fated. Comparing these two concepts, it becomes clear that Korean tradition attributes both miracles and tragedies to the idea of fate.