Wednesday, February 10, 2010

dagTunes: 산울림 "나어떡해"

This is one of my favorite Korean songs; possibly, thee fave. And that's incredible because the three brothers in 산울림 played some very cheesey almost-power-pop over the years.

산울림 (San-ul-lim) means 'mountain echo'. The official English title for 나어떡해 (Na-eo-ddeok-hae) is "What Shall I do?" Alhtough, 나어떡해 is a Korean expression that means "What am I going to do now?" "What shall I do?" sounds a bit 19th Century Victorian English to me and carries none of the folksy quality that the pop song embodies.
한글moment: The song's title provides a good illustration of the daily difficulties I experience learning the Korean language. A student might think he sees "떡", which means 'rice cake', which would take him down a path towards "rice cake does", which makes no sense at all. And then the student would ask a Korean. And then bang his head on his desk.
나어떡해 has the right amounts of pop and melancholy mixed together with great, muted drumming. I've been looking for the lyrics and never have found them. If you know them or can find them, in English, or can translate, I'd love to know more about it than I already do.

I'm putting this up because another version of the song by a popular band, Sandpebbles, receives a lot of attention on You Tube. The original is, as many Koreans will correctly argue, the better version.

Read about 산울림 in English:

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