Many moons ago a former flatmate had this wondrous 1960’s or early 70’s female fronted, South Korean Trot/folk-pop record that we used to spin all the time.
I can still hum a handful of the melodies and when I recognized another version of one of my favorite tunes among those - simply titled «Arirang», I figured I had a pretty good chance at locating the album in question. I had no such luck but instead I learned about a more than 600 year old folksong-tradition and the existence of countless variations/versions of Arirang(=the name of several mountain passes)-related wanderer songs telling tales of isolation and sorrow, unrequited love and killings of fair maidens mm… This whole tradition is actually considered South Koreas unofficial national anthem(s) and on UNESCO's list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity program.
-However, in my unsuccessful search for that original album I came across hours of enchanting folkpop and gentle trot-oldies from the same era instead. And after translating titles and artists names (which I hope I got more or less correct) from hangul to english I’ve grown fond of the korean letters and language + I’d sure love to cross those mountain passes someday.
Here’s my first hour of "accidental" song discoveries and if you fail to find anything to love, I’m afraid you better go see a cardiologist asap.
1 이미자 / Lee Mija - 해운대엘레지 / Haeundae Elegie
2 손인호 / Son In-ho - 짝사랑 / Crush
3 홍나나 / Hong Nana - 사랑꽃 / Love Flower
4 김부자 Kim Buja - 양산도 열두고개 / Yangshan Also Has Twelve Heads
5 은방울자매 / Silver Bell Sisters - 삼천포아가씨 / Samcheonpo Young Lady
6 이난영 / Lee Nan Young - 해수욕장 풍경 / Beach Scenery
7 장세정 / Jang SeJeong - 봄맞이 / Welcome the Spring
8 고복수 / Go BokSu - 휘파람 / Whistle
9 조미미 / Cho Mimi - 눈물젖은 사진첩 / Tear-Stained Photo Album
10 송춘희 / Song Chun Hee - 수덕사의 여승 / Sudeoksa of Nuns
11 쟈니 브라더스 / Johnny Brothers - 목마른 나무들 / Thirsty Trees
12 최정자 / Choy Jeongja - 님 타령 / Nim Tong
13 박재란 / Park Jaeran - 또 다시 만납시다 / Let's Meet Again
14 최희준 / Huijun Choe - 푸른 꿈이여 안녕 / Goodbye Blue Dreams
15 박인희 / Park In Hee - 아사녀 / Mother-In-law
16 황금심 / Hwang Geumsim - 알뜰한 당신 / Frugal You
17 안다성 / Anda Castle - 임자없는 나룻배 / Ferry Boat
18 이미자 / Imager - 川辺の女 / A Woman on the River
19 김치켓 / Kimchi Kats - 아리랑목동 / Arirang Shepherd Boy
20 문정숙 / Jeong-suk Moon - 7인의 여포로 /7 Women P.O.W.
21 남백송 / Nam Baeksong - 비 내리는 호남선 / Honam Line in the Rain
or-the duo on this cover are the Pearl Sisters - which will feature on a future vol. 2.