Side B (2) of Korean Gramophone Record ㄱ – 56224 / ㄷ – 275025 Track 1: <<끝없는 이행복 노래부르네>>
We Sing the Song of Blessings Forever (Kr. 끝없는 이행복 노래부르네) is an oldie, popular in the 1970’s and 1980’s, that has recently made something of a come back. While many younger Koreans struggle to name the tune, this past summer the song echoed nightly from the Taedong Beer Festival accompanied by a funky electric kayagum. The Yanggak Island Discs Sound Cloud account has a recording of both the original vinyl and the modern cover.
The electric kayagum is, by the way, is one of the most versatile and enchanting instruments out there. Check out Luna Lee in South Korea and her covers of all kinds of western songs from Adele and AC/DC to Wham! and Stevie Wonder, plus just about everything in between.
The music video of Sing the Song of Blessings Forever (above) depicts an overseas Korean living in Japan (Jp. Zainichi) traveling to visit her relative, possibly a sister, from whom she has received a letter with important news. She sails across from Niigata aboard the Mangyongbong-92, a mixed passenger and cargo ferry that used to run across the East Sea (Sea of Japan), to the port of Wonsan.
Landing in Wonsan dressed in a traditional Korean dress (Kr. 조선옷), she dramatically touches the concrete pier of her homeland. Visitors to Wonsan today can see the Mangyongbong-92 moored at the very same city pier.
From Wonsan, she travels by bus across the width of the Korean Peninsula by bus. Along the way are friendly truck drivers, saluting schoolchildren, and farmers working the harvest. She then arrives in Pyongyang with its modern skyline dominated by the Koryo Hotel. The video ends with the family taking home its newest member from the Pyongyang Maternity Hospital.
Below is a more recent performance of the song by soloist Kim Ung Sam at the
May Music Concert in 2011 and accompanied by both the Unhasu Orchestra and university student musicians.
Yanggak Island Discs is a regular posting on songs from old North Korean vinyls. Follow the Yanggak Island Discs Sound Cloud for more recordings of featured songs.