중앙데일리

Expat rappers put Geumchon in the spotlight

‘[The song] is a sort of homage to the place where we kick it.’

June 04,2008
EV Boyz members, from left, Christian Zonts, Brian Peterson and Mike Nance, sing “Kickin’ it in Geumchon” and “AE I Love You,” both original numbers, at the Rocky Mountain Tavern in Itaewon, Seoul, Saturday for a fund-raising event. By James Shim
Geumchon is a typical town in Korea without many attractions for foreign tourists.

But the town has suddenly found itself to be one of the most sought-out places for expatriates here since March, when three Americans put it on the world map.

A music video called “Kickin’ it in Geumchon,” posted by Christian Zonts, Mike Nance and Brian Peterson on YouTube.com has recorded more than 85,500 hits as of yesterday.

Many readers still might empathize with the rappers when they shout out during the song, “Geumchon, where?”

“Geumchon is a small, little town close to where we live in Paju,” said Peterson, 25, in an interview Saturday.

The three teach at the English Village in Paju, a city north of Seoul, an English-only region run by the Gyeonggi provincial government.

The village, and others like it, are billed by Gyeonggi as “places where people can use the English language in a variety of contexts as well as experience English-speaking culture.”

The group has taken the name EV Boyz after English Village.

The song, written by Zonts and sung by the trio, is far from a negative or ignorant depiction of Korea, as is often the case in Hollywood movies.

It is, according to the singers, more an expression of affection the American English teachers have toward their neighborhood.

“We still like to go there and our friends also go there frequently,” Peterson said. “It [the song] is a sort of homage to the place where we kick it.”

The lyrics of the song, they say, are something of a general overview of the food and culture they can experience in the town and all over Korea.

“It’s a lyric basically about everything that is in Geumchon, and what we do there. We are documentarians,” Nance, 29, said.

Zonts, 30, said: “It hits a lot of Korean culture references, everything you experience, not only just in Geumchon, but Korea in general.”

Zonts, whose hobbies include producing music videos, said he made one about Korea, thinking it could be a report to families and friends in the U.S. about what he is doing.

It was successful, he said, adding that he got a lot of feedback from people in Korea after he posted the music video online.

The video also made Paju famous, the EV Boyz said, but they did not intend to create a stereotype of the place.

“Somebody else comes to Korea and has totally different impressions of it,” Nance said.

“This is totally ours.”

The EV Boyz debuted their new song “AE I Love You” Saturday at the Rocky Mountain Tavern, an Itaewon bar.

The song, about an expat falling in love with a Korean girl, will also be made into a music video soon.

The event that featured their performance was called “A Great Cause,” a fun-raising event to benefit HIV/AIDS patients in South Africa.

The EV Boyz performed for free there, along with two other bands, Soto Gamba and the Bellows.

“We are honored to be asked,” Peterson said. “It’s a great compliment to us.”

The event organizer Craig Kulyk, a Canadian, thanked all the performers.


By Moon Gwang-lip Staff Reporter [joe@joongang.co.kr]


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