New Book on Korean Gramophone Discs Finally Released

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New Book on Korean Gramophone Discs Finally Released

What could portray the hard lives of commoners during the period of Japanese colonization better than the popular culture of the day?

Composer and researcher Kim Jum-do (65)'s book, 'Complete Data of Gramophone Discs (published by Shinnara Music),' is more than just a compilation of data on popular songs and other pieces of audio culture of Korea. Rather, it is a masterpiece which provides enourmously useful information for research on Korean commoners' hardships under Japanese colonization. In this book, Korean popular songs, comedy routines, and classical music are arranged according to Korean alphabetical order and by record company.

Let us take a short look at the first page of this data book. The very first line lists some detailed information on 'Gageora Ddokddakson (Go ahead, you motorboat).' Its date of release (September 1940), the name of the record company (Okay), and the names of the composer and lyricist (Lee Bong-yong and Cho Myung-am) are indicated under the title. Further down, the title 'Ganan Tayung (Poverty Tune)' is listed. According to the description, this piece was released in January of 1930 by Columbia Records and was sung by the famous singer Im Bang-wool. Although a large percentage of the information is written on popular music, one can also find information on modern ballads, comedy routines, and children's songs. Also, information on Korea's famed poet Kim Ahn-seo and composer Hong Nan-pa is very comprehensive.

The book contains information on more than 6,000 gramophone discs, which contain as many as 12,000 songs and comedy routines. These 6,000 discs are considered very precious because they were kept safe during the Korean War, a time when it was nearly impossible to preserve Korean cultural artifacts.

How was it possible for Kim Jum-do to obtain all this material? He added 3,000 discs from the Shinnara Record Company and some were donated by private collectors, including 2,000 of his own discs.

Kim said, "I thought about giving up on this project so many times, but, at last, I finished it after 10 years of hard work. I will start making a revised version of it as soon as I receive more material from private owners." He added that he would soon start working on his 'Period After Liberation Data Book' as well.

by Cho Woo-suk

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