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One does not hesitate in referring to Deulkukhwa, a Korean rock band from the 1970s, as a living legend of Korean rock music. A tribute album of this historic band is to be released on Saturday and will be followed by a concert Wednesday featuring the group and 16 other artists celebrating its release. The Korean music community in the 1970s was in the doldrums, facing numerous restrictions and strict censorship from the government. At the time, Koreans thought it sophisticated to listen only to popular western music. Apart from a limited number of singers in the mainstream, such as Cho Yong-pil, the local music scene failed to produce any music that caught the attention of the public.

Deulkukhwa, which means 'wild chrysanthemum,' came into being in the late 1970s, with prominent vocal- ist Jeon In-gwon, bass guitarist Choi Seong-won and drummer Ju Chan- gwon as its members. With the release of Deulkukhwa's first album, iiDeulkukhwa IlD in 1985, this defiant rock band shook the local music industry out of its torpor, showing the potential of homegrown talent with particular emphasis on underground rock music. The youth of the country welcomed their new idols with enthusiasm. Ju Hong-mee, who is in charge of planning the concert, said, ''Considering their huge influence, Deulkukhwa can be said to be like the Eagles or U2 of Korea.'' 'Deulkukhwa II' followed in 1986 but discord within the band led to it being temporarily dissolved. Then in the early 1990s the Korean music scene was flooded with rap music and the former members of the band, once the dominant musicians in Korea, were at a loss about their future. They continued to produce music despite their sudden banishment to the periphery of the pop music scene but, to make matters worse, vocalist Jeon In-gwon was arrested several times on drug charges. Their third album, released in 1995, was not popular enough to keep the band together.

Although the band itself has only produced three albums, its members have collaborated with others and produced a total of 26 albums over two decades. They have also performed over 50 concerts. At the end of the 20th century, the members dramatically reunited to make a comeback, attempting another shot at their days of glory. Singer Jeon In-gwon said, iaThis is a new start for us. Our first goal is to release a new album within the year.lt Their return was well received by their many followers, especially young aspiring musicians. Lee Jeok, a member of the popular group called GIGS, remarked, ''I hope a reborn Deulkukhwa will take the lead in revitalizing the Korean music scene, which suffers from an overrepresen- tation of young dancing groups and singers.''

To pay tribute to the band's spirit of freedom and independence, 16 popular contemporary musicians such as Kim Jang-hun, Park Hyo- shin, Shin Hae-chul, Yun Doh-hyeon and Lee Jeok, all of whom were enormously influenced by Deulkukhwa, recorded the tribute album featuring covers of Deulkukhwa's songs. Profits from the album and concert will be used to fund independent bands. The concert will be held at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday. For further information, call 1588-7890 (English service available).

by Choe Jae-hee

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