By popular demand, folk group reunites for first show since ’97

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By popular demand, folk group reunites for first show since ’97

When asked if he had any regrets about the past, veteran folk singer Kim Chang-wan, 51, answered, “The passage of time is what causes regret.”
After forming his folk group, Sanwoolim, with his brothers Chang-hoon and Chang-ik in 1977, the trio became a hit in the Korean folk music scene before Mr. Kim Chang-wan went solo in 1982 and his brothers took day jobs.
Chang-hoon, who decided to get a job, is now working as a vice-president of CJ Food America, and Chang-ik does business in Canada. Only Chang-wan, the oldest, continued to be a musician and entertainer.
It has been eight years since the three brothers gathered together for a concert, and on May 28, Sanwoolim will perform at Seoul Jangchung Stadium in the central part of the city.
They last held a concert in 1997 when they released their 13th album. Before the reunion concern, Kim Chang-wan, talked about how it felt to be together again with his brothers.
“It is a fact that I always wanted to regroup as far as the circumstances permit,” he says.
Sanwoolim was only very active for about two and a half years during the five years the group was together, Mr. Kim Chang-wan says. But he says that the fan’s memories from the past 30 years has drawn the group back together for the special show.
Kim Chang-wan now performs on the MBC drama series, “Trembling Heart” which will conclude this week.
He plays the role of a middle-aged man who falls in love with a young girl, but returns to his family. His already has 20 years of acting experience and first came on a drama in 1985.
“Acting? It is so fun,” says Mr. Kim.
If it is not fun, he dozes off immediately, he says. During his years as a student, he always slept in the classroom.
Maybe that’s the reason why Sanwoolim was judged for their levity in their songs was because they were free from the commercial pressure and because of the “fun-loving” nature of Mr. Kim.
Sanwoolim debuted with a new song called “Already,” and experimented with an 18-minute long song called “You Are Already Me.”
In the song “Hey Kid,” the kid’s voice is actually Chang-wan’s voice, and he changed the speed to change the tone. Sanwoolim has influenced Korean pop music so greatly that other singers have dedicated albums to the group.
In the MBC drama series, he plays a husband who gave up his dream of becoming a singer. Maybe it is similar to the stories of his brothers Chang-ik and Chang-hoon.
Maybe it is his own story since he is now a more natural actor than singer. But regret, in his own expression, is “a method used by humans to mark time,” but he has continuously worked with music. He worked as a producer of other singers’ albums and drama, and he even released a children’s song album.
“Even now, I keep on making new songs,” he says. “These days I want to work on progressive rock (a genre in rock which is very complex and experimenting) and electronica (electronic music), but I can’t because we threw out all the old equipment.
“I cannot dare to buy new equipment and spend one or two years of my life practicing a whole new genre,” he says.

by Lee Kyung-hee
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