Jazz is in, Jingle Bells and Mariah are outHere’s how some of Korea’s top musicians answered our questions about the holiday season.
1.hich albums do you listen to the most during the Christmas/New Year holidays?
2.Until what age did you believe in Santa Claus?
3.What are your favorite and least favorite carols?
4.What are your plans for Christmas Eve?
5.Did you ever have a Christmas nightmare?
Jinma from The Smiles
1. I’m a fanatical Beatles fan, so “Rubber Band ― The Beatmas.”
2. I believed in Santa Claus until I was 10 years old. I always got what I wanted for Christmas so I thought he must be reading my mind.
3. My favorite is “My Christmas Tree.” I heard the song in the movie “Home Alone” and it gave me such a strange sensation ― but in a good way. I don’t think there’s any reason to dislike carols.
4. I’m spending the day quietly with my girlfriend.
5. I remember this one Christmas when I woke up early to put presents on my friend’s desk at a hagwon, a private institution, which I had wrapped myself the night before. But my friends’ reaction wasn’t as enthusiastic as I had hoped.
Park Jung-hyeon, R&B Singer
1. Amy Grant’s “A Christmas Album.” It was the first time I ever heard Christmas music modernized into pop songs. Every time I hear one of the old Amy Grant songs from her first Christmas album I’m reminded of those early family Christmases.
2. I think I believed in Santa Claus until I was about six or seven years old. I woke up one Christmas morning to find Santa’s present sitting on my desk in my bedroom. The present was wrapped in paper I knew we owned and the writing on the front was unmistakably my mother’s handwriting!
3. My favorite is “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” because it has the simplest message ― Merry Christmas! Another favorite is “Christmastime is Here” because it has a sweet, sad quality about it. My least favorite would have to be “Jingle Bells,” just because I’m tired of it now.
4. Unfortunately, I’m usually working most Christmas Eves because I’m in the entertainment business.
5. I’m usually busy over Christmas, but two years ago I found myself with some free time but I didn’t think to plan ahead. My friends and I ended up in a local pojangmacha, a drinking tent, and ended up eating chicken gizzards and drinking lukewarm beer in a freezing orange tent next to a smelly gas heater.
Slowjam (Jung Yeong-june)
1. Natalie Cole’s albums because they’re very jazzy and I especially like “Unforgettable: With Love” which she sang with her dad, Nat King Cole. Harry Connick Jr. albums are also nice and have elements of jazz, which I find fits in well with Christmas and winter.
2. Until fifth grade, when I saw my dad bringing in my present and realized that Santa was him.
3. My favorite is “Let it Snow.” I don’t like those carols that are made into dance versions.
4. Every time I expect something great to happen and I go out at Christmas, but I usually end up squashed in a crowd of people. So I plan to spend this Christmas Eve quietly with friends.
5. When I was in high school, I had plans with my ex- girlfriend to go out for a late-night movie, but she ended up getting grounded and I had to spend the night by myself.
Marco, hip-hop musician
1. g.o.d’s “Love You and Remember You.” I had this huge crush on a girl in high school and we used to listen to this CD together. It brings back memories of that wonderful puppy love.
2. I never believed in Santa Claus. Am I being too much of a cynic here?
3. My favorite is “Silent Night” because it’s mellow and classic. I don’t like “Jingle Bells” ― it makes me restless.
4. I’m planning on going to a great restaurant and having a fabulous meal.
5. I don’t like to remember the Christmases I spent in the army.
Park Sung-gyu from Hourmelts
1. Whenever I hear “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” by The Platters, I feel as though snow is falling on me or as if I’m in front of a fireplace, nostalgic over a past love.
2. I saw a TV documentary when I was young, which said Santa was made up by Coca Cola. But I still believe in Santa Claus, especially when I’m drunk.
3. My favorite is “It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas” by Perry Como and The Fontane Sisters. I’m not fond of carol compilations that feature big names and boring arrangements.
4. Difficult question. I might just have to spend this Christmas with my granddad drinking makgeolli, Korean rice wine, and finding out how he snagged grandma.
5. In Korea, except for Thanksgiving or New Year, most Western holidays are geared toward couples. Since I don’t have a girlfriend, I think this year might just be my worst Christmas.
1. Lee Jang-won: I listen to m-flo and Clammbon albums when I ski.
Shin Jae-pyeong: Carol albums
2. Shin: Santa was never really an issue in my family. My wise parents never mentioned him.
Lee: I believe in Santa.
3. Shin: I’m sick of “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” but the melody “The Little Drummer Boy” always feels very otherworldly.
Lee: I like the cute, whispering melody and lyrics of “Jolly Old St. Nicholas.” I don’t like “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” by Mariah Carey. Carols sung by little children always sound much better than monstrous vocal arrangements.
4. Shin: I’m going to spend this one quietly with friends. My favorite part is shopping for groceries.
Lee: It’s a weekday this time so I might be working.
5. Lee: One Christmas, I was walking around my neighborhood at dawn singing carols and this ajeossi in pajamas scolded me about the noise.
Shin: Five years ago I got my first car and I showed it off to my girlfriend. Because of Christmas traffic we spent five hours in the car, going from Gangnam to Sinchon.
1. Alex: Regardless of my personal tastes, “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey, because it’s playing everywhere!
2. Alex: I still believe in Santa. I am Santa.
Kim Sung-hoon: I think I believed in Santa right up to the age when I started noticing girls.
Horan: When I was five, I interrupted my grandmom and dad having an important conversation, asking when Santa is going to come to our house. Then my dad suddenly got annoyed and yelled, “Santa is dad!”
3. Alex: Michael Buble’s Christmas album is my favorite. My least favorite is “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey.
Lee: I like “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” I like all carols.
Horan: “Silver Bells” is my favorite because I remember watching this animation as a kid and saw these children holding silver bells singing that song. It was so romantic. I don’t like “Jingle Bells” ― too exhausting.
4. Alex: I’m planning on spending the day with a friend, drinking and talking about life and love.
Lee: I think I’ll be busy rehearsing.
5. Alex: I have fond memories of all my Christmases.
Lee: I never had a nightmarish Christmas, but maybe the times I spent the day by myself?
Na Youn-sun, jazz singer
1. Carol albums. They’re playing everywhere, plus I usually put them in my repertoire at my year-end concerts and have to practice singing them.
2. Honestly, I can’t remember, but I remember putting up stockings in elementary school in the hope that Santa might come by.
3. My favorite is Ella Fitzgerald’s “Let it Snow!” I am far from being a dancer but when I hear this song, I always get the urge to strut my stuff.
I don’t have a least favorite because during this season all carols get me going.
4. I’m performing at the Ansan Culture and Arts Center, but I wish I could have the time to have a nice dinner and go see a concert!
5. I don’t know if this qualifies as a nightmare but I was always home alone, watching TV, eating and sleeping during Christmas. Even so, Christmas is always a happy time for me.
1. Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” ― it’s warm and inviting. And The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s “Boogie Woogie Christmas” ― if you’re not high after hearing this album, you have a problem.
2. I think most of us know by grade school that Santa is really mom and dad.
3. Favorite carol ― the version of “White Christmas” in the movie “Home Alone.” Least favorite carol ― the ones we hear on the street when we have anywhere to go and when friends don’t call you at Christmas.
4. We’re having a concert on the 24th and 25th at EBS Space.
5. Most of the band is saying the ones that they spent alone without girlfriends.
Yeonjin from Linus’s Blanket
1. Vince Guaraldi’s “Charlie Brown Christmas” and Blossom Dearie’s “Christmas Spice So Very Nice.” Both albums somehow manage to envelop the bittersweet feeling of the end of the year in a sincere and affectionate way.
2. I can’t be sure if I ever did believe but I remember when I was seven and my mom told me that she saw a Christmas present in the basement. I went to open it and found that the card was written in my mom’s handwriting. I still have that card and it still cracks me up to see “Santa” written in my mother’s handwriting.
3. I don’t really have a favorite, but I think all seasonal songs at this time of year are nice.
4. I’ll be attending a friend’s party with food and alcohol.
5. To be honest, I don’t recall a specifically nightmarish Christmas, and I usually like to spend the day quietly with friends or a boyfriend, just talking till dawn about this and that.
By Cho Jae-eun Staff Reporter [firstname.lastname@example.org]