Star Wars: 스타워즈 프로젝트 컴필레이션 (2008)

This entry is part 30 of 70 in the series SF in South Korea

Star Wars Project Compilation Album coverQuite a long time ago, K-indie insider helikoppter of Indieful ROK emailed me to let me know about an album she figured I’d be interested in. The reason she thought I’d be interested was, you see, my ongoing series about SF in Korea.

(How she stays on top of music in Korea is something everyone paying attention is amazed by, considering she’s not actually in Korea. Such is the power of the internet… and strong passions.)

Now, this is going to be delicate. See, there’s such a thing as genre-media-inspired music in the West. It’s called filk, and it generally has a kind of, well, hmmm. It has a reputation, let’s put it that way. One of the most diplomatic SF writers I know, in terms of professional comportment, twisted her face into a mask of horror when she saw some filkers and said, “There’s NO &%*$^#! excuse for filk!!!” or something like that. It was as if it were as offensive as, well, pick your disgusting crime against humanity.

I’m less horrified by the notion of filk, but then, for me it’s mostly an abstract concept at the moment. I haven’t run across much of it. I’m not mostly into so much of the media being drawn upon, and anyway, I’ve only been to two cons in my life. The one time I did hear filk, it was a guy playing the Star Wars theme on an accordion. So I can’t say I’m into it, or hate it. I do kind of cringe at the notion.

So believe me when I say that I was shocked by how very good a number of the tracks on this thing are, considering it’s a Korean Star Wars filk album. Maybe the filk tradition isn’t big in Korea? Given the size of SF fandom here, I wouldn’t expect it to be. And lots of these people sound like people who came to filk after really getting their chops up in music — they learned to play not just to do filk, but to play rock or whatever else they’re playing.

It’s a pretty good album, in my books, with a few tracks that make it worth buying. The standout song for me at the moment is a very cute, weird little tune about Yoda and Green tea. Which makes sense because, you know, Yoda’s green.

I’m smiling as I type this.

Here’s a rough translation of the lyrics (with the original pasted under the cut). I’ll just note that the original is trilingual, with the italicized lines in English, and the rest of the English in Korean. The non-English is Japanese phoneticized from the Korean representation of the Japanese. Oh, and there’s a sample available below, I promise! (At the end of the review, the link.)

Green Tea Please

Yoda, with a green face
Really likes to drink green tea
So when he went to Japan,
He went into a tea shop

“Green Tea Please!”
Yoda only spoke English
“How do I order a green tea?”
Shall we learn together?

Rokucha, rokucha: “Green tea, Green tea”!
“Please”: kudasai kudasai!
Rokucha kudasai!
Rokucha kudasai!
“It’s really really delicious”:
Oishi honttoni desseune

Yoda, having tasted this tea,
Went off to live in Japan;
Went to a tea shop in Osaka
And sat there everyday!
“Green Tea Please!”:
Rokucha kudasai
“It’s really really delicious”:
Oishi honttoni desseune

Rokucha rokucha: “Green tea, green tea”
“Please”: kudasai kudasai
Rokucha kudasai
Rokucha kudasai
“If I collect 10 stamps [on this club card],
Will I get a cup for free?”

The track itself is as wonderful and innocent as you would imagine for lyrics like that.

And that’s not the only wonderful track on the album. The very next song is a lovesong to Chewbacca, ostensibly from the POV of Han Solo (from what I can tell, anyway, though it’s not exactly “slash”, again, from what I can figure out). There’s another tune which sounds very somewhat like it’s in the old-fashioned Korean karaoke style (as impeccably lampooned by Flight of the Conchords here, though slightly less old-fashioned than that example) which is titled “My Name’s Chewbacca the Galactic Blaster.” There’s a song that fuses traditional pansori style (like this) with guitar blues, and it’s about R2D2.

There’s a also punky song called “I Am Your Father,” another titled something that would translate approximately as “Yoda’s Everyday [Routine]” and a song that I think is about The Dark Side which is titled 끝없는 어두움, which I’ll render as “Endless Darkness.” There’s even a pretty wild appearance by Sato Yukie, Seoul’s leading avantgarde crazymusic guru, who contributed a wild track titled “Solo Improvisation for Starwars.”

Another song that gets stuck in my head is the one titled “Skywalker” — though I would probably smash the out-of-tune-recorder if I saw the song performed live. But my only complaint other than that recorder is that I didn’t quite get the theme-relatedness of the electronic songs at the end of disc 1. They’re alright, I just didn’t get the link. But over all, it’s quite listenable and quite K-indie-sounding, really, a bit eclectic and weird and quirky and fun. And if you listen to the lyrics and get much at all, it’s even weirder and more fun, even when the links are quite tenuous. Maybe even more when they’re tenuous, like with the Green Tea Please song…

If you’re hooked already, order the album here (among probably other places, though unfortunately I can’t find any sign of it on the sites where I assume people outside Korean usually buy K-indie, like MrKwang’s or If anyone out of country is desperate for a copy, let me know and I’ll try harder to find a place where you can order it. (Though if you don’t speak enough Korean to find it yourself, you may not get much out of it anyway!)

But if you would like to sample the complete album, it’s available in a javascript thingie on this page, a plugin for which I can’t seem to copy and paste the code here, so go there and try out those tunes. Just click on the blue jukeboxy widget thing in the middle of the post and it’ll pop open to reveal a listing of every track on the 2-disc album. The Yoda song with the lyrics above is the first track on the second CD, so the one marked 1. after 14 previous tracks (right after the track titled “krasch dance”).

Below the cut, the original Korean (/English/Japanese) lyrics for “Rokucha Kudasai.”

Now, those lyrics in the original to the Green Tea song, which I snagged from here:

이랑&진주조개잡이와 사람낚는어부 – 로쿠차 구다사이

하나 둘 셋 넷

요다는 녹색얼굴
녹차를 즐겨마셔요
요번에 일본에도 갔다왔어
녹차 전문점에 갔어

그린티 플리즈
요다는 영어밖에 못하는데
녹차를 어떻게 주문하나
함께 배워볼까요

로쿠차로쿠차 녹차녹차
구다사이 구다사이 주세요
로쿠차 구다사이
로쿠차 구다사이
너무너무 맛이 있어요
혼또니 오이시 데쓰네

요다는 그 맛에 반해서
일본에서 살기로했어
오사카에 녹차전문점에 가면
매일매일 앉아있어요
그린티 플리즈
로쿠차 구다사이
너무너무 맛이 있어요
혼또니 오이시 데쓰네

로쿠차로쿠차 녹차녹차
구다사이구다사이 주세요
로쿠차 구다사이
로쿠차 구다사이
도장 열 개 모으면
한 잔은 공짜로 주나요

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2 thoughts on “Star Wars: 스타워즈 프로젝트 컴필레이션 (2008)

  1. Talking about SF in Korea….. This semester I opened a new course at 문지문화원 사이(Munju Cultural Institute), which is titled “Science Fiction as Social Literature: SF & Minority”. This is a nine-week course and I’m covering seven minority issues – children, gender, disability, superhuman(as a way of understanding the nature of limitations), poverty, race and Korea(ㅋㅋ). Thought you might be interested!

  2. Hey, that’s excellent! I’d love to hear how the course is going, as well as which texts you selected for discussion! Maybe next time our paths cross we can talk about it… I am also thinking of offering an SF-themed course for the Lit Department at my university. (I was invited to do so and am trying to decide whether to do just SF or broaden it to popular American fiction genres — ie, SF, fantasy, horror, and mystery fiction. Probably next semester, or the one after, depending on course load, what courses I’ll be teaching (I think I’ll have a heavy-prep course on African-American culture next semester as we need something like that getting off the ground) and on other stuff.

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