Mixed material, Music production and Music CD and band concert, project archive solo exhibition, 2002
” We, local people, might have proceeded with various projects for migrant workers in Korea from the idea that they are those to be protected and often without consideration for their cultural desires. The question has motivated me to launch the migrant workers’ music project. I wanted to present an alternative rather than criticizing as an outsider.” – Park Kyong Ju
Exhibited Work From The Solo Exhibition ‘Migrant workers music project’ @ ssamzie space in seoul, 2002
Supported By Arts Council Korea, Ssamzie Space, Seoul Foreign Workers’ Center
Migrant Workers’ Music Project (2001-2003)
The difference between ‘Migrant Workers’ Music Project-What is life’ from other works in the past was ‘working together:’ In the past, I met and interviewed them as an artist. The reasons why I chose the field of ‘music’ was two: first, it is easy to approach the public than other forms of arts do; second, I believed that the distribution of a music CD would bring a bigger wavelength in society. Cultures of migrant workers remained underground in Korea. While their ‘illegal’ residence status in Korea has been one of the reasons, I also think that Korean society, culturally not diversified yet, failed to assimilate the cultures of migrant workers into the mainstream, leaving them underground among the underground. The purposes of the project are to fulfill the ‘cultural desires’ of migrant workers themselves and at the same time to show the cultural capacity of migrant workers to Koreans. I understood that such efforts would correct the public’s cultural bias against migrant workers.
For the project, different migrant workers wrote lyrics, professional songwriters composed music, and the migrant workers’ music band, Eureka, played the songs. ‘Eureka,’ an independent music band of migrant workers, was scouted during the project. Members of the band, working in the different fields of Korean industries for the past several years, had practiced music on weekends and performed on different occasions for their ethnic community. Eureka, not having their song at the time of scouting, could advance the levels of their musical completeness when they composed their songs and had a chance to make their music CD as participants in the project. The music CD of ‘What is Life,’ was completed on December 2002 and copies of it have been distributed to different migrant workers’ organizations in Korea through the ‘Joint Committee for Migrant Workers in Korea’ and were released at various internet music CD shopping malls. The official debut concert of Eureka, in commemoration of the completion of the music CD, was also held at ‘Baram,’ Ssamzie Space on December 17, 2002. Through the ‘Migrant Workers’ Music Project’ including producing a music CD for migrant workers and a debut concert of the band, Eureka, I assisted migrant workers in Korea to sing ‘their’ songs in ‘their’ voices.
The music video, “What is Life,” shows two images of members of Eureka, in the same scenes; their performances on stages and working images at workplaces. The images were recorded in a documentary style to the title song of ‘What is Life.’
-Park Kyong Ju
This music CD is a result of “Migrant Workers’ Music Project-What Is Life” by Artist Park Kyong Ju. We, local people, might have proceeded various projects for migrant workers in Korea from the idea that they are those to be protected and often without consideration for their cultural desires. The question has motivated me to launch the migrant workers’ music project. I wanted to present an alternative rather than criticizing as an outsider. The content of the project follows.
Migrant workers wrote lyrics and professional composers made music for them. The migrant workers’ music band played and sang the songs. The songs are produced on a music CD and a music video is also produced for the title song. The project presentation for the music CD and the music video will be the official debut concert for the migrant workers’ band.
During the preliminary period for the project between August and December 2001, I publicized the project at various related organizations and collected lyrics for songs. Since December 2001, after a full-scale search for a migrant workers’ music band, I decided to work with Eureka, a music group composed of migrant workers from Myanmar. On January 2002, the title song of “What Is Life”, written by Uche from Nigeria and composed by Jongkwan Kim, was recorded. Since February 2002, I began producing music video with the title song. Composer Wolfgang in der Wische (German, currently living in Bombay, India) composed music for two songs written by Julia (Thailand) and Sosa (China). In addition to these songs, those composed by Somotu and Sanning were included on the CD.
Even though I originally planned to have Eureka play and sing all the songs, it turned out to be a tough plan for Eureka to digest all the songs enough to play and sing them since they could practice only on Sundays when there is no work for them. Therefore, for three songs “What Is Life”, “Handicapped” and “Hope”, another group played the music and Eureka did the vocal. Eureka both played and sang “To My Mother” and “The Road to Dream”. Jongkwan Kim decided that “Someday” would be better sung by a woman and asked Nalina Chitrakar, a woman singer from Nepal visiting Korea for a program by the Nepalese community in Korea, to sing the song. The two songs “There’s a Man” and “To My Heart”, composed and originally recorded by Wolfgang in der Wische (written by Sosa and Julia respectively) were added on the CD.
The purpose of the CD is to make music in whose process migrant workers participate. Therefore, this music project has different motivations from that of commercial mainstream music where popular composers make songs and professional singers and bands join. The project’s ultimate goals are also different from those of commercial songs. I’d like to call this project an ‘essay’. The essays are translated as miscellaneous writings in literature but its original meaning is ‘attempt’. Korea, even with its short history of migrant workers, has over 300,000 migrant workers on its land. Yet it lacks any cultural movement to embrace their voices. I hope that this project to be considered as its first attempt to include the still peripheral cultures of migrant workers into mainstream. Leaving the future assignment concerning musical completeness to Eureka, I‘d like to briefly introduce the group.
Eureka is an independent rock band composed of migrant workers from Myanmar. Their areas of activities are Bucheon where the Myanmar community is located in Gimpo, Bupyeong, Pocheon, and Ansan. Even though it has been several years since its first organization, the band did not have the opportunity to compose their own songs due to its unstable positions in Korea as migrant workers: some of the members have returned to their countries or to other countries. The production of the CD gave them a chance to make their own songs. The current leader of the band is San Naing (Base) with members of Soe Moe Thu (Gitar), Thant Zin (Drum), Kyaw Thura (Key Board), Soe Tun (Vocal), Htay Lynn Naing (Vocal) and Aung Myo Aye (Vocal). Tu Ya, the president of the Myanmar Community in Korea, has provided consistent support from organizing the group to its activities as the groups’s manager. The reason why I chose Eureka for my project was that the group has full members as a music band and also has musical capacity for an official debut. I am looking forward to meeting the songs from this CD album at Eureka’s performance in the future.
December 10th, 2002
Park Kyong Ju (Producer)
1. What is Life 3’29”
2. To my mother 5’33”
3. Hidrance 3’41”
4. Hope 3’23”
5. Road to dream 4’12”
6. To my heart 3’24”
7. There’s a man 4’20”
8. Someday 3’23”
Produced by Park Kyong Ju
Mastered by Hoon Cheon(SONIC KOREA)
Designed by Seungjae Joh
Translation by Minsung Chun
1. What is life
Lyrics written by Uche(1), Jongkwan Kim(2), Dumbul Suba(3)
Composed and arranged by Jongkwan kim
Directed by Jongkwan Kim
Recorded by Myongwon Go, Myongrok OH(Doorai Recording Studio)
Mixed by Myongwon Go
Vocals on 1: Aung Myo Aye (Sharnyo), Soe Tun, Soe Moe Thu,
Htay lynn Naing(Kyaw),
Vocals on 2: Nalina Chitrakar
Vocals on 3: Aung Myo Aye (Sharnyo), Soe Moe Thu, Soe Tun, Kyow Thura
Bass: Jongkwan Kim
Guitar: Myongwon Go
Effects: Myonwon Go
Copyright of all images Ⓒ Park Kyong Ju
이주노동자 뮤직프로젝트, 음반 프로젝트, 박경주, 2001-2002
이전까지의 나의 작업이 주로 작가로서 그들을 만나고 인터뷰하는 작업이었다면 ‘이주노동자 뮤직프로젝트- What is life’는 이주노동자와 함께 작업하는 데 그 목적을 두고 있다. 이번 프로젝트에서 ‘음악’이란 장르를 선택한 이유는 미술에 비해 더 일반 대중에게 쉽게 다가갈 수 있다는 것과 음반이 제작되어 배급될 경우에 더욱 파장 효과가 클 수 있다고 생각했기 때문이다. 외국인 노동자는 우리 사회의 언더문화를 이루고 있다. 그 이유는 그들 중 대부분이 불법 체류자의 신분을 지니고 있다는 이유도 있지만 한국 사회가 아직 까지는 문화적으로 다원화되지 못해 그들의 문화를 주류 문화로 끌어들이지 못해 그들을 언더 중의 언더 문화로 머물게 만들고 있다고 본다. 이 프로젝트는 이주노동자들의 ‘문화적 욕구’를 충족시켜주고 아울러 그들이 가지고 있는 문화적 역량을 한국인에게 알리는 것이 그 목적이다. 이를 통해 일반인들이 그들에 대해 가지고 있는 문화적 편견을 교정해 줄 수 있다고 본다.
이 프로젝트는 이주노동자가 직접 가사를 쓰고 여기에 전문 작곡가가 곡을 부쳐 만든 곡을 이주노동자뮤직밴드 ‘유레카’가 연주했다. ‘유레카’는 프로젝트 진행과정에서 발굴한 이주노동자 인디 밴드다. 이들은 일이 없는 공휴일에 모여 음악활동을 하고 지난 몇 년간 공동체를 중심으로 음악활동을 해오고 있었는데 프로젝트 발굴 당시까지 자신들의 곡이 없었다. 이 프로젝트를 계기로 이들에게 자신의 노래를 만들고 이를 음반으로 제작할 수 있는 기회를 제공하여 밴드의 음악적 수준을 한 단계 진보할 수 있도록 했다. 음반은 2002년 12월 제작 완성되어 이후 ‘외국인노동자대책협의회’에 기증되어 국내 외국인노동자 관련 단체를 통해 배포되었고 몇 개의 인터넷 음반 쇼핑몰에서도 판매되고 있다. 2002년 12월 17일 쌈지스페이스 공연장 ‘바람’에서 음반발매 기면공연으로 이주노동자밴드 ‘유레카’의 공식 데뷔 콘서트도 있었다. 이 프로젝트는 단순히 이주노동자를 위한 노래를 만드는 것에 한정되지 않고 더 나아가 외국인노동자로 결성된 밴드를 데뷔시킴으로서 이들이 정식 음악인으로서 첫 걸음을 내딛도록 후원했다. 이를 통해 이주노동자가 그들의 목소리로 자신들의 노래를 부를 수 있도록 지원하고자 했다.
뮤직비디오 “What is life”는 음반 타이틀 곡인 ‘What is life?’ 에 밴드 ‘유레카’를 직접 출연시켜 만들었는데 밴드 멤버들의 공연모습과 일상의 모습을 다큐멘터리적으로 기록한 두 개의 영상을 동시에 보여준다.
– 개인전 ‘이주노동자 뮤직 프로젝트 인생이란’ 전시서문, 작가노트
전시제목: 박경주 개인전, 이주노동자 프로젝트 ‘인생이란’
전시기간: 2002년 12월
장소: 쌈지스페이스 소리 & 바람
후원: 씸지스페이스, 한국문화예술위원회, 서울외국인노동자센터