Naver Onstage has consistently brought out high quality live videos showcasing some of Korea’s best musical talents over the past three years. Every Thursday this special project introduces a new artist and the initiative was awarded the Special Committee’s Price at the 2014 Korean Music Awards. Counting a total of 179 episodes, the latest band to be featured is Danpyunsun and the Sailors.
Danpyunsun has been one of the most interesting names on the Korean indie scene for the past few years. Not only a talented musician, he is also known as a writer with peculiar wit and has been one of the driving forces behind the Jarip Music Association collective. So far all of his official releases have been made under the name Hoegidong Danpyunsun, but nowadays it seems Danpyunsun and the Sailors is what you should be looking for on the roster if you care to see him in action. Which you should.
I had the pleasure of seeing Danpyunsun and the Sailors live myself while visiting Korea in March this year. Genie came along to Cafe Ruloorala to meet up with another friend and see Yoon Young Bae (more on him another time), but of course stuck around to also see the second act. Even before his set started Danpyunsun had made his presence known by repeatedly shouting for encores, outdoing himself with more entertaining ways of doing it for each encore–3 in total. Though as I hadn’t quite expected his tall stature I failed to recognize that it was actually him until later.
It was all really, really, really good. Rarely have I seen anyone rock an acoustic guitar so well. Several times I found myself thinking that Danpyunsun and the Sailors is the kind of act that could easily find some success internationally, appealing to the same crowd that is into Dungen–although the brand of psychedelic folk is different they have in common that they sing in ‘foreign’ languages and, even though the lyrics are worthwhile to anyone who can understand them, the melodies and most of all the persuasiveness of the arrangements are key factors. I could very well imagine Danpyunsun and the Sailors bringing down the stage at a festival like Skankaloss any time.
In addition to a very intriguing performance from the band, and some very impressive vocals, Danpyunsun made it all even more entertaining as he secured a fair share of laughs from the audience. To me one of the most amusing moments was when he announced the evening’s second ballad after which he cautiously started singing Baek Ji Young‘s “잊지 말아요“. He had pulled a similar stunt before the first ballad, but this time he took the joke farther. Awaiting a response from the audience, he then continued longer, and longer, and got as far as to the refrain before starting on the real song.
Granted heading out to see Danpyunsun and his crew in person is quite a big undertaking unless you happen to live in Seoul. But while you may not be able to get the full experience, the videos above will at least give you some grasp of the strengths which Danpyunsun and the Sailors possess. Watch them all, then head over to Danpyunsun’s Tumblr to find out how to hear more.