Arirang folk music

When you think about the music from the Republic of Korea, all you can think of is KPop. Where the people have hair that is two feet long, and blue, wear skin tight leather pants and both the men and women wear eye liner.

So I was about 90% sure I knew what I was getting into when I saw that my Intangible Cultural Heritage was the lyrical folk son of Korea. Oh, but how wrong I was.

When I first hear Arirang, I was surprised, then I felt bliss, followed by me playing the track on loop for an hour and followed by an amazing three hour sleep.

When my research for Arirang began, I realised how profound and deep the lyrics of the song are. Arirang is also the unofficial national anthem of Korea. The beauty of this song is that the people sing it while travelling, especially crossing mountains. In fact, Arirang is the name of one of the passes they cross. There are apparently a number of passes called “Arirang Pass” in Korea. One of them is located in central-northeastern Seoul. This particular pass, however, was originally called Jeongneung Pass and was only renamed as Arirang in 1926 to commemorate the release of the film “Arirang”.

Arirang Pass is an imaginary rendezvous of lovers in the land of dreams, The heroine of the story from which the Arirang Song originated was a fair maid of Miryang. In fact, she was a modest woman killed by an unrequited lover. But as time went on, the tragic story changed to that of an unrequited lady-love who complained of her unfeeling lover.

One of the verses of the song is,

Just as there are many stars in the clear sky,
There are also many dreams in our heart.

There are three main versions which are

  1. Bonjo Arirang
  2. Miryang Arirang
  3. Gangwon Arirang

Link to the Arirang: