Arirang: Korea´s Song

We like music because it helps us to have several mods. Arirang helps me to feel a mix between glum and hope. This is the narrative of the song who join the whole peninsula.

Countries have songs who represent them, differents to the National Anthem. These songs become as a stamp, and the Korea´s one is Arirang.

Korea´s people feel as own this song. The history says that when The Gyeongbokgung Palace was reconstructed in XIX century, workers had to carry lumber in rafts across the Han river since Gangwon to Seoul. They sang Arirang and when were heard by others, they made his own version of Arirang. There are thousands of lyrics and hundreds of versions. His author is unknown, at least, this is the version commented by Kim Young-Un, Hanyang´s University professor.

Some versions are as a complaint, others more grand and lofty, more ceremonial. Essentially a simple song, it consists of the phrase ‘Arirang, arirang, arariyo’ and two simple lines, which differ from region to region. It is known more than 150 music versions and more than 8000 lyrics.

Arirang, Arirang, Arariyo…
Crossing over Arirang Pass.
The one who abandoned me
Shall not walk even 4 kilometers before their feet hurt.

Music can lead us to experience different moods. My Arirang´s has been like sadness, loneliness, melancholy. It is not tragic, it is beautiful, calm, lonely and hopeful. This is a good way to get started in Arirang:

For older generations, Arirang represents what the Koreans know as Han, a collective feeling of loneliness and oppression. Especially those who lived the pain of war, poverty and the harsh situations of the past. For the new, it represents a form of patriotism, a new way of understanding and supporting his country, as in the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup.

Arirang has had epic moments, showing the power that has as a cultural phenomenon. One was at the opening of the Asian Games in 1990 when North and South Korea marched together, raising a unifying flag under their notes. Reviewing more background, I found that both countries also marched together at the inaugurations of Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.

Another special moment was when the New York Philharmonic performed the song in Pyongyang, North Korea. The audience applauded in an atmosphere of wonderment and respect.

“Colombia Tierra Querida” perfectly represents Colombia and the Colombians, What is the song that best represents your country?