Sometimes urban renewal projects work. Sinchon is an area in South Korea known for its universities, its nightlife, its bars, and its restaurants and street food. Following the opening of the first transit mall in Seoul on Sinchon-ro in January 2014, the large four-lane through road was reduced to two lanes and the sidewalks and pedestrian areas were greatly enlarged. Nowadays the street is reserved for buses, pedestrians, cyclists, and, as we’ll see in the upcoming video, buskers.
Sichon is a favoured place for rising South Korean musicians to show what they’re made of. Violinist Tagbonee and acoustic guitarist Jihoon Kim, known as Hooon, are no exceptions. Both are regulars on Daily Busking, a YouTube channel that films and edits “new K-POP live performance and street live clips with various artists every week”. Not that Tagbonee and Hooon are typical K-pop performers. Both are very gifted musicians with broad tastes in music. Here they play My Heart Will Go On.
As most Music Man readers will know, Heart Will Go On is a song from the Titanic OST (1997). The song was composed by James Horner, the lyrics were written by Will Jennings, and the song was sung by Celine Dion. The English comments on the Daily Motion upload are sparse but illuminating. Sanniecsan8996 writes, “I was so amazed after watching this. It was SO beautiful. Not gonna lie, I teared up when he played that triple high note. I don’t know how to explain it nor what it is.”
LovelyHades666 states, “I’ve heard this song too many times and it got kind of boring, but when I heard you play it, it blew me away. It was pure emotion and beauty. You are incredible. You gave me a new appreciation for a song I didn’t think I would love again.” The Lachryma says, “I love the adlib. The personal touch of this violinist is superb. I am a new fan. I like the taste of your playing. It’s romantic and has a new flavour.” Here’s another “street” video of the two friends:
That is Tagbonee and Hooon’s virtuoso rendition of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida played at a Tteokbokki (a simmered-rice-cake Korean street food) cart for a lucky young lady. C.kainoabugado7935, writes “Awesome. I started smiling and couldn’t stop. Next, tears were falling because it was so beautiful to see the musicians enjoying their playing. They played this lively music so well.”
Besides a wide range of popular music (from Stevie Wonder’s Isn’t She Lovely to Charlie Puth’s We don’t Talk Anymore), Tagbonee plays modern classical music from movie soundtracks as Vivaldi and Brahms. Hooon has a similar range, but also has a taste for finger-picked country guitar. This latter interest led Hooon to travel to Austin, Texas, in 2019, where he performed, before he headed to the annual meeting of the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society in Nashville Tennessee. Music Man readers might know the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society as the setting for the video of Richard Smith’s viral performance of Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer (https://www.themusicman.uk/richard-smith/).
At the Chet Atkins Society, Hooon had the honour of being introduced by acoustic guitar legend Tommy Emmanuel. Here’s a slightly nervous Hooon (who wouldn’t be!) playing at his first, intimate appearance at the Chet Atkins memorial event, with Tommy Emmanuel looking on:
Hooon performed on several occasions at the Nashville event. He played both covers and his own compositions, and joined in on the last-night massed acoustic guitar jam which apparently went through the night. Hooon’s Facebook page image includes a photo of Hooon with Emmanuel.
This is Hooon’s first official single, Friends, uploaded on YouTube in June 2022. You can hear Hooon’s love of country guitar shining through.