Shiro : Alleyway Fantasy (2014-2015)

Shiro means ‘poetic road’ or ‘through poetry’, seeking to “make music out of poetry” to find a harmony between music and literature. Shiro not only writes songs in style of Jung-ga and Min-yo (Korean Traditional Singing Music), it also showcases improvisational and experimental instrumental music to see the possibility of music and literature coming together. From 2014, Shiro was formed into an acoustic 4-piece band with Seungmin Cha (Daegum, Composition), Taehun Lee (Guitar, Composition), Yeonkyeong Oh(Gayageum, Yanggeum), and Heeyoung Kim (Jung-ga, Min-yo). Their discography includes the 1st album “What flower wants to say”(2011),  the 2nd album “Alleyway Fantasy”(2015) and the 3rd album “Alleyway Fantasy-Around the street corner”(2016).


Alleyway Reality, Alleyway Fantasy

 Alleyway with many different stories; people who live on it, and fantasy over alleyway like a rainbow…Can’t say for sure when, but started seeing alleyways and wanted to walk through them. So Shiro decided to write a song about alleyways over a year. The first song which was made in 2014 with a poem ‘What does the winter say as it passes by’ came along in cold winter. In spring, the band jammed joyously welcoming the warmth with a poem ‘The Path’. For tragic Sewol ferry sink incident, the band mourned and wrote a song not to forget the incident with a poem ‘Mountain Village’. Ordinary daily lives on alleyway also became a song. Walking through alleyway, reading poems, living life and the time that passes through it went across musical genres and manifested themselves into music which carries Shiro’s story. Then when preparing for another winter, when realizing the time spent to withstand all the hardships is in fact the most beautiful time, Shiro wrote a song inspired by a poem ‘a good moment’, 好時期.
Shiro’s journey continued in 2015. On October 31st and November 1st, they premirerd ‘Alleyway Fantasy 2 – Around A Street Corner.’
Shiro introduced 2015’s showcase as a musical journal of what they found when they walked around a street corner. The showcase was constited of music based on 10 poems; ‘New Spring’ by Jiha Kim, in which they captured alleyways aroung Danginri power plant during late cherry blossom season, ‘Where The Pond Was’ by Seok-nam Jang on Oksu-dong redevelopment zone, ‘Just Kept Going Around’ by Won Yi in collaboration with a rock band walking in Hongdae alleyways, ‘Where The Chair Is’ by Yiyeop Jang on redevelopment area in Myeonmokdong, and more. Like 2014’s showcase, they again premiered their pieces together with new videos of alleyways.

Synesthetic Alleyway Journey

 While making music, Shiro also made visual recording of alleyways. In winter of2014, “Alleyway Fantasy” was premiered at Veloso in Hongdae Area with generous support from Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture. In this concert, the audience, while listening to Shiro’s playing,could also see the alleyways as if they are walking through it with the band. “Alleyway Fantasy” was reviewed favorably for its experimental and synesthetic attempt to combine poem-music-travelling-image and also enjoyed its nomination for eDaily’s Culture Grand Prize. The musical film, combining Shiro’s music and visual work released in 2016.

골목환상 Alleyway Fantasy
글: 차승민 written by Seungmin Cha  | 번역: 이태훈 translated by Taehun Lee

골목길을 걷고 싶었다. 걷다 보면 무언가를 만날 수 있을 것 같았다. 그것이 길고양이든, 사 람이든, 음악이든, 나 자신이든, 환상이든… 사실 누구든, 무엇이든 상관없었다. 그저 만나고 싶었다. 그래서 골목길을 걸었다. ‘골목환상’은 겨울이 가면서부터 또 다른 겨울이 오는 골목길을 걸었던 시간을 음악으로 기 록한 여행기다.
I just wanted to walk on an alleyway. I felt that I would run into something on the walk. Whether it be a stray cat, a person, a melody, myself, or some fantasy… It didn’t matter whom or what I run into. I just wanted to run into something. So I walked on an alleyway. ‘Alleyway Fantasy’ is my musical travel journal that I wrote while walking on an alleyway from one winter’s departure to the next winter’s arrival.
눈을 잠시 감았다 뜨니 와글와글 시끄러웠다. 바람이 내 어깨를 툭 치며 말했다. ‘봄인데 뭐해. 얼른 나와. 싹 틔워야지. 꽃 피워야지. 꽃 지워야지.’ 수선스런 봄이 골목길을 휘돌고 있었다. 발정 난 고양이가 햇살과 영역싸움을 하고 있었고 꽃눈이 우르르 길거리에 쏟아졌다. 나는 느리게 허둥대며 기지개를 켰다.
In a blink, it was bustling all around. Tapping on my shoulder, wind said, ‘What are you doing? It’s spring, come out already. Let’s see some sprout, blossom, and let’s see them fall too.’ Spring was busy embracing the alleyway. A rutting cat was fighting over a piece of land with the sun and flower petals rained heavily on the streets. I stretched slowly and clumsily.
한참을 걷다 ‘꽃을 피우려면 어떻게 해야 하나요?’ 물으니 골목길을 지나가던 아무나 비웃었 다. ‘바보, 네가 뭔데 꽃을 피워?’ 내가 대답했다. ‘나? 노래가 되지 못한 말, 너와 나 사이에 있는 돌멩이. 혹은 바람’ 골목길이 심드렁하게 말했다. ‘땅에 발을 디디면 안 돼. 부스러뜨리고 날려버려. 너는 그 무엇도 아닌 뒷모습이야.’
Been walking for a while, I asked, “What should one do to have a flower blossom?” Only to hear everyone saying, “Fool, who do you think you are?” I answered. “Me? I’m a word that didn’t become a song. I’m a stone or a wind between us.” Unimpressed, the alleyway said, “Don’t bury your feet on the ground. Break off and fly. You are nothing but an appearance from behind.”
어느 아침이었다. 골목의 분위기가 심상치 않았다. 수많은 뒷모습들이 세월의 물속에 잠겨버 려져 있었다. 꽃들이 제 가슴을 찢으며 울었다. 골목길은 눈물에 젖어 녹이 슬어버렸다. 비 둘기들은 녹물을 마시며 왜 뒷모습은 꽃을 피울 수 없는가 토론하고 괴로워했다. 골목길의 시간이 거꾸로 흘러갔다. 느리고 느리게. 멀쩡히 숨 쉬는 게 미안할 지경이었다. 모두에게 바튼 숨의 날들이 이어졌다. 아니, 긴 한숨이었던가?
One morning, the alleyway looked different. So many appearances from behind were drown in the pool of time. Flowers wailed beating their chest. Soaked in tears, the alleyway got rusty. In vain, pigeons, while drinking rusted water, discussed why an appearance from behind could not have a blossom. Time on the alleyway was tickng backwards. Slowly, slowly. I was sorry even just for breathing. Everybody had days of hard breathing. Rather, could it have been a sigh?
깊은 시간이 흘렀다. 나는 꽃을 피우지 못했다. 피운 꽃이 없었으니 지울 꽃도 없었다. ‘어쩌면 다행인지도 몰라.’ 가로등이 다정하게 말을 건넸다. 길모퉁이 허공에 수많은 뒷모습들을 파묻던 어두운 골목길은 나를 보더니 돌아누웠다. 그 뒷모습을 보고 노래가 되지 못한 말 하나가 나에게 나지막이 말했다. ‘잊지 마. 그리고 계속 걸어.’
A deep time has passed. I didn’t have a blossom. No blossom, no falling flower. “Maybe it’s for the better,” a street lamp said kindly. Dark alleyway that buried many appearances from behind in empty sky around a street corner turned its back on me when it saw me. Looking at that appearance from behind, a word that didn’t become a song softly said to me, “Never forget and just keep walking.”
골목길 너머로 무지개가 떴다 사라졌다. 사라진 자리에 들꽃이 잠시 머물다 사라졌다. 골목길 위로 철새가 한꺼번에 날다 사라졌다. 낡은 골목길이 집들과 사람들과 함께 사라졌 다. 사라지는 것들의 뒷모습을 오래오래 바라보았다. 모두들 어디로 가는 걸까? 다시 골목길을 걸었다. 차가운 바람이 내 어깨를 감싸며 말했다. ‘뭐해. 겨울이 오고 있어. 웅크려. 꿈 꿔야지. 뒷모습의 꽃을 피우는 꿈.’ 내 뒷모습이 노을 낀 담장 아래로 천천히 사라졌다. 골목길이 한 줌 흙을 덮어주었다.
There was a rainbow that went away over the alleyway. In its absence, wild flower was there for a bit and went away. Over the alleyway, migratory birds were once flying altogether and went away. Old alleyways went away with houses and people. I was watching them going away from behind for a very long time. Where are they going? I walked on an alleyway again. Cold wind, covering my shoulder, said, “What are you doing? Winter is coming. Curl up. You should dream. Dream of having a blossom from an appearance from behind.” My appearance from behind slowly faded away under a fence bathing in sunset. The alleyway put a handful of earth over it.

기획: 차승민 |  planning: Seungmin Cha
영상 감독: 허민 |  Cinematography Director: Min Heo
각본: 차승민 |  Scenario: Seungmin Cha
시: 장석남, 장이엽, 김지하, 이원, 류시화, 임이창 | Poems by Seoknam Jang, Yiyeob Jang, Jiha Kim, Won Yi, Shihwa Ryu & Yichang Im
* 곡: 시로 |  Music by Shiro
 차승민 대금, 작곡 | Seungmin Cha Daegeum, Composition
 이태훈 기타, 작곡 | Taehun Lee Guitar, Composition
 오연경 가야금 | Yeonkyeong Oh Gayageum
 김희영 정가, 민요 | Heeyoung Kim Vocal
* 객원 | Guest artist
 박민희 정가 | Minhee Park Guest Vocal
 헬리비젼 | Hellivision
* 녹음, 믹싱 & 마스터링: 민상용  | Recording, Mixing & Mastering: Sangyong Min
 번역: 이태훈 | translation: Taehun Lee
후원: 서울특별시, 서울문화재단, 한국문화예술위원회, 라온북
Sponsored by Seoul City, Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture, Arts Council of Korea & Raon book