The first London Korean Festival, 2003

I recently discovered the WayBack Machine – the internet archive – which has enabled a certain amount of research into some of the Korean cultural activities in London prior to the establishment of LKL. In particular, I managed to find some archived pages from the website of the Korean Anglican Community Centre, the organisation that pulled together the cultural festivals before the Embassy set up its own cultural division that would eventually become the KCCUK.

The archive indicates that 2003 was the first festival organised by the KACC, aiming to capitalise on the interest in Korea generated by the 2002 World Cup. There were, however, Korean cultural activities in central London prior to then. I myself remember attending a Korean Film Festival in late Spring 2001 that screened films such as E J-yong’s An Affair (1998), Yim Soon-rye’s Three Friends (1996) and Bae Chang-ho’s My Heart (1999).

The 2003 festival comprised four film screenings, a gig by Deli Spice, a classical music concert given by Korean music students and an exhibition (though details of the latter are incomplete).

Here are the details from the KACC website, as captured in the web archive.

London Korean Festival 2003

Welcome to the London Korean Festival 2003

Last year was a fantastic period for Korea with the success of the football World Cup. It was a wonderful opportunity to show the world Korea’s renowned spirit. Now, the Korean community in London want to showcase the cultural spirit and creativity of Korea…

Special Event | Exhibition: A trip to Korea…

The three themes of the exhibition are Nature of Korea… All exhibitions are shown through virtual images…

London Korean Film Festival

University College London | Gustave Turk Lecture Theatre
London School of Economics and Political Science | Hong Kong Theatre

Hi, Dharma! (달마야 놀자)

Dir. PARK Chul-Kwan (2001, 94 min)
23 April 2003 18:30
UCL, Gustave Turk LT

Hi Dharma!

After losing a bloody battle with a rival gang, Jae-gyu and his men become fugitives on the run and hide in a secluded mountain temple. They plan to lay low until their rival gang and the cops stop searching for them. At the temple, they find a group of disciplined monks who live a peaceful and orderly life. Jae-gyu and his gang see this as a great opportunity and ask the monks to let them stay. Refusing at first, later the monks permit them to stay, but only for one week. The week passes, but Jae-gyu and his men don’t budge. So a new war between the gangsters and the monks begins. The rules are simple. “If you win 3 games out of 5, the group who wins has the final say.” From a 3,000-bow Buddhist ritual to a diving match and a game of Korean poker, it’s a gruesome war of wit and perseverance. Finally, Jae-gyu’s gang manages to win the long and difficult struggle. The temple’s Head Monk accepts them and allows them to stay longer. But the new rule is tough. “If you want to stay, then you must obey the rule… the rule of Buddha!” Now the doctrine “No work, no food” is strictly applied to the gangsters, too…

The Way Home (집으로…)

Dir. LEE Jeong-Hyang (2002, 87 min)
24 April 2003 18:30
LSE, New Theatre

The Way Home

This is the story of a 7-year-old boy, Sang-woo, born and raised in the big city, and his mute grandmother, who has spent her whole life in a small rural village. Forced to stay with his grandmother, Sang-woo learns about the ups and downs of life. Being a city boy, used to the benefits and luxuries of the modern society, he realizes that there are no batteries for his toys, only rocks to play with. Like the city brat that he is, he begins to torment is grandmother – whining and demanding things she can’t provide. But she never reprimands him for his behavior. One day, he demands fried chicken. Using a primitive form of body sign language, he finally gets her to understand his craving. But what he gets in the end is the traditional boiled chicken. How will their living arrangement turn out for these two very different roommates…

Ardor (밀애)

Dir. BYUN Young-Joo (2002, 112 min)
25 April 2003 18:30
LSE, New Theatre

Ardor

In revenge for her husband’s infidelity, a young beautiful housewife, Mi-heun, starts an affair with an attractive young doctor, In-gyu. Despite her husband’s efforts to regain her love and the disapproval by the conservative little town, Mi-heun gradually finds happiness and satisfaction in the affair and decides to turn her back on her quiet life.

YMCA Baseball Team (YMCA 야구단)

Dir. KIM Hyeon-Seok (2002, 104 min)
26 April 2003 15:30
LSE, New Theatre

YMCA Baseball team

During the Japanese colonial period, Hochang lived the life of a scholar destined to follow the path of his father as a tutor at school. One day, while playing soccer he meets an American missionary who was playing an alien game that immediately got his attention: Baseball. Taught by the beautiful Jungrim, a Korean traveling women who was accompanying the missionary at the time, Hochang will soon develop a natural talent at being a very good hitter. Jungrim will then decide to form the first baseball team of Korea history, the YMCA.

Indie music concert

Deli Spice

Tutu’s Bar | Macadam Building | King’s College London | Surrey Street | Strand | London WC2R 2NS
22 April 2003, 7-10pm (Bar Opens from 5pm)

KIM Min-Kyu (aka Sweetpea) (Guitar,Vocal),
YUN Jun-Ho (Bass, Vocal),
CHOI Jae-Hyuk (Drum)

Special Guest: SEO Dong-woo (Singer song writer)
Featuring: JANG Hyo-seok

Delispice

Forming through an advertisement at an Internet portal site in 1995, Deli Spice has been regarded as the best Korean modern rock band by fans and critics ever since their debut album was released in 1997.

Originally, Deli Spice was formed by Yune June Hoe, Kim Min Kyu, Oh In Rok (drums) and Lee Seung Ki (keyboards) when the group started their career in 1995. After playing small club gigs for two years, the band started to win popularity and followers throughout the indie music scene. As a result, the band signed a contract with a local record company. It was also at that time Oh In Rok was replaced by Choi Jae Hyuk.

“Deli Spice”, the self-titled debut album released in 1997, was critically acclaimed upon its arrival. The band’s melodious guitar-pop sounds, distinct lyrical themes appealed to the youth who were tired of dance music and ballad that dominated the music market. And the single “Chow Chow” became an anthem of the young generation.

The album “Deli Spice” was recently selected as one of the 20 all-time best Korean albums by a survey among music critics and producers.

In 1998, the band’s sophomore album “Welcome to the Delihouse” was released with a new keyboard player Yang Yong Joon. In addition to continuing club gigs and concerts, the band was invited to play at clubs and concerts in Tokyo and Fukuoka, Japan.

In 2000, “Sad But True”, the group’s third album, was released containing the single “The Truth About Cats and Birds.”

While the band took a long rest preparing for the fourth album, Yang Yongjoon left the band and Deli Spice became a trio. In early 2001, they signed a contract with Fresh Entertainment and started recording, which led to the release of “D” in September.

The first single from the album “The Engine Is Always Turned On” stayed in top 10 for more than a month in radio airplay charts. The second single “Tu Pa Tu Pa Ti” was also one of the strongest modern rock tracks on the charts. Also, the band had several sold-out concerts in Seoul and a successful, nation-wide tour that was finished in April 2002.

Deli Spice: EspressoIn February 2003, the band released their fifth album, “Espresso”. As the title of album suggests, the recording of album was very speedy and took only two months.

The first single “Confession”, the first love ballad the band has ever recorded, is featured in a box-office-hit movie “Classic”. The song is about star-crossed lovers and has been staying in the top 10 chart (highest position #2) for more than a month.

The new album’s sound and tone, in general, are heavier than those of previous albums. But the band’s strong melody lines and their own distinct lyrics still remain the same.

The critically-acclaimed “A Black Cat of Kichijoji” is about the bassist Yune June Hoe’s encounter with an autistic black cat in a musical instrumental store in Tokyo, Japan. In “The Boy With Wings” the drummer Choi Jae Hyuk talks about Cupid, the God of love.

Besides star-crossed lovers, an autistic cat and a myth, the tracks in “Espresso” deal with many other interesting topics and themes, ranging from contempt of old, dirty politicians (Old Patriot Club) to the first dog sent to space (Laika Sent to Space).

The band will be on the road again performing the nation-wide “Espresso Tour” from April. On the back of rising popularity and wider fan base, tickets are one of hot items in the concert market despite the sluggish economy.

DISCOGRAPHY

Albums

Delispice (1997)
Welcome to the Delihouse (1998)
Sad But True (2000)
D (2001)
Espresso (2003)

Classical music concert

26 April 2003, 7-10pm
St Giles in the Field | 60 St Giles High Street | London WC2H 8LG

St Giles in the Fields

Talented young Korean Musicians including CHU Soong and the Royal Academy of Music Korean Society

KIM So-yeon Piano
– Ravel: Ondine & Scarbo from Gaspard de la Nuit

CHU Soong Violin
– Kreisler: Prelude and Allegro

JANG Myung-hwa Piano
– Chopin: Ballde No.4 op.52 f minor
– Liszt: Transendental Etude f min

CHANG Yi-na Piano
– Liszt: Valle d’Obermann
– Rimsky Korsakov: Flight of Bumble Bee

YANG Eugene Violin
– Debussy: Sonata for Violin and Piano

CHANG Yi-na & LEE Hee-jin Four hands piano
– Carl Maria von Weber
– Bach: Aria

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