Hahn Dae-soo

Hahn Dae-soo (born March 12 1948, Busan) is a South Korean folk / rock singer-songwriter. He led the Korean modern folk era of 1960s-1970s and released some experimental albums in the 1990s and 2000s.


You'd better to read his self biography and chronology in English first. He was a real New Yorker his English is better than his Korean. He was nowhere-man, he couldn't spend his school days with any sense of belonging. So he became nomad and could be a singer of odd sense. In 1968, he did a modern folk concert. At that time he was a one and only hippie in Korea. With the concert he opened the golden age of Korean modern folk.

But he had to take military service and was not a celebrity(still now), he became the pro photographer. He did the photographer in New York more than 20 years, he still does. So his first album released in 1974, 6 years after his first concert. During the 6 years, Yang Hee-eun, Kim Min-ki released their albums with Hahn's songs.

His first two albums, 'Long-long road'(1974) and 'Rubber Shoes'(1975) were not overtly anti-government but suffiently abstract for the paranoid government of the time to scapegoat them. The two albums banned soon, and he had to go to New York again. These two modern folk/folk rock albums are masterpieces in K-pop history. 'Give me some water(물 좀 주소)', 'The nation of Happiness(행복의 나라)' became the anthem of young ages. You can feel John Lennon, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan partly in his first album.

In New York, he made a post-punk rock band Genshis Kahn. They couldn't release the album, some of their recordings are the 13th CD of The Box(2005), powerful rock numbers. With a gig CBGB and Trude Heller they got a little popularity but soon disbanded. Hahn led his life as a photographer until 1989.

His first album manager called him and he could record his third album 'Infinity'(1989). Its recording and sessions were best in Korea at that time, but it couldn't any hit. He joined with jazz guitarist Jack Lee and released the 4th album 'Loss of Memory'(1990). Its side A was nearly sound collage and free music. Of course his cynical lyrics and witful songs were in side B. With a pianist Lee Woo-chang(younger brother of Jack Lee), Hahn released his 5th album "Angels' Talkin'"(1991). It was twin album of his 4th but this 5th album was the more free music.

During 1990s he became one of the legend of K-pop/folk, and his early recordings re-issued as CD and restarted concert sometimes. Among them the Fukuoka live in 1997 released as his 6th CD coupled with his 2nd album. It shows his powerful performance as it is. And he did his 7th recording 'Age of Reason, Age of Treason'(1999) in New York. And he made his band with Lee Woo-chang & Kim Do-gyun(one of the most important guitarist of Korean metal) released albums 'Eternal Sorrow'(2000), 'Source of Trouble'(2002) and 'The Hurt'(2004). His recent recordings are more powerful and with rich sound, but lacks internal power like his early days. Among his recent tracks, 'Ho Chi Minh'(호치민) is a real masterpiece. His wit is still alive.

He looks like John Lennon. Simple and powerful lyrics, the love about his wife, trouble with government, outsider image and so on. The music of Hahn Dae-soo contains both of Korean locality as Korean and world wide universality as New Yorker or nomad. So it's not fair to say him as Korean John Lennon.


  • Most of his classic albums reissued during 1990s but now out of stock. Until his 6th album '1975 Rubber Shoes∼1997 Fukuoka', you can find only in The Box(2005).

As Year Album Title
Hahn Dae-soo 1974 멀고 먼-길(Long Long Road)
Hahn Dae-soo 1975 고무신(Rubber Shoes)
Hahn Dae-soo 1989 무한대(Infinity)
Hahn Dae-soo with Jack Lee Band 1990 기억상실(Loss of Memory)
Hahn Dae-soo with Lee Woo-chang 1991 천사들의 담화(Angel's Talkin')
Hahn Dae-soo 1999 이성의 시대, 반역의 시대(Age of Reason, Age of Treason)
Hahn Dae-soo 1999 1975 고무신∼1997 후쿠오카(1975 Rubber Shoes∼1997 Fukuoka)
Hahn Dae-soo 2000 영원한 고독(Eternal Sorrow)
Hahn Dae-soo 2002 고민(Source of Trouble)
Hahn Dae-soo 2004 상처(The Hurt)
Hahn Dae-soo 2005 2001 라이브(2001 Live)
Hahn Dae-soo 2005 더 박스(The Box, 13CDs + 1DVD)
Hahn Dae-soo 2006 욕망 (The Urge, 1CD + 1DVD)
Hahn Dae-soo 2006 한대수 도올 광주라이브(Hahn Dae Soo & Doul/Kwang-ju Live, 2CDs)
Hahn Dae-soo 2007 Best of Hahn Dae Soo(2CDs)

See also

External links

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