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Poet and Singer, Kang Baek-sooKang Min-goo, a Graduate of the Department of Korean Language and Literature
By Jo Sae-hae  |  newyear90@hanyang.ac.kr
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[318호] 승인 2013.06.03  
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  Gongmudohaga is known as a Korean classical song which Baeksoogwangbu’s wife sang, mourning her dead husband who had drowned. Baeksoogwangbu in turn was known to be a crazy man who had always been drunk. Kang Min-goo, a graduate of the Department of Korean Language and Literature at Hanyang University and now a solo singer, took the stage name Baek-soo from the old song. “My old professor back in school called me Baeksoogwangbu after watching me drink and run around during a field trip in 2006. The name impressed me so I began to use it for my stage name. I wanted to be ‘crazy’ about music as much as Baeksoogwangbu was ‘crazy’.”
  In fact, Kang has truly been “crazy” about music. He started playing in the school band in high school, and later formed a singing duo with his classmate Josh from the same department in 2010. Under the name of Becks & Josh, the duo released two albums in 2011 and 2012. Kang confessed, “I played music for fun at first but after a while, I found myself being completely into it. From day to day, I have just done what I have wanted to do, and most of the time, it has been playing music.”
  Kang is a singer but at the same time, he is also a poet.  He won the Rookie of the Year award from Poetry & World in 2008. “Usually musicians compose a song first and then write the lyrics. But I am different. I write first and then spice up my writing by adding a melody. I guess it is safe to say that what I want to do is writing,” he said. Kang actually prefers the title “The poet who is a singer” to “The singer who is a poet.”
  His literary sprit is evident in the lyrics he writes. One of the tracks in Becks & Josh’s second album Two Bankrupts, I Missed You is beautiful, yet sad: I missed you, I have been waiting to meet you at least like this. Soon, stars will be raining, river water will be rising and I will wake up. I want to meet you tomorrow night here again and talk with you…. Kang commented on this song saying, “It is about a person meeting in a dream his/her beloved one whom he/she cannot meet anymore for some reason. The person is glad to be able to see this loved one in such a way but it is hard to erase the pang of sorrow of not being able to meet in real life.”
  On the other hand, Kang’s many other songs are full of satire and humor. The song Barrier in his second album is a perfect example. The narrator in the song feels a huge barrier has developed between him and his ex-girlfriend who passed the bar exam, and so the narrator asks how a singer can win when competing against judges and prosecutors.
  The lyrics are humorous at first but after a while, listeners begin to feel a sense of sorrow and sympathy for the narrator. Kang confessed that the song was actually based on his own personal experience. “People might find it amusing the first time they hear the song due to the humorous lyrics, but soon they realize that the narrator in the song is expressing his strong feeling of inferiority due to his ex-girlfriend. That is why audiences feel sympathy for the man through his sad emotions in his words,” Kang said.
  Both poets and singers are professions that people in Korea do not choose easily because few people have true talent in such areas and also because not many want to pursue dreams that do not guarantee financial stability and a high salary. Kang however, decided that he wanted to have these so-called challenging jobs. He reasoned, “Living is not a big deal, but living a good life is actually hard. A person can live on anything, but rarely does anyone die doing what he/she wanted to do.” He added, “If a perfect and stable future could never be guaranteed, would it not be better to live a life doing what a person really wants to do?”
  Kang is currently preparing a new solo album. He mentioned his new album will include songs about his current thoughts as well as his recollections of the past.   

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