So you’ve heard about this craze sweeping the world known as “K-Pop” and you’ve made it this far into it’s murky depths to a site that focuses on Korean independent music. Good job! Now we’re here to help you find the hidden gems in Korea’s cascading landslide of music. But for every journey, there should be a beginning, no? Here is where we here at Rock ‘N Seoul suggest you start. With our guide to 30 Korean Artists You Should Know (Even if you don’t like K-Pop.) These musicians have changed the landscape of popular Korean music.
Shin Jung-Hyun (B. January 4, 1938)
Genre: Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Guitar
Associated Acts: Pearl Sisters, Add 4
Years Active: 1954 – Present
Shin Jung-Hyun is easily the most important and influential musician to the modern day Korean rock scene. He started playing rock music back in the early 1950’s when many people were against rock in sounds often found in bands like Led Zeppelin and the last few releases from the Beatles. Shin often sites the Beatles as an influence for his music. He spent a few years in prison after refusing to write for the then-president Park Chung-Hee, cementing his status as a rock rebel. I’m sure he has a lot of difficult memories of these times, but he left an impression on young rock stars in Korea, and they still look up to him to this day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the bands I talk to and interview say that Shin Jung-Hyun is their musical idol. You need to know this guy and his music if you want to know where Korean music came from.
If you’re a fan of 1970’s psychedelic rock like Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, and the Grateful Dead you should enjoy some of Shin Jung-Hyun’s work.
In 2011 a compilation of Shin’s ; Beautiful Rivers & Mountains, was released by American label Light in the Attic Records
It is available here, on iTunes.