by Hazel Hall
Immaculate in pink and navy blue with rosewood fan Madame Song sings Jindo Arirang. Her voice is soju from the Seven-Eleven, tuned but gravel-harsh. She belts it out, not missing one sweet beat of the changdan rhythm cycle, snapped by stick on chango drum quick as the flick of a whip. She's in the Jindo province singing down the years. Singing down the occupation, singing down the pain. Ari-Arirang Ari-Arirang
Music takes me to places that I can’t visit now. During Covid I’ve been listening to many of my favourite songs from around the world. Arirang is a Korean folk song that became an anthem after the Japanese occupation of Korea (1910-1945). Each province has its own version. It’s a song of hope and resilience.
Maliankay, Roald, 2007. Broken Voices: Postcolonial Entanglements and the Preservation of Korea’s Central Folksong Traditions. UH Press.
Hazel Hall is a Canberra poet and musicologist. Her haiku, tanka and free verse has been published in a wide range of Australian and overseas journals and anthologies. Recent collections include Step By Step: Tai Chi Meditations (Picaro Poets 2018), Moonlight over the Siding (Interactive Press 2019) and Severed Web (Picaro Poets 2020). Hazel’s sonnet collection A Hint of Rosemary is forthcoming.