In-gong-wi-seong (인공위성) is an all-male a cappella group from the 1990s. Members from a choir at Seoul National University got together and formed an a cappella group after seeing the performance by King’s Singers, an a cappella group from UK in 1991. While a cappella had been a rather unfamiliar territory in Korea, the guys became interested and started having weekly practices. With increasing interest for foreign musicians like Boyz II Men, interest for a cappella also grew in the country. 인공위성 began to appear on TV and produced their first album in 1993 which sold as many as 400,000 copies. The group’s name is spelled and read the same as the Korean word for satellite. In Chinese scripts, however, the last syllable “seong” uses a different character to denote “sound”. Put together, the name translates to “great sound made by human”. Although the original members have grown out of their college years and new members have come and gone, 인공위성 is still around and has five albums to their credit.
There was a time when I would procrastinate by watching videos of college a cappella groups. By some random luck, I came across videos of Korean a cappella and vocal groups like Voiture and Green Tea. The musical director guy from Voiture mentioned 인공위성 in one of the videos, and I was elated to have found out about an original Korean a cappella group that was as good as or better than any other a cappella groups. Sweet Sorrow, now widely loved, also has its beginning in a cappella. Its members were part of the Wackers from Yonsei University.
Unfortunately, I could not find links to much of 인공위성’s music, but here some that might give you an idea of who they were and why they were so fresh.
Can this be called love? (Debut album’s title track. This will take you to a Tistory blog page where you will be able to play a stream)
Momo (인공위성’s version. Link to a Naver blog page where you will be able to play a stream)
Mother and Mackerel (인공위성’s version of Sanullim’s classic. Link to an Egloos blog page)