Contemporary Christian Music may not seem all that foreign to Kpop. Numerous stars’ CCM endeavors have been captured in online videos. Singer Kim Bum-soo is one such person. Comedian Shin Bo-ra is another. Acclaimed guitarist Ham Choon-ho who has been appearing on You Hee-yeol’s Sketchbook regularly and renowned singer Jang Pil-soon have a collaborative album (2009) that was explicitly publicized as CCM. Religious music or CCM is also a genre often covered by different music streaming services. At one of these music sites I encountered Park Su-yeung’s Landscape (풍경). While she is not a Kpop artist, her album contains songs that all kinds of listeners and non-Christians would find palatable.
Landscape, released in May 2011, is a beautiful record of 11 refreshing tracks. Piano is the main instrument used. Two of the tracks accompany lyrics. “Intro” opens up the album with a brief, peaceful piano tune. “Willow tree” (버드나무) – a warm and nostalgic tune composed by Park while she was preparing for a concert with other Christian musicians – follows. In the title track “Because of the great love” (가장 사랑하기 때문에) written by a YWAM pastor, Park provides solace to those who may be going through a difficult time with the message that He who is love not only has a plan for everything but also provides a way out when we are in trouble. Park, being reminded of her own relationship with God while watching a documentary about a father on his way to find his daughter who had left home a long time ago, wrote “Heartaching” (가슴시린). “Yanji” captures the peace that God granted while Park was visiting and praying in Yanbian: “Although cold and barren this land may seem to you now, I hope for the day on which it will be fully restored.” “Forest” came while she was meditating on the Scripture and considers her childlike imaginations about what heaven would be like. “Meditation” (묵상) and “….” are two piano pieces with contained emotions and contemplation. “In the Lord’s kingdom” (주님의 나라에서) was written by Park’s friend when he was a student in high school. He has since become a pastor and a musician. The song is full of hopeful energy. “Sheep’s gate” (양의 문) inspired by “Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us” praises the Lord who is like a door to us, protecting and leading us. “Going to the sanctuary” (예배당 가는 길) is another merry tune referring to Park’s memory of childhood, hanging out with friends in the back hill, blowing reed pipes and catching tadpoles, and then sprinting to church when its bell tolled. This song and “Forest” remind me of the soundtrack to the movie The Harmonium in My Memory.
Park Su-yeung is an accomplished pianist and a talented musician. According to a profile provided by Godpeople, Park studied the piano at Keimyung University and Christian Musicology at Baekseok University. She performed for YWAM’s Tuesday Meetings in 1996 and for Ha Duk-kyu at his 25th anniversary concert (Ha Duk-kyu and Ham Choon-ho, aka “Poet and Village Chief”). Park has also worked as a music director for musical Pinocchio’s Great Adventure. She currently teaches at Baekseok Arts University and plays the piano at a local church. If you are in need of downright, clean music, take a listen to Park Su-yeung.