Archive for June, 2014

[KOR/ENG] Lee Haeri – Can You Hear Me

Recently I was listening to compilations of Davichi’s songs on Youtube, and I came across “Can You Hear Me” from the original soundtrack for Korean musical Tears of Heaven that premiered in early 2011. I had heard of it then, or maybe a few times in the past – in addition to casting Lee Haeri, the musical featured Kim Junsu of JYJ as its protagonist. For some reason, after having casually heard this track a few times over the years, this time around, the track stuck – just the epic grandeur of the melody and the dramatic effect produced by the instrumental joined with the musical actors’ vocals and dynamics was mesmerizing. As the producers called the musical one of Broadway caliber, I think this track really demonstrates the high quality and grand scale of this production (the musical was composed by Frank Wildhorn). (You can learn more about the musical here.)

I think I like the actual musical version above Lee Haeri’s recorded version, because the addition of the male voice (turning the track into a duet) really makes the track more lovely, especially as the female and male seemingly exchange dialogue through their interjections, and the harmonies reinforce the unity and shared mindset expressed in the lyrics. Also, the choir heightens the drama of it. But nonetheless, Lee Haeri makes her studio version an enjoyable, albeit different, listen in its own right.

The above video is from a mini-concert for the musical, featuring Jung Sangyoon and Lee Haeri as the leads. Below is an English version performance by Brad Little and Lee Haeri, and below that is the audio of Lee Haeri’s solo studio version.

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Sometimes it’s difficult to find motivation to translate songs or blog because I’m tired or not in the mood, or the songs that I’ve been listening to are too difficult to translate without much deliberation and head-scratching. But this song, I’ve listened to quite a number of times over the past two and a half years that have elapsed since it was first released. And even without totally understanding the lyrics prior to articulating this translation, I have realized through songs like these that one can sometimes relate to things (s)he doesn’t necessarily fully understand – just hearing bits and pieces, “Live in the moment / ’cause this time’s not your last” and “One more step, even if [you] go slowly / It’s not [a matter of being] so late,” I had come to understand the general meaning of the lyrics. Perhaps I actually came to translate this song after dragging my feet trying to find a song to translate because these specific lyrics resonated with me – that even if I’m not exactly in the mood for translation or don’t have momentum from previous translations as a driving force, I can pick up with one more step, even if it’s a simpler translation like this.

It’s unfortunate that Justin Kim has seemingly disappeared from the Korean music scene since around two years ago, but I don’t believe that diminishes the quality of this cover and the effectiveness of the message the song conveys. (Also, unfortunately, I cannot find the longer studio version of this cover on Youtube, so I only posted a live performance below.)

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