Han Dae-soo

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Han Dae Soo
Born (1948-03-12) March 12, 1948 (age 69),
Busan, South Korea
Genres Rock, K-pop, folk
Occupation(s) Musician, Songwriter, Singer
Instruments Vocals, Guitar
Years active 1974–present
Labels Shinsaekae Record
Han Dae-soo
Hangul 한대수
Hanja 韓大洙
Revised Romanization Han Dae-su
McCune–Reischauer Han Taesu

Han Dae-soo (born March 12, 1948, Busan) is a South Korean folk and rock singer-songwriter. He led the Korean modern folk era of the 1960s and 1970s, and released some experimental albums in the 1990s and 2000s.


Han Dae-soo was born in Busan (formerly known as Pusan) and attended elementary school there until he was ten years old. In 1958, his family moved to New York City and he spent the next four years at P.S. 125 Elementary School in Harlem. He returned to Pusan for three years of junior high school and the first year of high school before returning to the US, where he eventually graduated from A.G. Berner high school in Long Island. In 1966 he was admitted to the University of New Hampshire to study veterinary medicine, but transferred after a year to the New York Institute of Photography. In the meantime, he continued to develop his musical talent and, in 1968, began performing in South Korea's burgeoning folk scene. He was particularly active in 1969, performing a number of concerts on the college circuit, before being conscripted to join Korea's armed forces. He spent the next three years as a gunner on board a Korean warship. He returned to music in 1974, releasing his first album. During the intervening years, a number of artists, including Yang Hee-eun and Kim Min-ki, covered his songs on their own releases.

Drawing on influences from John Lennon, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan, his first two albums, Long-long road (1974) and Rubber Shoes (Gomusin, 1975) were not overtly anti-government, but sufficiently so to draw attention from the Park Chung Hee government. The two albums were subsequently banned, forcing Han Dae-soo into exile in New York City. These two albums became masterpieces in K-pop history. "Give me some water" ("물 좀 주소") and "The nation of Happiness" ("행복의 나라") became youth anthems.

In New York, he formed a post-punk rock band called Genghis Khan. Although they never released an album, some of their recordings are included in the thirteenth CD of The Box(2005). With gigs CBGB and Trude Heller, they got a little popularity but soon disbanded. Hahn continued his career as a photographer until 1989.

In 1989 the producer from his first album contacted him and they began work on "Infinity" (1989). It was critically well-received, but didn't produce a hit on the Korean charts. In 1990 he joined with jazz guitarist Jack Lee and released his fourth album Loss of Memory. Its A side was a sound collage of free music. He returned to his political folk roots on side B. With pianist Lee Woo-chang, younger brother of Jack Lee, Han released his 5th album Angels' Talkin'in 1991.

During the more liberal political climate of the 1990s he re-emerged as a veteran of Korean folk music. His early recordings were re-issued on CD and he performed live. His 1997 performance in Fukuoka, Japan was released as his 6th CD. His 7th album Age of Reason, Age of Treason was recorded in New York in 1999. In 2000 he formed a band with Lee Woo-chang & Kim Do-gyun,a leading guitarist in the Korean metal scene, and released the albums Eternal Sorrow (2000), Source of Trouble (2002) and The Hurt (2004).

His musical style stresses simple but powerful lyrics, with themes ranging from love for his wife to trouble with government, and reflects a global outlook gained from growing up in two countries. He is often referred to as "the Korean John Lennon".


  • Most of his classic albums reissued during the 1990s but now out of stock. Until his 6th album '1975 Rubber Shoes∼1997 Fukuoka', you can find only in The Box(2005).
As Year Album Title
Hahn Dae-soo 1974 멀고 먼-길(Long Long Road)
Hahn Dae-soo 1975 고무신(Rubber Shoes)
Hahn Dae-soo 1989 무한대(Infinity)
Hahn Dae-soo with Jack Lee Band 1990 기억상실(Loss of Memory)
Hahn Dae-soo with Lee Woo-chang 1991 천사들의 담화(Angel's Talkin')
Hahn Dae-soo 1999 이성의 시대, 반역의 시대(Age of Reason, Age of Treason)
Hahn Dae-soo 1999 1975 고무신∼1997 후쿠오카(1975 Rubber Shoes∼1997 Fukuoka)
Hahn Dae-soo 2000 영원한 고독(Eternal Sorrow)
Hahn Dae-soo 2002 고민(Source of Trouble)
Hahn Dae-soo 2004 상처(The Hurt)
Hahn Dae-soo 2005 2001 라이브(2001 Live)
Hahn Dae-soo 2005 더 박스(The Box, 13CDs + 1DVD)
Hahn Dae-soo 2006 욕망 (The Urge, 1CD + 1DVD)
Hahn Dae-soo 2006 한대수 도올 광주라이브(Hahn Dae Soo & Doul/Kwang-ju Live, 2CDs)
Hahn Dae-soo 2007 Best of Hahn Dae Soo(2CDs)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Hahn Dae-soo - official site and biography, English and Korean