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박정현 - 미아(迷兒) // Lena Park - Lost Child

If I had to pick one Korean musician who I respect, it would definitely have to be Park Jung Hyun, or Lena Park. She has become more than just a musician and an incredible ballad/r&b singer, but someone who I admire as the person she is and with the life stories she has.

I discovered her also through I Am A Singer (apparently this show is where all the best musicians were at), and for such a small body and delicate voice she has, she blew my mind, if to use a cliche, with her powerful vocal. She sings as if she’s playing with the rhythm and leading the instruments with her voice, with her operatic fortissimo and dramatic projections.

“벗어나려 접어든 길에
기억이 없어서 좋지만
조금도 못 가 눈앞에 닿는
너의 손이 이끌었던 그때 그자리”

“The path I close in order to escape
I’m glad there are no memories
But it’s not far until my eyes lay upon
The place your hands used lead me”

One of the fourteen songs in her fifth album, On And On (2005), 미아/Lost Child is a story - despairing, yet hopeful story - of someone - who? you, me, her? - lost - where? on a path somewhere, somewhere known or unknown - yet seeing glimpses of hope and walking on.

I find it impossible to decipher the metaphors embedded in this song, even in the title, but the lyrics remain to be given meaning by the listeners, with her stories and experiences. All I can say put out there is how important the words are for me, and has been since I first read them; the metaphors of a “lost child” and “a stroll in the maze/labyrinth,” and the likes, have a resonance I cannot unscramble myself. “Lost” seems insufficient to describe 迷, which also means confusion, bewilderment, and wandering.

“길을 잃어버린 나 가도가도 끝없는
날 부르는 목소리 날 향해 뛰던 너의 모습이 살아오는 듯
돌아가야 하는 나 쉬운 길은 없어서
돌고 돌아가는 길 그 추억 다 피해 이제 도착한 듯해”

“I’ve lost my way, I go on and on, but it’s endless
The voice which calls me, the image of you running after me still remains alive
I have to go back, there is no easy path
Going around and around to avoid the memories, I think I have finally arrived”

I wasn’t surprised to learn that the lyrics were written by Yoon Jong Shin. Whenever I hear the song - more than just reading the lyrics, but with Park Jung Hyun’s vocal and the piano - something triggers inside me, nothing alarming, but a melancholic sanguine affect takes over - especially at the moment when the octave increases with the words, “with my eyes closed, where is the path” (3:18).

The four-minutes of the song is a journey of itself. That first sound (which I have no clue what instrument, if an instrument, it is) immediately swishes you in - like a wind, a breeze - as the piano keys and a wind instrument (clarinet?) comes in, followed by the violin and a cymbal-like sound which leads you in further. And you are brought along a journey of a “lost child” - a lost you.

나는 가수다를 통해 처음 알게된 박정현. 퍼포먼스를 보면서 그녀의 탁월한 독특한 가창력과 감정에 빠져들었다. 한국에서 이런 가수가 또 어디있을까. 작은 체구에서 뿜어져 나오는 파워와 에너지, 호소력있는 창법과 매력이 정말로 대단한 가수라고 생각할수 밖에없다. 

5집에 수록된 ‘미아’를 틀면 나는 벌써 한 동화같은 애석하지만 긍정적힌 힘과 희망이 담긴 곡. 처음 들리는 바람소리에 휩싸이면서 피아노 건반 배경에 클라리넷과 바이올린이 들어오며 한 사람의 - 그녀? 혹은 너? 나? - 미아가 되버린 - 삶에서 미아? - 이야기가 시작된다. 이 곡을 들을때마다 느껴지는 감정은 정확히 무엇인지 모르겠지만 가슴 안에 소중히 담고있는 곡 중 하나다.