One thing that crossed my mind when I first saw the title of this song: “Did the inspiration for this song come from the mandrakes that I read about in the Harry Potter books?”
I don’t know for sure but Mandrake has become one of my favourite Guckkasten songs.
The song somehow gives me a bittersweet feeling. Especially the lead guitar part that is played over the interlude – it sounds happy, yet painful at the same time.
On the song, Ha Hyunwoo explained that in many superstitions and myths associated with mandrakes, the common thread these stories share is imperfection. So he used ‘mandrake’ to represent his self, who strives for perfection but is still imperfect.
Mandrake is usually one of the songs played towards the end at Guckkasten’s concerts. During the song interlude, Ha Hyunwoo would introduce the members of Team Guckkasten – which, apart from the band members, encompasses the musicians and all others on tour with the band.
Here’s a clip wonderfully pieced together from different live performances of the song, though without the Team Guckkasten introductions:
The imaginative and sensitively emotional style of expression by Ha Hyunwoo, as usual, can be seen from the English translation of the lyrics.
My claws that coveted your heart lost their elasticity
Let go of everything and became lethargic
And what is left is but abraded breaths
My cold heart became a wasteland
My mouth that once held seeds has already lost its taste
And ripens again with deceit
My song, hidden within a fat fruit and dried
Disperses before it reaches your ears
Thus I sing with no sorrow
I whisk my hands into the void bruised blue
And the wilted breath falls on me
The unripe breath that bore a horrible scent still
Spouts a terrible scent and grows a bitter root