Revisiting the Hongdae vibe (and an unexpected encounter with Lee Soo)

It’s been a while since I last checked out the busking scene in Hongdae, so I decided to make a trip there yesterday.

As usual, it was bustling with different groups of buskers singing, dancing, rapping or performing magic tricks. Compared to the last time I was there, there was something I wish I would see more of.

Then, there were a lot more buskers who played their own instruments. This time around, with the exception of two or three groups or individuals, most of the buskers were singing along to minus one tracks – or perhaps it was just so that day. I could have been biased because of that, but not many of the buskers piqued my interest.

There was one group though, that caught my attention and made me stay throughout their performance despite singing with minus one tracks mostly. The group of young guys sang really well, especially the anchor guy (below) who sang almost flawlessly.

Buskers in Hongdae, and possibly up-and-coming singers to watch out for. (Seoul, South Korea, 6 May 2017)
Buskers in Hongdae, and possibly up-and-coming singers to watch out for. (Seoul, South Korea, 6 May 2017)

Nearing the end of the group’s performance, someone famous dropped in on the group. This someone must have heard about the anchor guy and decided to come by and watch him sing.

This someone was standing just inches in front of me and there was this air about him that told me he was more than a mere passerby. In fact, with his mask on, I thought he looked like and was wondering if he was Simon Dominic of Supreme Team.

Halfway through the song, he was invited to join the anchor guy in singing. The young man was pleasantly surprised and there were cheers from the crowd when he took the mic.

As I found out later, he was Lee Soo from M.C The Max. Lee Soo is acknowledged as one the four best male vocalists in South Korea, who are collectively known as “김나박이” (“Kim Na Park Lee”) – which stands for Kim Bum Soo (김범수), Naul (나얼), Park Hyo Shin (박효신), and Lee Soo (이수).

Here’s a clip of the duet between Lee Soo and the anchor guy:

(Update, 19 May 2017: The initial video clip has been removed, but I came across a version with the whole song.)

Here’s the original song, “어디에도” (No Matter Where) by M.C The Max:

After the song ended with Lee Soo making a quick exit, the anchor guy was in a state of disbelief whom he just did a duet with. I thought it was a really nice and encouraging gesture from Lee Soo.

If I had not misheard, these guys are preparing to make their debut. If that were indeed the case, they – especially the anchor guy – would be up-and-coming singers to watch out for.


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