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The Tortoises

Posted August. 23, 2006 03:23,   


The Tortoises’ story–

“Only a little while ago, many people cracked jokes like ‘if you are a tortoise, am I a hare?’ or ‘Where are the sea turtles?’” Each time, I committed myself to take one step at a time, though slowly like tortoises. I think now we live up the team’s name,” said Turtle Man, a member of the group, “The Tortoises.”

“I still don’t feel we are popular. We had a tight schedule before, about nine stages to perform on, but now only two to three because Turtle Man is not in good health. I am amazed that the audience sings along our song, “Plane” though.” (Geumbi)

Between the herd of vibratory soft ballad singers and sexy female dance performers, “Plane” sounds like a wholesome children’s song. One might find it strange that the song has no lines about love so common in any song. Their song is so simple and neat that people get taken aback.

“If classical music and operas are royal food, our music is a snack for everyone. We are in no way excellent singers, songwriters or vocal artists, but our songs are enjoyable for everyone. They are ordinary people’s music about our ordinary lives, such as moving out, blind dates, or trips,” Turtle Man said.

It’s already been ten years since the group’s front man, or Turtle Man (Lim Seong-hun, 36) and female rapper and vocalist ZE (Lee Jee-hee, 26) first met. The following year they released their first album, “Four Seasons,” and main vocalist Geumbi (Sohn Yeon-ok, 24) joined the two and came out with other two albums. Songs like “Why” and “Bingo” hit the music charts. At a glance, they are anything but a special dance group, but with a closer look, you will see that they produce, write, and make songs on their own.

“There are so many dance performers out there, but we don’t want to be like them. We received songs from the outside before, but those songs are the same whether they are sung by tortoises or hares. However funny the song is, we think we should make our music ourselves.” Turtle Man said.

“Our team’s dance music is so Korean. There’s something in the trochee rhythm that runs deep through Korean music. No vibration, but just basic sound,” ZE said.

At the moment I felt so sorry for Turtle Man who wiped sweat throughout the interview. He collapsed last April with cardiac infarction and managed to avoid critical condition after two surgeries.

It was the song “Plane” that he wrote during the time between life and death. The melody came to his mind, which he recorded on his cell phone.

“My doctor said I have to take several medicines from Aspirins to blood circulators for the rest of my life. I have to even declare to customs all my drugs when I go overseas. But I am happy that “Plane” came out as such a hit. Thanks to the two sisters. I have never imagined my life would fly again like a plane” said Turtle Man.

“We always say that we will release albums even if we grow old and life is tough. Turtle Man promised to buy us a wardrobe and fridge for a wedding gift. I will sing to the end for the sake of the wedding present,” said ZE.

They smile, calling themselves “harmony in disharmony.” They are tortoises with goose bumps. Now we can listen not to the tortoise in the fable, but the ones making a history.