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Civic groups launch unification song

One-K Global Campaign Organizing Committee members wave their hands during the Global Peace Concert at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Thursday. / Courtesy of One-K Global Campaign Organizing Committee

By Kim Hyo-jin

MANILA ― An alliance of nongovernmental organizations unveiled a campaign song that promotes the unification of the two Koreas, Thursday.

The One-K Global Campaign Organizing Committee held a concert featuring K-pop stars in Manila as part of its global campaign.

Several Korean artists _ SHINee, GOT7, CNBLUE, AOA, B1A4, BAP, BTOB and Psy _ filled the 15,000-seat Mall of Asia Arena with their sultry, harmonic voices, as they sang about their hope for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The audience, mostly Filipinos, responded to the song and its universal values.

SHINee's Minho and AOA's Seolhyun, who served as emcees, shouted "One Korea, One world, we are one!" during the intermissions, winning loud cheers from the full house.

This must be the scene the One-K campaign committee had hoped to see.

The Action for Korea United (AKU), an NGO alliance consisting of over 800 domestic civic groups, launched the committee in 2015 with the aim of creating a cultural platform that seeks reunification support from citizens around the world. The release of a global campaign song by early 2017 was its flagship pledge.

The committee's movement has gained momentum following a success of this first campaign song, which was produced by Korean composer Kim Hyung-seok and sung by over 30 K-pop artists.

The song, titled "One Dream, One Korea," has had millions of views from about 220 countries, the committee said.
World-famous music producers Jimmy Jam, left, and Terry Lewis speak during the Global Peace Convention at the Marriot Hotel in Manila, Tuesday. / Courtesy of Global Peace Foundation

The committee is currently working on a second song, which involves artists and producers from around the world. The song, tentatively called "Korean Dream," started as collaboration between Grammy-winning music producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

Popular K-pop artists and American R&B singer Peabo Bryson plan to participate in the recording. The song, unveiled during the concert, will soon be released to the public.

Jam said unification is a theme that can resonate with people in general, noting it was the aspect he and Lewis concentrated on in composing.

"In every country, really around the world, at some point, there is separation in some way," he told The Korea Times.

"The idea of reunifying could be about family members who lost their way or could be unifying friends who got into an argument with each other. It could be at a very basic level. It's really about just coming together and reuniting. That theme, to me, is a very universal one."

Manila was the first stop of the world tour planned by the committee, in line with its effort to find common ground with other people and countries.

"We understand that the Philippines is very close to Korea," AKU co-chair Seo In-teck said, pointing to the Southeast Asian country's experience with colonialism and its participation in the Korean War.

"Considering the rising tensions between the U.S. and China surrounding the South China Sea, the country can also be a hotspot, amid the possibility of a worsening situation."

The campaign committee plans to hold unification-themed concerts annually. With the first concert ending successfully, it is now focusing on the next possible venue.

The organizers believe the Korean Wave, or hallyu, can be a tool to raise awareness of the two Koreas' situation and to convey the purpose of the committee's civic movement.

"We believe the Korean wave can actually be more than just about pop music and drama; it can also be a model of peace-building. If it brings our troubled world together, it would be a very good example about that," said James Flynn, international president of the Global Peace Foundation, a sponsor of the AKU.

Kim Hyo-jin

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