Don’t Make a Sour Face

By Chang-un Choi

Don't make a sour face. You know things are difficult for everyone.
And you know you have comrades working with you for a more joyful day.
When you feel alone, just look around you.
All of these people are our comrades.

The road we are traveling is not going to be easy.
And there will be times that we are brought down by repression.
But if we are with our comrades we need not be afraid,
Until the day of workers' liberation, advance, ad! vance! Let's advance!

Directly after the 'Great Workers' Struggle of 1987' social movements in South Korea developed rapidly, both quantitatively and qualitatively. The diverse movement forces, however, could not agree among themselves about political strategy, a problem that was exacerbated by the collapse of socialist governments in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. A downturn in the movement came with the turn of the decade. At this time, a self-reflective atmosphere spread among progressive forces. Instead of the solemn and majestic marching songs of the 1980s, lighter and more speculative songs became popular.

'Don't Make a Sour Face', which was released in 1991, began this trend. Its light and quick tempo was a bit shocking to listeners, who were accustomed to the heavy mood and slow tempos of the songs of the 1980s. The lyrics, which propose "the rediscovery of the existence of the comrades around you," are quite trivial compared with the "grand" songs of the past decade. But in an era in which everything was obscure, 'comrades' were the only concrete thing that was left.

The song became unexpectedly popular after a celebrity did a remake of it in 2003 with a few changes to the lyrics. Now the song can be heard not only in movement spaces, but also in everyday life. .Sound Only)
The movement band 'Ggottazi' . singing 'Don't make a sour face'.

A performance of "Don't make a sour face" at a community festival.

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