A Journey Back to the Ancestral Homeland: Kite Operations’ Korea Tour Diary

by plateaux

Following is the intro of the article I posted at koreanpop.org. Click here for the full text.

(from left to right) Jie, Joe, Sung, Dave

Kite Operations: (from left to right) Jie, Joe, Sung, Dave

Kite Operations is an independent rock band based in the New York City. All four members are of Korean-American origin, sprung up from the Korean immigrant community in New York. Joseph (Joe) Kim (g, v) and David (Dave) Yang (g, v) were born in the states, while Jie Whoon Kang (b) and Sung Shin (d) belong to the ‘1.5 generation’ who came from Korea at an early age. Kite Operations is about five years old, but the actual history is longer than that as Joe and Dave formed a band named Theselah along with two other – now departed – members way back in 1994.

Theselah recorded three albums between 1999 and 2002, all under their own label, K.O.A. records. After recruiting Jie and Sung, they released two EPs under the new band name, Kite Operations, in 2003. They embarked on their full-fledged flying mission with the first Kite Operations LP ‘Dandelion Day’ (2005), followed by ‘Heart Attacks, Back to Back’ (2007). Over the past few years, Kite Operations has frequently played live gigs around the New York area, toured the Midwest and the West Coast areas, and participated in Asian American rock festivals. For more information, as well as the music samples, visit their website.

Their ‘ethnic connection’ to Korea owes a great deal to Sung, the youngest member of the band who had been immersed in Korean indie music before coming to the states. His reaching out toward the Korean indie music community started bearing fruit as the Kite Operations LPs were licensed in Korea. Finally, the band earned an invitation to play at the 2007 Korean Festival in Seoul along with other overseas ethnic Korean musicians, including the Chinese rock legend Cui Jian. Kite Operations took full advantage of the opportunity, booking a mini-tour of three Korean clubs before the festival gigs.

When I heard the news that they were going to Korea, I asked them to write a tour diary for online publication. In response, they sent me Joe’s diary accompanied with a bunch of photographs and audio-visual files. Many thanks to Kite Operations for putting them together and sharing with us, and I hope readers to enjoy their unique experiences as much as I did.

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