7 years of the Sewol Ferry Tragedy: Here are 7 songs that commemorate Korea’s biggest maritime disaster

Take a look at the musicians who expressed their views and emotions regarding the tragedy here.
Yellow ribbons to pay a tribute to the Sewol Ferry Disaster 7 years of the Sewol Ferry Tragedy: Here are 7 songs that commemorate Korea’s biggest maritime disaster
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The deadliest disaster to occur in South Korea was the Sewol Ferry Disaster. Today, April 16, marks seven years of the painful tragedy. On April 16 2014, Sewol ferry, travelling from Incheon to Jeju Island, capsized, claiming 304 lives. Out of these staggering numbers, five bodies were never found and 250 were second year high school students who were going to Jeju Island for a school picnic. 


The pain the victims and their families went through is indescribable. As the disaster also became a political debate of holding accountability, some musicians expressed their opinion and thoughts about this incident with their music. For many, music has been one way to talk about societal pressures which, on the other hand, also hopes to offer people some calm in the storm that arises every year on April 16. 


As today marks the seventh anniversary of the Sewol Tragedy, we’re sharing eight songs by artists that commemorate and cherish the innocent lives and the brave heroes that were lost that day. Take a look below. 


'There Must Be' by Joo Hyo and HA:TFELT

Even though the artists themselves haven’t stated anything, it is believed that the song indirectly commemorates the Sewol Ferry victims. A verse in the song goes like - ‘Here’s hoping a small moment creates a big miracle’, which is similar to the Yellow Ribbon Campaign’s line - ‘A small move makes a big miracle’. The Yellow Ribbon Campaign started as a symbol of remembrance and hope of the trapped victims coming back. However, once it was clear that many victims weren’t, it changed from that to a symbol of defiance and protest culture. It’s  a very touching song that talks about the pain of losing a loved one, and the hopelessness, constantly telling themselves that ‘there must be something they can do’.



'Yellow Ocean' by Cheetah and Jang Sung Hwan

Famous rapper Cheetah performed a heartfelt song about the Sewol Ferry victims with a high school student, Jang Sung Hwan on a competition show. It was an emotional performance that led many to tears. One of her verses starts with the question, ‘Is no one out there?’ signalling the hopelessness that both the victims and their loved ones would have felt and mourned for the lost lives. 



'Spring Day' by BTS

Probably the most known song out there, Spring Day by BTS has kept the memories of the Sewol victims alive. Talking about a never-ending longing and the pain of losing someone, the song has lyrics where they wonder if there will ever come a day when they meet again. And if it does, then how many more nights do they have to stay? A heartbreaking, emotional song, Spring Day let many international audiences pay attention to the tragedy and of course, pay their condolences too. 



'Always Remember' by the late singer, TANY

TANY, aka Kim Ji Soo, was a rookie singer who rose to fame with ‘Always Remember’, his tribute to the Sewol Ferry Disaster. He took the chance of talking about such a heavy and sensitive topic in his first album itself, but he said that this was a story he wanted many people to hear. The singer sings, ‘Adding more years to the years, The person who can never be forgotten, Adding more pain to the pain, I'll keep waiting for you’, Sadly, the singer passed away in 2018 in a car crash. But this precious gem of his, will always be remembered. 



'River' by Kim Yoon Ah

A part of her fourth album, ‘The Pain Of Others’, Kim Yoon Ah talked about the longing and the heartbreak of missing someone who has gone too far, to ever come back. It talks about all the yearning while walking beside a river, hoping to see them again some day, somewhere. Even when she performed at a music show, she started by saying that years ago, there was nothing she could do when people were losing their family members, she couldn’t do anything for them. The only thing she can do is write songs and that’s what she did. 



'Red Light' by f(x)

A song critiquing the government and the officials, f(x)’s Red Light is another popular song that people might remember. While the fans stay divided on whether it really is a critique or just interpreted it that way, SM’s producing director Lee Sung Soo stated that it is indeed ‘a song that criticizes the Sewol ferry incident’. It has lyrics such as - Stop the collision from happening (you’re going to be a witness to change), In front of that caterpillar that got pushed around (when everything sinks). And, It’s taken too long for this miracle to come. 



'Still There, Still Here' by Lucid Fall 

The pain of losing a loved one is the same pain of knowing you survived when your friends or loved ones couldn’t. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is very real. To keep the survivors' spirits high, singer Lucid Fall released ‘Still There, Still Here’, as a song to help the survivors, majorly the high school students, to keep going on. He also uses a yellow butterfly as a metaphor for the victims, which tells their friends to keep on living. 



The day we lost 304 innocent lives will never be forgotten. We stand with the bereaved families and offer prayers to them, hoping to help lessen the pain. May their souls rest in peace. 

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