Are you a fan of K-dramas? Do you feel that music is a key part of getting hooked on them? I hope you answered yes to these questions because in my case it’s a resounding yes. I think the soundtrack is a key point to like series even more, and who would have imagined that I would find a musical gem watching dramas such as Romance is a bonus book or the wonderful Ex Girlfriend Club; these two have in common that JANNABI (잔나비) is part of their soundtrack. Therefore, in this blog I am going to tell you a little bit about this band that went from being a quintet to a duo.
JANNABI (잔나비) appeared on the music scene a little over a decade ago, being formed in 2012 and debuting two years later with the independent label Peponi Music which is run by the vocalist’s older brother. Four members were friends since elementary school and lived in the same neighborhood (Bundang). In addition, they were all born in 1992, which, according to the Chinese horoscope, it is the year of the Monkey, which is the reason why they named their band JANNABI (which is an old-fashioned way of saying monkey). The band members were drummer Yoon Kyul, pianist Yoon Young Hyung, bassist Jang Kyung Joon, guitarist Kim Do Hyung, and singer Choi Jung Hoon¹. Unfortunately, some members were involved in different scandals. For this reason, currently, the only active members are the guitarist and vocalist who have continued their career as a group until today.
JANNABI became popular in 2013 thanks to the Superstar K program, as various members were on the reality show. Their musical style is mainly inspired by the trends from the 1960s² and 1970s and many of their songs have been specially created for dramas. Regarding their style, in an interview for Kpop Herald, vocalist Choi said “It’s really funny that we’ve always been in love with everything from the 1960s and ’70s, the times we haven’t even lived in. We can just feel the time‘s vibes, fashion, music, and lifestyle. It had a huge impact on our music, as well as on our daily lives.”³ This, undoubtedly, can be seen in the videos of their songs and has led them to be called vintage because of their particularities.
The year 2019 was a great year for them, however, some controversies appeared regarding pianist Yoon Young Hyung who was accused of bullying in High School, some time later he accepted the guilt and left the band voluntarily. While there were some rumors and accusations against vocalist Choi Jung Hoon because of his father’s company; but those were only rumors and even legal measures were taken against those who spread false information. In the same year, drummer Yoon Kyul enlisted in the army and later left the group due to rumors about him. In the case of bassist Jang Kyung Jun, he left the group in 2020 after announcing his marriage plans. Because of these events, JANNABI has only two members.
As for their record production, it is noteworthy to mention that they have three studio albums, the first one being Monkey Hotel from 2016 with ten songs, among them HONG KONG and SUMMER, the latter one of my favorites, with more than 4 million streams on Spotify. In 2019, their second album Legends was released with great success. With it, they got top spots on MelOn with For Lovers Who Hesitate, which was included in music charts such as Billboard K-pop Hot 100 and Circle Digital Chart beating BTS’s Boy with luv. This song boasts beautiful lyrics and over 27 million streams on Spotify. Its beat is catchy and its lyrics are a gem that should not be missed. Their latest album was released in 2021, named The Land of Fantasy which features thirteen songs, including I Know Where the Rainbow has Fallen and Oh Brave Morning Sun.
Apart from the albums, JANNABI has extended versions and several singles such as Jannabi’s Small Pieces I from 2020, which features five songs, including Sweet Memories. The following year, they released a three and a half minute single called Midnight Music, and in May 2022, Jannabi’s Small Pieces was released with hits like GRIPPING THE GREEN. Their songs are full of deep lyrics and chords that grab you, so listening to them is an excellent opportunity to get to know another kind of Korean music.
JANNABI has filled my days with good songs and great lyrics thanks to the artistic pieces that Kim Do Hyung and Choi Jung Hoon keep creating. I will talk more about them in the future! I hope you will be encouraged to listen to them and fall in love with their songs as I did. Tell me if you knew about them and what your favorite song is.
Written by: Andrea Ramírez
Reviewed by: Luisa Quintero
¹Scoundrelsinlove. (2018, November 2). I’m here to make my Jannabi awareness post 🐒. Site Title. https://scoundrelsinlove.wordpress.com/2018/11/02/im-here-to-make-my-jannabi-awareness-post/
²Jannabi. (s. f.). Wiki Drama. https://drama.fandom.com/es/wiki/Jannabi
³Hong, D. (2017, September 18). [Next Wave] Five monkeys of Jannabi relive heyday of old pop. The Korea Herald. https://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20170918000753
Dong, S. H. (2019, May 26). Cost of being famous? Scandals rock Jannabi members. Koreatimes. https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/art/2023/06/732_269505.html
Jannabi (band). (2023). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jannabi_(band)&oldid=1157062488
JANNABI ENG. (s. f.).https://jannabitrans.blogspot.com/
Jannabi Members Profile (Updated!). (2021, January 12). Kpop Profiles. https://kprofiles.com/jannabi-members-profile/