Korean accordionist Shim Sung-rak, 80, lost his only accordion in a fire at his home in Seoul last month. Despite the unexpected loss of his longtime companion, Shim wanted to continue playing at a concert scheduled later that month.
Hearing the news, Choi Sung-chul, director of Paper Records which organized the April concert, gave the accordionist a temporary loaner. After the concert, Choi came up with the idea to open a crowdfunding project to dedicate the accordion to the musician.
“We finished the concert successfully, but I wanted to do something for the musician who spent his life playing the accordion,” Choi said. “I thought it would be best if we could gift him the instrument so he can continue his life as a musician.”
Shim purchased the instrument for around 3.3 million won (approx £1,950) back in the 1980s, but now an accordion of the same model costs about 25 million won (approx £14,900). Over 17 million won was raised as of 31st March, which is more than half of the goal ahead of its June 30 deadline.
“This is going to be the first-ever dedication of the instrument to a living musician in the history of Korean popular music,” Choi said. “Shim almost cried at the news of this crowdfunding campaign.”
About 90 percent of the proceeds go toward the accordion’s purchase with the rest for renting a concert venue and rewards for donors. Donor names will be embroidered on the accordion strap and they will receive rewards, such as limited edition vinyl albums and concert tickets.
Shim is a legendary musician in Korea, having released over 7,000 instrumental numbers on 1,000 albums, according to the Federation of Korean Music Performers. He is also known for performing organ accompaniments at presidential events during the Park Chung-hee, Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo administrations.
He performed with many noted popular musicians including Cho Yong-pil, Shin Seung-hun and Kim Gun-mo. In the 2000s, he earned fame participating in soundtracks for Korean films such as “One Fine Spring Day” (2001) and “The President’s Barber” (2004).
His 2009 album “Listen to the Songs of the Wind” won the Special Award at the Korean Music Awards.
To donate, visit tumblbug.com/shimsungrak