The Dirge Singer (Broadcasting)

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  • South Korea South Korea


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The Dirge Singer

│ Description │

“Funeral songs and Narrative songs are one”

During the Joseon Dynasty, when death took place in the palace or homes of the nobility, there were servant women who mourned in place of the nobles. They were called dirge singers.

│ Objective │

During the Joseon Dynasty, when death took place in the palace or homes of the nobility, there were servant women who mourned in place of the nobles. They were called dirge singers.

Nobles regarded their authority and dignity more important than expressing sorrow over the deceased. They regarded sincerely crying over the dead to go against their dignity and paid servant women to mourn in their stead. They were called dirge singers. Through their tears, the dirge singers freed the dead and comforted their pain as emotional healers and guided them to the afterlife. However, they were scorned for being linked to death. They were accused of bringing bad luck, smelling like incense, having spirits around them and were baptized in salt and pointed at. This story starts from the hardships of the dirge singers. What if there was a girl who could not escape her fate as a dirge singer? And what if she wanted to be a narrative singer rather than live a life of crying over others?

This drama is about a young girl who struggles to escape her fate as a dirge singer, but realizes in the end that funeral songs and narrative songs are one, that a true dirge singer, born again as a true narrative singer, is a record of painstaking growth.

│ Cast
Yeonsim : Kim Yujeong
Yunsu : Seo Junyeong

│ Synopsis │
For generations, dirge singers have been in her family, so Yeonsim(17 years old) must also become one. But Yeonsim hates the tough life that her mother has led her entire life, crying on behalf of others and dreams of the splendid life of a gisaeng. Rather than plain mourning clothes, she wants to wear beautiful silks and laugh rather than cry.

While trying to sneak into the gisaeng house, Yeonsim runs into the 2nd son of a noble family, Yunsu(20 years old). As a child born out of wedlock to a gisaeng, Yunsu has lived a life scorned by others. He hurls spiteful remarks to Yeonsim for wanting to become a gisaeng.

“Song? Beauty? You’re just a toy for men.”

But Yunsu’s ridicule and spiteful remarks don’t shake Yeonsim. It actually makes her want to escape her fate as a dirge singer even more, carrying the strong will not to become a dirge singer after seeing that her cold mother, Dangeum, didn’t even shed one tear when her grandmother died.

“She’s your mother! Your mother has died!

You should cry when you want to and laugh when you want to….Live like others.” But Dangeum wants her to marry a nice man even if she becomes his second wife. Not wanting to become somebody’s second wife or a dirge singer, Yeonsim goes against Dangeum, not knowing that she is dying from esophageal cancer and has one month to live, and goes to the gisaeng house. There she meets Dohwa, known as the master singer, and comes to know true happiness and sorrow as Dohwa discovers Yeonsim’s gifted voice and skill. Yeonsim gradually begins to dream of becoming a singer and not a gisaeng. Narrative song is nice.

Narrative song is fun.

One day.

Yeonsim discovers Yunsu’s hidden sadness due to his anger and discontent of being a child out of wedlock. She finds out that her singing mentor, Dohwa, is Yunsu’s mother, and is shocked. And now knows why he insulted her for wanting to be a gisaeng.

Through his limitations as a child out of wedlock… Yunsu, who cannot laugh. Thinking about his mother…He hates narrative songs. In order to avoid becoming a dirge singer… Yeonsim, who doesn’t cry. Thinking about her mother…She hates funeral songs..

The boy who cannot laugh and the girl who does not cry. They discover each other’s pain and are drawn to one another.

At the time, Yunsu’s older brother, Gyeongpil, the firstborn son from a different mother, suddenly dies. The death of the firstborn of a noble home! The family is in search for the best dirge singer in Hanyang. Dangeum has no choice but to be the dirge singer; however, because she can no longer sing due to her illness, Yeonsim is dragged to the home as the dirge singer. There she runs into Yunsu, who has been named the chief mourner. If he completes his duty as the chief mourner during the funeral, he will be acknowledged by his family. However, Yeonsim does not not cry and sing the funeral song. While Yeonsim is set on not crying, Yunsu must get her to cry as the chief mourner. The two are reunited as the dirge singer who won’t cry and the chief mourner who must make her cry..

In a circumstance where no one will back down, Yunsu visits Yeonsim, who has been locked up in a shed. And he asks her to cry for him…

│ Function │

  • Duration : 78 minutes.
  • Director : Lee Eunjin / Screenplay : Heo Jiyeong

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