Juche Jams

Are We Living Like Back Then? 그때처럼 우리가 살고있는가

Alt titles: Living Like Back Then; Are We Living Like Those Days?

Music: Ri Jongo 리종오

Lyrics: Ri Jong-sul 리정술, 1990

Considering all the different versions of this song out there, I assume it is pretty popular in the DPRK. The earliest version I can find is by the Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble, one of the most popular music groups in the DPRK. The song is written from the perspective of a war veteran reflecting on the war and how they will never forget what they fought for. This song is definitely up there in my favorites and I really can’t say definitively which version of it is my favorite.


Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble

1990. The original version of this song sung by Jo Gum-hwa. This version has a definite 80s vibe to it and the style of backing vocals used in this arrangement has persisted even in newer versions of the song.

Wangjaesan Light Music Band

Instrumental, 1995. Despite being recorded in the mid-90s, this instrumenal rendition of the song has a distinct 1980s feel to it. This might be my favorite instrumental version of this song.

Unhasu Orchestra

05.01.2010. Singer Choe Sol-hui 최설희. The way this version is sung is very similar to the original Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble version, but with the orchestra backing that is common in future renditions of the song. Choe Sol-hui sings in a very expressive style in this performance.

07.27.2013 This song was performed in the last Unhasu Orchestra concert before the group disbanded. An all male vocal rendition of this song with an orchestra like the previous video.

Moranbong Band

07.28.2012. From their 2012 Victory Day concert. The singers take a backseat in this one and provide backup vocals here and there. The musicians play very passionately and even dance a bit as they play. Very impressive and fun to watch.

12.28.2016. I really like this version for several reasons: it is sung by a group rather than solo like most other version, the violin solo after the first verse is beautiful, I love the sound of the acoustic guitar heard throughout, and the song progressively becomes more upbeat as it goes. It seems like many people prefer the Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble version, but I am partial to this one.

Samjiyon Band

04.12.2019. This version also has an acoustic guitar in the beginning, but overall sounds very different from the 2016 Moranbong Band performance. It is a duet featuring Song Yong and Ryu Jin-a. Song Yong is my favorite Chongbong Band singer and Ryu Jin-a is my favorite Moranbong Band singer, so it is really cool to see them singing together. Both singers have strong, beautiful voices that meld together nicely. The full orchestra sound and State Merited Chorus backing the singers makes this possibly the most grand sounding arrangement of this song. Similar to the 2016 Moranbong Band version, the song speeds up and gains more singers at the end.

English Lyrics

Lyrics by Moranbong Band HD

From the days of my youth
Many memories come alive
By opening up my photo album
Our comrades in arms, from the days of war
They look back at me and ask

Are we living like we did back then?
Are we living like we did back then?
To get over the Nakdong river, warm blood was spilled
Like in those days back then

Never to be forgotten, fading photographs
Page by page they unfold
While turning the first spadeful among the ruins
The comrades look back at me

How can we forget the work that was done back then?
How can we forget the work that was done back then?
With tightened belts they sang of revolution
In the days back then

Time is passing on
From the days of youth
Our appearances are changing too
The heart that follows the Mother Party
It still remains youthful

We will forever live our lives like back then
We will forever live our lives like back then
The firm foundation of the sworn oath
Protected by our hearts
Like back in those days
Like back in those days

Korean Lyrics

Lyrics by Moranbong Band HD

내 젊은 시절 추억도 많은
사진첩을 펼칠 때면
전화의 그날 옛전우들이
나를 보고 물어보네

그때처럼 우리가 살고 있는가
그때처럼 우리가 살고 있는가
락동강을 넘으며 더운 피를 뿌리던
그때 그 나날처럼

잊을수 없는 색날은 사진
한장두장 번질 때면
빈터우에서 첫삽을 뜨던
전우들이 나를 보네

그때 일을 우리가 어이 잊으랴
그때 일을 우리가 어이 잊으랴
허리띠를 조이며 혁명가를 부르던
그때 그 나날들을

세월은 흘러 젊은 시절의
그 모습은 변했어도
어머니 당을 따르는 마음
청춘으로 남아있네

그때처럼 영원히 우리 살리라
그때처럼 영원히 우리 살리라
굳게 다진 그 맹세
심장으로 지키던
그때 그 나날처럼
그때 그 나날처럼