A Hong Kong blog that does a lot more than blog
One Drop East @ Vinyl Underground, Busan, South Korea (3/21/14)
You’ll be forgiven for never having heard of (the mighty, mighty) One Drop East. For the last 7 years or so this reggae/funk/afro outfit have been the most popular ex-pat band in Busan, South Korea.
Yep, big in Busan!
Few things illustrate better the transient nature of ex-pat life than the evolution of local ‘foreigner’ bands. Since its inception in 2007, One Drop East underwent several changes in personnel. Stalwarts Sean Devlin (guitar), Gordon Baszali Jr. (trumpet) and Ben May (drums) being the only founding members to remain until the bittersweet end. This writer was fortunate enough to be the band’s percussionist for the last 18 months.
For its members, myself included, the band has seemed like a surrogate family; a big, dysfunctional family, but a family nonetheless. Brian Kilrane, One Drop’s bassist puts it this way: “My first practice (and the first time I met most of these folks) was years ago. Sean told me the whole purpose of this band was a simple excuse to get together with much-loved friends, have a few beers and rap about music.” And that has pretty much been the band’s ethos. Along the way, though, there have been many highlights, such as the invitation to play at the 2011 Busan International Rock Festival in front of some 5,000 people (see the video, below), and a huge album release party that saw hundreds of paying customers queuing out the door.
Two weeks ago, however, as with all good things, the party had to end. Fittingly, the last hurrah took place at the Vinyl Underground club. Owner Kim Dong-ha had been instrumental in the growth of the band by giving them a space to practice and gig during its formation, and the venue has witnessed some of One Drop’s most memorable parties. This emotional occasion went off well before climaxing with a 10–minute rendition of the firery afro-beat tune Senegal.
And another story, familiar to so many ex-pat musicians, was ended.
Much love to the One Drop fam.
“One Drop, roots rock, don’t stop!”