Monday, July 18, 2011

Insooni Sings "Amazing Grace"

Many thanks to GI Korea for posting a "really good story in the Stars & Stripes about a former USFK servicemember that was reunited with the young girl he mentored in the 1970′s who went on to bigger and better things" — Korean Music Star Insooni Reunites With Former USFK Servicemember. Here in Korea, she's as big as they get. Here's the moving story:
    Despite the decades that have passed since he was a U.S. soldier stationed in South Korea, Ronald Lewis never stopped wondering what had become of the troubled teenage girl he and a few of his Army buddies befriended while they were here.

    The girl wanted to become a nurse, but the odds were stacked against her. The child of a Korean woman and a black U.S. soldier who abandoned the family, the girl was born into a culture that shuns mixed-race people.

    “My prayers have always been that she wouldn’t end up on the street,” Lewis said. “I prayed for her continuously.”

    Then, a few months ago, the Delaware man was contacted by a 2nd Infantry Division representative who was helping the woman track down the guys she credits with helping set her life on the right course. Suspicious, Lewis did a Web search using the name by which she is now known — Insooni — and found that the girl has been a famous R&B singer here for more than 30 years, known as “the Tina Turner of South Korea.”

    She has even performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

    “I said, ‘Oh my god, it is her,’ ” Lewis said, his voice filling with pride. “I couldn’t believe it. We spent a lot of time together back then, and I never heard her sing, or even hum, anything.”

    Insooni and Lewis have since talked by telephone and regularly exchange emails, and they plan to reunite this weekend while the singer is visiting the U.S. to check out colleges with her 17-year-old daughter.

    Insooni said that Lewis and his friends “acted sort of like big brothers and surrogate fathers” to her in the early 1970s.

    “Before I met them, I had repulsion about Americans because my family background and home environment were difficult,” she said. “But, after getting along with them, I came to feel all human beings are the same, and Americans are good.”
As the video shows, she is also proof that, despite notable exceptions like Janis Joplin, pipes like hers are largely genetic. Also genetic perhaps is the fact that she's "visiting the U.S. to check out colleges with her 17-year-old daughter."

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.