Joe Kye‘s video for his song “Bambam’s Lullaby” opens on the Seattle-raised, Korean-born musician plucking his violin surrounded by trees. The shot switches to a dog’s paws hitting the ground. Suddenly, in another dream-like change of scene, Kye stands among the snow wearing a gray sweater and button-up shirt. As the scenes build, so does the music. “Where are you?” Kye repeats. He loops delicate violin strumming over his plucking.
On first listen, “Bambam’s Lullaby” is a song from the perspective of a pet — Kye’s Akita, Bambam, wondering where her owner went, and why he left. But for the songwriter and violinist, the lyrics stand for more than a pet’s sense of yearning.
“My parents left the U.S. to return to Korea, their homeland, in 2008 after 15 years in this country, leaving me and my sister. The song helps me express my own longing; the geographic distance is tough to navigate, but the linguistic and cultural gap between my parents and me continues to expand,” he wrote in an email to opbmusic.
Kye performs Friday, July 27 at the Jack London Revue. He released his most recent album “Migrants” on Jan. 8. The video for “Bambam’s Lullaby” was filmed and edited by Brandon Manning.