Monsters Calling Home

Run River North, 2014

Singer-songwriter Alex Hwang of Run River North says most of the band members' parents came to the United States from Korea when they were in their twenties, and the band members were born in the United States. What contrast would you expect to find between what "home" is to Alex Hwang versus his parents?

Who is "walking heavy to the / Beat of a broken drum / Digging for worth in / A land under a foreign sun"?

What do the following lines mean: "The children call bitter words / Of a strange tongue"?

In this song, do the children see how hard life is for their parents?

"Monsters Calling Home" performed by Run River North on Run River North, © 2013. Available on iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube.

For more information about Run River North, visit their official website.

Rights have not been secured to reprint the words for this song. Please consult the following online resource for lyrics:

Run River North is a six-member band started by singer-songwriter Alex Hwang in the San Fernando Valley in California. The band's first album, Run River North (2014), is most often associated with the indie folk, folk-rock, and Americana genres. The band consists of Hwang (guitar and vocals), Daniel Chae (guitar and violin), John Chong (drums), Joe Chun (bass), Sally Kang (vocals and keyboard), and Jennifer Rimm (violin). Hwang writes songs from his own experiences, speaking about people he knows and telling family stories.

Run River North
Run River North

According to Hwang, most of the band's parents came to the United States when they were in their twenties. They did not speak English and were unable to use their degrees from Korea, so they started their own businesses and took low-wage jobs. He often talks about the tensions between generations in immigrant families and the cultural differences between children who grew up in America and their parents who grew up in Korea. In an interview with NPR, he said,

  My father had a degree in statistics and he had to come here and work at a liquor store just to make ends meet, and just doing that takes up all his energy. When you're doing that on top of raising two little boys that are seeing their peers go on camping trips and other things and [their] dad just working at the liquor store twenty-four hours a day, I think the relationship is really hard. ("Run River North Sings about Immigrant Experience")

"Monsters Calling Home" is about immigration, immigrant parents, and families. The lyrics talk about the struggles of Hwang's parents (and others) to find a place called home after they moved to America. Hwang sings about the difficult choices parents must make when they are working, raising children, and trying to navigate how to root themselves in Korean and American cultures, which sometimes releases "inner monsters" and makes them out to be "monsters" that they are not.

Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro



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