MusicDish e-Journal - April 19, 2018
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Riding the Korean Wave in Asia
Korean Popular Music Presented for the First Time at MIDEM in Europe
By MusicDish
(more articles from this author)
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The heat of Singapore Airport : Welcome artists of 2008 K-Pop Night

With the export of Korean television drama series to China in 1996, the geographical reach of Korean popular music and films have expanded to the broader South East Asian region including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, the Philippines, etc. The explosive popularity of Korean popular culture in China and South East Asia has led many Asians to build an emotional connection with Korean singers and actors, even to Korean people and the country itself to the point where many have started learning the Korean language or purchasing Korean products. The craze for Korean popular culture and preference of Korean products has been dubbed 'Korean wave' by the international media.

With the increasing interest in Korean popular music, Korean actors and singers are fueling the Korean wave, making visits to countries all over Asia such as China, Japan, Thailand and aggressively marketing themselves in the local markets. In particular, the craze for Korean dramas that ignited the Korean wave moved onto Korean popular music, with both the music and singers gaining tremendous popularity throughout Asia.

There are various genres in Korean popular music including ballads, dance, R&B, hip-hop, teuroteu, etc. However, it isn't a particular style of music that is at the heart of the Korean wave, but the individual idol or idol groups themselves. A typical 'idol group' in Korea consists of artists in their teens and are comprised of four to as many as thirteen members. Some of the leading idol groups are Super Junior, Girls' Generation, SS501, Wonder Girls, Big Bang, etc. They are actively releasing albums and holding concerts and interviews in Korea as well as in Vietnam, Japan, China and the Philippines, playing an pivotal role in broadening the popularity of Korean popular culture. In particular, girl groups showed great momentum in 2009. The Korean media went as far as to sum up last year's Korean popular music trend, "The Year of the Girl Groups". There are currently ten actively performing girl groups, comprised of a total of fifty-five members. Korean idol groups gain interest and popularity from the general public through their unique personalities and difference in style of music, and are becoming a force to be reckoned with throughout Asia. Additionally, more and more singers are looking beyond Asia, actively broadening their base to penetrate into the US and European market. Wonder Girls is a prime example of a Korean idol group that has made a successful debut in the US. Signed by of JYP Entertainment, Wonder Girl is the first Korean group or singer that achieved the incredible feat of making it into the US Billboards' "Hot 100" at 76th place with the single. Following in the success of Wonder Girls, Korea's two other leading groups are making debut in Europe in January 2010 at a country showcase titled 'K-Pop Night' in MIDEM, the world's largest music industry trade fair. Girl Group, f(x) and hip hop group, Epik High will be representing Korea and performing live in front of international music insiders and media from all over the world as well as event organizers and local music lovers in Europe at the global music festival to introduce and raise awareness of Korean popular music. f(x), a five-member girl group with excellent singing and dancing abilities, was created from the very beginning with the international market in mind. Their first debut digital single, 'LA chA TA', a catchy pop dance number features hip hop groove and electronica vibe.

f(x) (from left): Amber, Victoria, Krystal, Sulli, Luna

Having debuted in 2003 with the single 'Map of the Human Soul', Epik High is a group of highly regarded artists with a large, loyal fan base that writes both lyrics and music as well as produces all their music. Having already toured in the US in 2009, they have set their goals to enter the European market in 2010, and are sure to put on a charismatic performance during the MIDEM showcase and introduce their various music genres.

Epik High (from left): Kim yunmin, Mithra Jin, Tablo, Tukutz

K-Pop Night, the Korean showcase extravaganza, will be held at 9 p. m. for ninety minutes at the Acajou hall, Martinez Hotel in Cannes, France on Tuesday, January 26th, 2010. There is no doubt that it will be the perfect opportunity to experience the Korean wave in Europe.

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