Sunday, 12 August 2012

LIFE OVERSEAS: K-razy for K-Pop

WE become motivated when we are passionate about something. We are more inclined to strive towards our goal even though it could be costly and beyond our reach.
Music is one of my loves and Korean pop music, also known as K-pop, has a special place in my heart. It is popular among Asian and non-Asian communities but it does not have a big fan base in Ireland which results in the lack of Korean musicians staging concerts in the country.
Recently, Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation, one of South Korea's main television and radio networks, held a Korean festival in London. The festival included samulnori (traditional percussion music), a fashion show of the hanbok (traditional Korean costume) and, of course, performances by K-pop groups 4Minute, Exo-K and Norazo.
As I knew that such an event would not be held in Ireland, I decided to attend it with my friends in London. We bought our flight tickets and waited for the sale of concert tickets.
To our horror, the website crashed while we were accessing it to buy the tickets and all 2,400 tickets were sold within an hour. Thankfully, just a day before the concert, we managed to buy tickets on Facebook and Ebay.
I arrived at Indigo2, the concert venue, three hours before the start of the event and there were already hundreds of people lining up even though the tickets had assigned seats.
Fans performed dance routines, gave glow sticks to all the attendees and screamed the minute they caught a glimpse of any of the performers through the barrier that was set up.
A fan club had even created custom-made light sticks for Exo-K. More than 100 light sticks were sold out in seconds.
I made friends with two girls who had also made their way from Ireland for the concert. Half the audience were not Asian. It is interesting how K-pop has spread to Europe.
The concert began with a bang, literally, as the opening act saw traditional Korean drummers playing the buk. 4Minute, a K-pop girl group, came on stage and sang five of its hit songs including Volume Up and Huh. The crowd waved glow sticks in the air while singing along to every word.
There was also a fusion of traditional Korean music with modern styles using various instruments such as the gayageum (plucked string instrument), haegum (bowed string instrument), junggeum (wind instrument) and an electric violin.
The musicians even played the James Bond theme song, which sounded absolutely fabulous. The violinist was playing so energetically that many of the horse hairs on her bow began to fall off!
The fashion show featured Park Sunyeol's hanbok creations which had traditional and modern elements.
Norazo was entertaining in its quirky way as its lyrics were funny and actions, comical. It sang songs such as Curry and Superman.
My favourite was Exo-K, a group of six male performers with dreamy voices and impressive dance moves.
It had the entire hall screaming, jumping and singing during its performance. Even though it has just debuted, it has thousands of fans. It dazzled the crowd with its songs, History, Mama and Angel.
It was a magnificent concert and a memory I would cherish forever. I'm looking forward to the next K-pop concert. A message to K-pop fans: you have not lived if you have not attended a K-pop concert.

The writer is studying at a high school in Ireland. She loves to try all things but is a Malaysian at heart

Read more: Life Overseas: K-razy for K-Pop - You - New Straits Times

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