Lifestyle

The K-POP fever in India: Sailing into Korean culture

K-Pop culture in India:

Korean pop or K-pop is the new trend in India. First of all, K-pop is  is a musical genre of South Korea. It has both audio and visual elements. In addition, it covers dance-pop, electronic, rock, hip-hop, R&B and so on.

 

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Difference between K-pop and Western pop:

While K-pop and Western pop, are almost similar in terms of the music styles but different in visuals. Their music style is really of high quality. They make use of upgraded technologies. In addition, the artists are dressed in their latest fashion. Also they have amazing choreography.

The K-pop fandom in India:

 

The K-pop fandom is really big in India. Thanks to YouTube, we are able to keep track of all the latest K-pop songs. As a result, fans post videos of their dance covers on these songs.

Kim Kum Pyoung, director of Korean Cultural Centre India felt the need to promote K-pop contest in India. He says, “unlike Northeast, the rest of India are only familiar with American music.

 

 First K-pop contest in India

The first K-pop contest took place on 25th August, 2012. First of all, the contest was not a success. Much as Mr. Pyoung was warned yet he did not lose hope. He extended the contests to many cities in India. First of all, the contests happened in the Northeastern regions. Finally K-pop contests happened in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

“When we started out, we saw only participants from the Northeast, but I don’t think Korean culture is popular there just because of the physical similarities. As a Buddhist, I can trace my roots to India. There are many similarities between our eastern traditions, such as the importance of family and the respect to elders,” says Pyoung, who had extended his original three-year term in 2014 to another three years. If there’s something he’s learned on the way, it is this: you can always trust the fans. Case in point: Bangalore.

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Korean entertainment has obsessive fans all over the world now, and it didn’t happen accidentally. The Korean Government understood the value of cultural export (apparently after seeing that Jurassic Park made more total revenue than 1.5 million Hyundai cars in 1994), and has spent millions on subsidies and government action in promoting a certain version of Korean culture all over the world for mass consumption.

I climbed into a car with six other Bengaluru-based women, all in Chennai to attend the K-Pop India Contest Grand Finale, to rousing cheers of “gapssida!” That’s “let’s go!” in Korean, a language all six women were fluent in. Over the next two days, though I was in Chennai, my ears were going to tune to Korean, and not just because Chennai reportedly has 6000 Korean residents.

Take Jayashree, a 24-year-old Bengaluru-based software engineer, for instance. Because there were no official Korean culture groups to organise the Bengaluru round of the contest there last month, Jayashree had stepped in and offered her services to the Korean Culture Council: she and a small group of fellow K-Pop enthusiasts organised the Bengaluru round. Then she had taken time off of work to rent a car and drive 10 hours to Chennai to volunteer at the Grand Finale.

Himanshu Kataria is a young Delhi choreographer. He is trained in classical ballet but Kataria is now chasing a new style – the energetic K-Pop or Korean Pop. It was Gangnam Style, the wild blockbuster by singer Psy, that put this form on the world map. Today it has become almost a cult with fan followers and practitioners across the world.

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So what exactly does K-Pop entail? “It involves lot of aggression and energy,” says Kataria. It is hard to put a finger on precisely what defines it but K-Pop originally is a mix of western and Korean music and dance moves. In the Indian context, this could mean a mix of Bollywood, western and Korean – a bewildering mix but that is what is expected of the original work presented by the participants.

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