Tuesday, February 7, 2012

a French take on K-pop

In case you don't know what "K-pop" is, here is its Wikipedia definition"a musical genre consisting of Pop, dance, electropop, hip hop, rock, R&B and electronic music originating in South Korea.  In addition to music, K-pop has grown into a popular subculture among teenagers and young adults around the world, resulting in widespread interest in the fashion and style of Korean idol groups and singers."

I am not an apologist for this pop-music phenomenon. The genre is just not my thing.
And yet the phenomenon itself fascinates me.

(I really don't get the guys' hair...)

A French friend sent me this link to an article that was in this past weekend's LeMonde newspaper. Oui--the venerable LeMonde, the New York Times of France, if you will.
Who knew that K-pop was becoming such a trend in Europe?
A couple of excerpts, below, which I'll translate:

POURQUOI ÇA MARCHE ? Calibrée pour le "mainstream" (la culture dominante), la K-pop propose un univers sexy mais pas trash. Les jupes des filles sont courtes et les mèches des garçons travaillées, mais on ne se roule pas dans la boue en string comme dans certains clips de R'n'B américains. Bref, tout pour plaire aux ados sans choquer les parents.
L'expansion culturelle coréenne illustre le dynamisme du pays, passé en quelques décennies du sous-développement à l'ultramodernité et pointant aujourd'hui au quinzième rang mondial en termes de produit intérieur brut. Compétitivité économique, attractivité artistique... et taux de suicide record : si on aimait les formules toutes faites, on dirait que la Corée est le nouveau Japon. Un pays, en tout cas, avec lequel il faudra compter à l'heure où le centre de gravité du monde bascule vers l'Orient.

WHY IS IT WORKING? Calibrated for the mainstream, K-pop offers a sexy but non-trashy universe. The girls' skirts are short and the guys' hair is all done-up, but you're not rolling around in the mud in a g-string as in certain American R'n'B music videos. In short, everything to please the teenagers without shocking the parents.
Korean cultural expansion illustrate the dynamism of this country, which, in just a few short decades, has leaped from third-world to ultramodern, now poised to become the world's 15th largest economy in terms of GDP. Economic competitiveness, artistic attractivenes... along with a record suicide rate: if you like ready-made formulas, you might say that Korea is the new Japan. A country, at any rate, that is to be reckoned with at a time when the world's center of gravity is shifting to the East.

In one of my classes, I have a Sudanese student...on her cellphone, I saw a Korean face--her 'wallpaper' is a photo of a Korean actor. I asked her how she knew about Korean dramas. She replied: "oh, all of my Nepali friends and me, we love watching Korean dramas on the internet."

Immigration and Globalization. Korea meets Africa meets the Himalayas, all here in Tucson. Wild.

No comments:

Post a Comment