Let KPK Introduce You To…The Use of (Gospel) Choirs

Kaetrena Davis Kendrick, M.S.L.S.

University of South Carolina Lancaster

The use or application of the (gospel) choir aestethic or sound is a staple in popular Western music, and the artists who have used the imagery or sound go from rock  and pop to rapIn an essay discussing how the African-American creative and cultural tradition of gospel music is preserved or transformed as it moves around the globe, Burnim links the original context of gospel music and its role in the African-American community to its unexpected introduction into American mainstream music (solidified by creative and consumer success markers):

As a genre that came to most strongly define the worship of the vast majority of African Americans regardless of denomination, gospel remained largely in the domain of African American congregants — that is, church folk — until the late 1960’s, when Edwin Hawkins released Let Us Go into The House of the Lord, with its ever-popular single “O Happy Day” unexpectedly hitting the radio airways, claiming unparalleled chart success and subsequent sales in excess of one million copies… (2016, 471)

While gospel music is primarily the vehicle by which African-Americans practiced aspects of their religion, it is also a form of music that has close ties to the continent and cultures of Africa. With those multitudes of cultures come expanded channels of creativity, and you can hear those elements in gospel music, including:

  • call and response
  • syncopation
  • cross-rhythms
  • improvisation (Rucker-Hillsman, 2014)

Noting links to commercial success and the musicality imbued in the gospel choir,  international artists have also incorporated the sound into their music.

Let’s take a look at the gospel choir’s entry into K-pop:

Artist: Jonghyun

Press Play to Hear “할렐루야 ” (Hallelujah)” from Jonghyun’s album Base (released January  12, 2015).

In a 2015 interview, Jonghyun noted that he did not originally intend to have a choir but that his interest in gospel music spurred him to update the arrangement. 

Jonghyun documents choir members recording the background vocals for “Hallelujah.”

Works Cited

Burnim, M. (2016). Tropes of continuity and disjuncture in the globalization of gospel music. In S.A. Riley & J.M. Dueck (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Music and World Christianities. Oxford University Press (pp. 469-488).

Rucker-Hillsman, J. (2014). Gospel music: An African-American art form. Victoria, BC, Canada: Freisen Press.

 

This Week In K-pop: July 20-26, 2019

 

Finding All Kinds of K-pop Stuff So You Don’t Have To

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Director, KPK: Kpop Kollective

New pop releases in K-pop this week include three title tracks from the new EXO sub-unit, EXO-SC, including “What A Life.” Woosung (of the band The Rose) released “Face,” while Kang Daniel finally debuts as a solo artist with “What Are You Up To.” Younger groups round out this week’s releases, including NCT Dream with “Boom” and Boy Story with “Too Busy” (ft. Jackson Wang). Additional pop songs were released by Monsta X, Mamamoo, GWSN, CIX, Taeyong, VAV, 1TEAM and Hyo.

Notable hip-hop releases include BewhY and the epic video for “Gottasadae,” the collaboration of nafla, Loopy, Lee Young Ji, and Pluma for “I’m the One” and the laid-back summer jam by ph-1, “You Don’t Know My Name.” Veteran rock group Crying Nut released “다음에 잘하자 [Let’s Do Well Next Time], while UHA (“dawn”) and Red Chair (Insomnia) bring more mellow sounds to this week’s releases.  Additional songs came out from Far East Movement, UHA, Perc%nt, Onsu, Shin Youme, Electric Pad, Kimhwol, Heera, Jungmo, The Electric Eels, Seoulmoon and Kizan.

This week’s playlist:

  1. EXO-SC, “Closer To You” | 2. EXO-SC, “Just Us 2” | 3. EXO-SC, “What A Life” | 4. NCT Dream, “Boom” | 5. Woosung, “Face” | 6. Kang Daniel, “What Are You Up To | 7. Monsta X, Breathe For You | 8. Mamamoo, “Gleam” | 9. GWSN, “Red-Sun(021)” | 10. CIX, “Movie Star” | 11. Taeyong, “Long Flight” | 12. Far East Movement, “Glue (ft. Heize & Shawn Wasabi)” | 13. Boy Story, “Too Busy (ft. Jackson Wang)” | 14. UHA, “dawn” | 15. Jun, “Switch” | 16. BewhY, “Gottasadae” | 17. Crying Nut, “다음에 잘하자 [Let’s Do Well Next Time]” | 18. Perc%nt, “9” | 19. Onsu, “The Rain” | 20. Shin Youme, “Wanna Be Ur Love” | 21. nafla, Loopy, Lee Young Ji, PLUMA, “I’m The One” | 22. Electric Pad, “Small Fruit” | 23. Kimhwol, “Down” | 24. Shin Youme, Nights Without You | 25. Red Chair, “Insomnia” | 26. Heera, “Fantasy” | 27. VAV, “Give Me More (ft. De La Ghetto & Play-N-Skillz) | 28. ph-1, “You Don’t Know My Name” | 29. 1TEAM, “Ice In The Cup” | 30. Jungmo (ft. Henry), “Peach” | 31. The Electric Eels, “Yacht” | 32. Seoulmoon, “Last Summer” | 33. Kizan, “Give Me The Star” | 34. Hyo, “Badstar”

 

 

 

 

 

#WheeWednesday: “매력쟁이 (Charisma) ft. MC Mong,” LYn

Source: Officially KMusic

This #WheeWednesday is actually related to the previous #WheeWednesday with Dynamic Duo. Dynamic Duo started with the hip-hop trio CB Mass. Interestingly, CB Mass was also featured on two songs on Korean R&B songstress LYn‘s 2002 album, Have You Ever Had Heart Broken?  So LYn is no stranger to blending her vocals with hip-hop aesthetics. Which brings us to “매력쟁이 (Full of Charm) ft. MC Mong” from Lyn’s 2009 album, Let Go, Let In, It’s a New Day. Have fun!

Sources

Image: Officially KMusic. “LYn Wows In “Thank You My Dear” Music Video.” Officially KMusic. 13 Sept 2014. http://officiallykmusic.com/lyn-wow-new-music-video/ (12 Apr 2019)

Video: HANKOOK NORE. “린(LYn) 매력쟁이 (Featuring MC 몽) (가사 첨부).” YouTube. 14 Apr 2016. https://youtu.be/cqLIO3zW5hg (12 Apr 2019).

#WheeWednesday: “Art of Love (Primary Remix),” Dynamic Duo

Source: KCONUSA

 

Since I dropped the ball on #WheeWednesday, I have to double down with some Dynamic Duo. The Korean hip-hop duo made up of Choiza and Gaeko, began as members of the hip-hop group CB Mass in 2000. They later left and formed Dynamic Duo, and founded their own label, Amoeba Culture, in 2006.  Some might know the duo  for upbeat hip-hop tracks like “Chulchek” from Enlightened (2007) or their work with pop singers like Chen from EXO on tracks like 2018’s “Nosedive.” Today, I’m sharing the Primary remix of  “Art of Love,” one of my favorite Dynamic Duo songs from Dynamic Duo 6th Digilog 2/2 9 (2012). Enjoy!

Source

Image: “Play With Dynamic Duo at #KCON16NY!” KCONUSA. http://www.kconusa.com/play-dynamic-duo-kcon16ny/ (12 Apr 2019)

Video: Dynamic Duo – Topic. “Art of Love.” YouTube. 27 Oct 2018. https://youtu.be/p-qItSUMOfo (12 Apr 2019).

Mini Data Note: Why Fans Like Red Velvet

Source: Kpopmap

Survey results suggest that ReVeluv, fans of the female K-pop group Red Velvet, like the group because of its versatile concepts, its music and the personalities of the members. These are preliminary findings from the U Go Girl: The K-pop Girl Group Fan Study and are based on responses from individuals who identified Red Velvet as one of their favorite groups.

Out of a sample of 270, 15% of respondents identified Red Velvet as one of their favorites, making the group the most favorite girl group of the sample. Almost all of the respondents were women and represent a range of races/ethnicities from around the world.

Dual-Concept

Like other fans of K-pop girl groups, fans of Red Velvet like the variety of concepts. One respondent noted: “They can do cute concepts and out-of-the-box concepts and do sexier concepts yet it all fits their image. They are capable of pulling off so much, and I like seeing all the different concepts.” However, several ReVeluvs specifically pointed to Red Velvet’s unique dual-concept. One responded noted: “I also love the dual concept system they have going on. The Red side is bright and has a pop sound while the Velvet side is more R&B. I feel that they have a song for any of my moods.”

Music

Observers of K-pop girl groups often point to their appearance, but fans of Red Velvet indicated that they also liked the music of the group, particularly the diversity of their music. One responded noted: “I just love their music. They’re one of the most diverse girl groups in my opinion. They’ve tried so many genres and really nailed all of them!” Fan also revealed their familiarity with Red Velvet’s music.  Some, like this respondent, pointed to B-sides: “Their title tracks alternate in this way, giving fans variety, while they also get really amazing B-sides. Each member is really vocally talented, matching the amazingly well-produced music without disappointment.” Other respondents pointed to the group’s entire discography: “I love how diverse they are and their discography is one of the best if not the best in K-pop.”

Personalities

Respondents pointed to a genuine quality to the members and their interactions. One respondent noted: “The members all love each other so much, and I love when you can see the chemistry between group members. The girls also genuinely care about the fans and I love that connection.” Others, like this respondent, liked how the members seemed genuine:  “I think they are also very genuine, not playing up their personalities or bond and being open about their difficulties and struggles without exploiting them for popularity.”

Image

“Idols’ Idea Types Compilation: Red Velvet.” Kpopmap. 30 Aug 2018. https://www.kpopmap.com/idols-ideal-types-red-velvet/ (12 Apr 2019).

Sources

Jenirus. “Red Velvet – Somethin Kinda Crazy [Eng/Rom/Han] Picture + Color Coded HD.” YouTube. 11 Jun 2015. https://youtu.be/G3c6aO-O_4A (12 Apr 2019).

SMTOWN. “Red Velvet 레드벨벳 ‘Bad Boy’ MV.” YouTube. 29 Jan 2018. https://youtu.be/J_CFBjAyPWE (12 Apr 2019).

Creative Commons License
Mini Data Note: Why Fans Like Red Velvet by Crystal S. Anderson, PhD is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Panelist at #ICA19!

Source: Pixabay

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD,  will be presenting as part of the panel, Deconstructing Cultural Boundaries: K-pop’s Participatory Culture in the Digitally Networked Era with scholars Dal Yong Jin, Seok-Kyeong Hon and Jee Wong Lee, Ju Oak Kim and Wonjung Min at the 2019 International Communications Association Conference (#ica19) in Washington, DC on Monday, May 27, 2019, 8:00 – 9:15 a.m. in Fairchild (Washington Hilton, Terrace Level).

Her presentation, ” ‘U Go Girl’: Transcultural Fandom and K-pop Girl Groups,” focuses on female fans of K-pop girl groups. See the abstract below:

Much of the scholarship on Korean pop girl groups focuses on the perceived uniformity of the members of the groups, the appeal of the female members to men and the affinity between female fans in Korea and Asia and the members of the groups. However, with the continued global spread of K-pop comes increased transcultural fan engagement. This paper seeks to discern the appeal of K-pop girl groups for global fans. Analyzing music videos and qualitative survey data, this paper argues that K-pop girl groups emulate a range of concepts which global fans find empowering and visual aesthetics that fans find appealing. Such appeal is significant because it challenges the dominance of a white, Western standard of beauty and female celebrity. The way that “idols” invite fans to participate in engagement encourages fans to see them as more approachable as compared to Western celebrities.

#WheeWednesday: “Heaven,” EXO

Source: Channel Korea

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Director, KPK: Kpop Kollective

Last week, I kicked off the first #WheeWednesday with a song by an artist unfamiliar to many K-pop fans.  This #WheeWednesday, it’s a song by a group most K-pop fans know: EXO!

EXO burst onto the K-pop scene seven years ago with 12 members and the Gregorian chant of “Mama.” Now with 9 members (we still see you, Lay!), they have become known for upbeat tracks like “Growl” (2013) and “Don’t Mess Up My Tempo” (2018). But EXO-Ls know that the group’s music also showcases the vocal talents of its members as well. “Heaven” from the group’s third album Ex’Act (2016) opens with Chen’s distinctive vocals and a lone piano. When the beat drops, Chanyeol continues the song’s easy rhythm with a laid-back rap. The track is a nice break from their dance-infused tracks. It’s a treat!

Sources

Video: EXO. “Heaven.” YouTube. 8 Nov 2016. https://youtu.be/VK6-n9SyFlI (27 Mar 2019).

Image: “EXO Members Profile (Name, Birthday, Weight and Religion) and Facts.” Channel Korea. 9 Mar 2018. https://channel-korea.com/exo-members-profile-and-facts/ (27 Mar 2019).

U Go Girl! The K-pop Girl Group Fan Study

Source: Pixabay

U Go Girl! The K-pop Girl Group Fan Study is the latest survey in the iFans: K-pop’s Global Fandom project. This survey seeks to understand the appeal of K-pop girl groups for female fans outside of Korea and will be open March 20, 2019-September 20, 2019. Click here to take the survey! If you have any questions about his research please contact Dr. Crystal S. Anderson, Research Scholar of Cultural Studies, Longwood University (andersoncs2@longwood.edu).

Why do a study on female fans of K-pop girl groups?

Academics have been writing about K-pop more and more, but the work on girl groups tends to focus on the way girl groups appeal to men, the perception that girl groups do not have a variety of concepts or that the members are styled to look alike. Few studies ask the female fans themselves what they think about K-pop girl groups. This study will help us understand what real life fans think about K-pop girl groups.

Who can take the survey?

Anyone who is 18-years-old or older.

How long does the survey take?

About five minutes.

#WheeWednesday: “With Me,” Wheesung (2003)

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Director, KPK: Kpop Kollective

At KPK: Kpop Kollective, we are all about K-pop music. Kaetrena writes about the musical influences on K-pop in her series Let KPK Introduce You To… In that vein, I’m starting a new series, #WheeWednesday, where I share music by some of the lesser-known K-pop artists as well as deep cuts from musical releases by K-pop’s more popular artists.

Since it’s called #WheeWednesday, its appropriate that the first song is from Wheesung (Choi Wheesung).

Source: wheesung.com

Wheesung debuted in 1999, the same year as another major Korean singer, Park Hyo Shin.  Unlike Park, Wheesung is known for choreography as well as hip-hop inflected tracks. He’s worked with other notable Korean R&B singers like g.o.d.’s Kim Tae Woo as well as veteran hip-hop artists like Masta Wu. Such collaborations show how easily he straddle genres in K-pop. His first album, Like a Movie (2002) was a straight-up R&B endeavor, solidifying his reputation as a vocalist. The intro not only features what will become his common shoutout using his stage name, “RealSlow,” but also announces that “you don’t know me yet.”

Here is your chance to get to know Wheesung! It’s a challenge to choose a representative song by Wheesung, since his work ranges from ballads to dance tracks. “With Me,” from the 2003 album It’s Real, shows off Wheesung’s strong vocals as well as his comfort with hip-hop rhythms and rap verses.

I hope you enjoy this track and see what else RealSlow has to offer!

Sources

Video: Wheesung – Topic. “With Me.” YouTube. 25 Apr 2018. https://youtu.be/F2Hms2TGzeA (19 Mar 2019).

Image: “bnt 화보 -13.” wheesung.com 20 Jan 2018. http://wheesung.com/photo_view.html?dummy=1553027451677 (19 Mar 2019).

Creative Commons License
#WheeWednesday: “With Me,” Wheesung (2003) by Crystal S. Anderson, PhD is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.