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.

 

Let KPK Introduce You To… Rob Base and Vanity 6 (A Mash-Up)

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

University of South Carolina Lancaster

A recent Rolling Stone article discusses the major thread of American R&B in Kpop music. A producer notes the attraction towards the genre, sharing, “Korean pop music likes differentiation and changes,..the average American song is four melodies, maybe five. The average K-pop song is eight to 10. They are also very heavy in the harmonies. The one-loop beat doesn’t work over there…” (Leight, 2018)

Well – we stan complexity.

In this edition of “Let Us Introduce You To…” we showcase a song that highlights how that nostalgic R&B feel is built in Kpop by using numerous beats, harmonies, and even rap cadence to hook listeners by producing a new sound that simultaneously feels familiar. 

Artist: SHINee

Press Play to Hear “Lock You Down” from SHINee’s album The Story of Light EP 3 (released June 25, 2018).

Lock You Down’s beats echo…

Artist: Vanity 6

Press Play to Hear “Nasty Girl” from Vanity 6’s album Vanity 6 (released August 11, 1982).

Learn more about Vanity 6 – a girl group that was produced by Prince.

SHINee Minho and SHINee Key’s rapping cadence echoes…

Artist: Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock

Press Play to Hear “It Takes Two” from Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock’s album It Takes Two (released August 9, 1988).

Learn more about Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock, and read about how this song became a classic!

Happy Listening!

Works Cited

Leight, E. (2018, May 2). How American R&B songwriters found a new home in K-pop. Rolling Stone. Retrieved from https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/how-american-rb-songwriters-found-a-new-home-in-k-pop-627643/ 

 

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On The Passing of Jonghyun

Like many K-pop fans, the members of KPK: Kpop Kollective are extremely heavy at heart about the passing of Jonghyun. Both Kaetrena and I are Shawols, and just saw the group in Dallas.  We know that for many, SHINee was the group that introduced them to K-pop, and Jonghyun was not only an integral part of the group, but shared his songwriting gifts with others.  He will be deeply missed.

Kaetrena has written “A Little Less SHINe(e), The Big Loss of Bling,” for her blog The Ink on the Page, which I believe is entirely fitting.

It’s a K-pop Thing(Link)….

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

University of South Carolina Lancaster

You’ve finally convinced a friend/co-worker/parent/spouse/transit-seat partner/random stranger that your favorite group is worth taking a closer look at, and *gasp* they’ve asked a K-pop Fan Gateway Question (while feigning nonchalance): “which one is [member]”?

As a K-pop fan, you already know this game: such a question is already an indication that the questioner would like to know more…way more. But you don’t want to overwhelm them with information – rather, just give them a comprehensive overview of the group or member. You know…to “satisfy” (read: further ignite) their “casual” curiosity. To prepare for this moment – and help emerging K-pop fans everywhere – what can you do? Where can you send them?

Try ThingLink.

ThingLinklogo
Make K-pop artist overviews featuring websites, videos, and more using ThingLink.

ThingLink is a web and mobile application that allows its users to create interactive images and videos for use in social media, on websites, and more. Users can augment photos with links to websites, videos, audio, and more.   After images/videos are posted to ThingLink, community users can search for images and “Touch” (like) other interactive images and videos, too.

If you make ThingLinks for several groups from different entertainment companies, consider organizing them by Channels – a feature in ThingLink. You can also decide what you want everyone to see by choosing if your TLs will be public or private. One drawback: if you want browsing users to locate your work, you’ll need to make a title that has the search term(s) you think people will use since ThingLink doesn’t really make use of traditional hashtags as a finding aid.

ThingLink is free and also offers expanded options for different fees. It is available on Google Play and the App Store!

Here’s a ThingLink I made for …well, you know…(drag your mouse over the image to interact with it):

Enjoy!

P.S. Taemin is on second left. You know, in case you were wondering…casually. 🙂

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SHINee: It’s Another World

SHINee
SHINee

SHINee debuted in 2008 under the S.M. Entertainment label. During the same year, U-KISS, Davichi, and 2AM also debuted. SHINee has five members: Onew (Lee Jinki), Jonghyun (Kim Jonghyun), Key (Kim Kibum), Minho (Choi Minho) and Taemin (Lee Taemin). Known for their emotional songs, avant-garde fashion, and mastery of difficult choreography, SHINee call themselves a contemporary band who aims to set music, dance, and fashion trends around the world. . . . Click here to continue reading on KPOPIANA.