by Gerry Krzic (K-41; 1977-80)
Summer: a time for vacations and reunions...a time for FOK members to relax at the beach listening to K-pop -- a major part of Hallyu (한류) - the Korean wave.
Hallyu (한류) has been going strong in many parts of Asia for over a decade.
However, except for fervent followers of K-pop or fans in the Asian-American community, the Hallyu hadn’t really caught fire in mainstream America until PSY came along last summer with Gangnam Style (강남스타일). While people may be tired of hearing "오빠, 강남스타일," there is no doubt that PSY is now a part of American culture and wedding celebrations will never be the same -- move over Chicken Dance and Macarena.
The spread of 강남스타일 throughout the U.S. surprised me. When the song first came out in the summer of 2012, my daughter, a fervent K-pop fan, asked me what I thought. "Cute, but a "one-hit wonder," I said with extreme confidence. "It'll never catch on in America." Then, a few weeks ago, while on summer vacation, my nephew, who has never been to Korea and knows little about the country, told me how much he likes PSY's newest song "Gentlemen" (젠틀맨) and then proceeds to do the dance steps. Now, I am thinking, "This can't be possible."
PSY posted 강남스타일 on YouTube in 2012 and by summer of 2013 has had over 1.7 billion views! The big question is: How did PSY make it in the U.S. while all the other K-pop acts such as Rain and the Wonder Girls have fallen short? Is he seen as a novelty? Is it the music? The best explanation I have found to date is here.
Interesting. My prediction for PSY is a "two-hit wonder," but I have been wrong before.
Many FOK members will remember some of the golden songs of the past before K-pop. Too bad the world seems to have missed great Korean singers such as:
* Yang Hee Eun's (양희은) 1970's hit 아침이슬.
* Han Dae Soo's (한대수) 1974 classic 행복의 나라로
* Lee Sun Hee's (이선희) 1984 popular J에게
* Kim Kwang Seok's (김광석) 1990's 나의 노래
Check Out the Latest K-pop
FOK blog post by Gerry Krzic (K-41)
Results of the Survey
Yang Hee Eun (양희은) was the winner of our survey. So, we offer one more selection of hers from a mid-90's television performance: "When I'm 40 Years Old (내 나이 마흔살에는)."