Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"Oh, yodelling is big in Korea"

Rain's Coming. That is, Korean superstar Rain is about to land in the US. He's got the looks, and the dance moves.

Right: a 2006 video of Rain's--probably pirated, so won't be on youtube forever--called Sad Tango.

My only question is: will (non-Asian-)Americans accept a non-English singing star? A related question is: can an Asian be cool enough for Americans--and is Rain even trying to be cool (or is he doing something new altogether)? Too bad I don't speak Korean.

I found an interview (in English), with a German newspaper, with the young man named Rain (myspace), who talked about the emerging pan-Asian entertainment scene, and compared it with Europe's:

"When I go to Japan, I sing something in Japanese. Lots of Korean artists do this. There is hardly anybody who sings in a foreign language at home though, unlike in Europe, where everybody sings in English – that sort of thing is rare in Korea. But when we tour abroad, we try to fit in."

Rain is straightforward about his sources: He's taken a lot from African American music, especially Michael Jackson. But this is no minstrel show: look at the dance moves (video, above: fast forward around 1 minute)--this is a cross between hip-hop (which in turn is a mix of disco dancing and African dance), tango (which crosses European folk dances with African rhythms), and taekwondo (homegrown Korean martial art). In other words, Rain's is as international as it gets.

Americans, to our discredit, rarely dig international, preferring someone who talks like us, and plays the game like us.

One more thing. This is just pure joy: Rain has learned to yodel in the Swiss style.
"Oh, yodelling is big in Korea. There's a very old yodelling tradition. I had a very good teacher, Suh Yong-rhul. He's Korea's most famous yodeller, and travels regularly to Switzerland to learn the best techniques from local yodellers there."
Here's a sound clip from a recent Korean movie. This is wild stuff.


At 12:19 PM, March 23, 2007, Blogger staceyhoff said...

I just tried to yodel right now, had to do it! Stop laughing at me!!;)


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