Cover your ears, it’s an online star launch

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Cover your ears, it’s an online star launch

The Internet keeps being used as a launching pad to overnight fame. The latest launch passengers are two people, a Korean woman and a Russian man, though the latter may not know it yet.
The first case is Han Jang-hee, who has been dubbed “Ms. Elf.” Ms. Han posted a photo of herself wearing a scanty Red Devils outfit on her personal Cyworld Web site. A visitor to her Web site re-posted her photo on his own site, along with a photo of an elven character like those featured in online games. Ms. Han went from being an unknown model to become the talk of the town. Sales for the hiphop group IF’s album, which features her on its cover, shot up.
Ms. Han has since shut down her Web site and has been unavailable to the media.
Case number two involves the Russian singer Vitas Bumac. Video clips of Mr. Bumac, generally identified only by his first name, singing on Russian television have been widely circulated through blogs here and have become one of the most popular video clips on the Internet. The Russian musician has even been given a nickname ― Mr. Ajaeng.
It’s hard to understand why Vitas was given this name without listening to his singing. (Vitas’s Web site, http://vitas.com/ru, has an English link that provides music video clips.)
The 25-year-old singer begins his songs by singing relatively normally, but in the middle of every song, he launches into high soprano, shrieking “ahhh” in such a way that it would send shivers down the spine of the Phantom of the Opera. Vitas, however, is is less entrancing. In one of his music videos, a mirror shatters when he begins his high-pitched “aria” part of the song.
After his nickname became popular, some people noted that perhaps the person who first dubbed him mixed up the ajaeng ― a Korean stringed instrument with a very low pitch ― with the haegeum, another stringed instrument that makes sounds nearly as high-pitched as Vitas’s voice.
“At first I thought it was hilarious, but strangely, there is something addictive about his singing which makes me want to listen to it again,” one Internet user confessed.
Vitas, who entered the Asian market last year, has not yet made his official debut in Korea, and may not even know (before this article is published) that he has become such a hit here.


by Wohn Dong-hee
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