We forecast a spring and summer of hot beats
In August last year, a crowd of more than 2000 gathered at the Seoul Arts Center to see Los Van Van, a salsa band from Cuba. The concert hall was hot with Latin rhythms that night. The performance of Los Van Van was a revelation to Koreans, who usually think of the more sedate Buena Vista Social Club whenever Cuban music is mentioned. Since the local appetite for exotic forms of dance music has grown.
The artist who will lead the march into Seoul is Youssou N’dour from Senegal, Africa. He will perform on March 1 at the LG Arts Center.
N’dour is known for his contribution to popularizing world music. The African artist has created a distinctive genre called mbalax, which is a mixture of West African and Cuban music.
N’dour’s popularity has been centered in England and France since the mid-1980s. He has been a frequent nominee at the Grammys since the early 1990s.
Also in March, Chucho Valdes from Cuba will be making his second visit to Korea.
Valdes is one of Cuba’s best Afro-Cuban jazz musicians and has won three Grammy awards.
Although no dates have been confirmed, Korean entertainment companies are working to bring Milton Nascimento of Brazil and Oscar D’Leon of Venezuela to Korea.
Nascimento is considered to be one of the top Brazilian pop artists of this century. Artists such as Manhattan Transfer and Wayne Shorter have played his work.
So why are such musicians suddenly visiting Korea? The biggest factor was when Los Van Van’s concert last year made a bigger impact than expected.
The concert’s success made entertainment companies realize the potential of such musicians. In addition the industry already believed that the market was oversaturated with jazz and pop artists. Many of the top pop singers and jazz musicians have visited Korea and it was also difficult to meet the guarantees and conditions of their visit here.
“One could say this is the year of world music, considering the number of world artists that are coming to Korea,” said Song Gi-cheol, a pop music critique. “The strong characteristics of music from different parts of the world are likely to contribute to diversifying Korea’s music.”
By Jung Hyun-mok JoongAng Ilbo [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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