EWF bring fiery sounds to Seoul

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EWF bring fiery sounds to Seoul

Let’s face it, most Korean youths likely are not too familiar with American R&B band Earth, Wind & Fire. But play the song “September,” and chances are a light bulb will go off in their collective heads.

The story of EWF goes back to 1969, when the band formed in Chicago. Since then, EWF have sold over 90 million albums worldwide and currently rank as the seventh best-selling American band of all time. EWF also have 10 Grammy Awards and four American Music Awards and were inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

Despite a long and illustrious career that has included many international tours, the group has not appeared in Korea. Until now.

Forty years after its debut, EWF will hold its first show here on Thursday.

“It really took us a long time to get here,” Verdine White, bassist and one of the original members of the group, said in an interview with the JoongAng Daily. “We knew that our music was loved here, so we really did want to come. It is a thankful thing that our music is loved beyond language and race. We’ll try our best so that all can have a great time.”

The band’s music contains the diverse sounds of African, Latin American, funk, soul, pop and rock music, among other genres. Asked about the secret of their longevity, White gave credit to the fans.

“I guess our fans make it happen. If it weren’t for them, it would have been hard for us to keep up our passion for making music. We have been doing this for 40 years now, but still, whenever we hold our instruments and start to play, we see the joy and life that’s in each other’s eyes,” he said.

The veteran band is also doing all it can to keep up with the trends in the pop scene.

“But compared to the past, we see more experimental and new sounds. And we, too, are trying to keep up with the times by listening to many kinds of music,” White said.

Earth, Wind & Fire performs at 8 p.m. on Thursday at COEX Hall C, in southern Seoul. Tickets start at 55,000 won ($48). For reservations, visit ticket.interpark.com or call 1544-1555.

By Kim Hyung-eun [hkim@joongang.co.kr]

The American R&B band Earth, Wind & Fire - which includes, from left to right, Verdine White, Philip Bailey and Ralph Johnson- make their first appearance in Seoul on Thursday. Provided by the organizer
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