The long awaited return of chanting

Home > National >

print dictionary print

The long awaited return of chanting

The author is the head of the Innovation Lab of the JoongAng Ilbo
Singer PSY’s performance at Sungkyunkwan University festival earlier this month became a viral video. As if venting out the pains of social distancing measures that lasted for so long, the audience sang and danced together.

The spectacle was made possible as the Covid-19 social distancing measures and the ban on chanting were lifted after two years from March 2020.

Chanting is the act of singing along loudly. It has the same meaning as “jechang,” or chorus, in the dictionary.

However, jechang is now mostly used when singing the national anthem or “The March for the Beloved” at official events. The definition of chanting searched in the news archive can be found from the interview with singer Lee Jeong-son in the Munhwa Ilbo on May 12, 1992. “I firmly refuse the events if I am invited with many other singers, and we appear as if it is a flash fashion show or we have to chant in unison.”

It was around the late 2000s that “chanting” appears in the media in the meaning that we use today — audiences singing along — when Pentaport Rock Festival and other events started.

Until the early 2000s, Korea was not a place with enough ticket power to hold a rock festival and pay many foreign musicians. Avid music fans would spend much more for airfares and accommodation to visit music festivals abroad, such as in Japan. So fans were thrilled to attend rock festivals where they can see performances by foreign musicians on multiple stages. Korean audiences responded with extraordinary group chanting.

In the Covid-19 era, pop concerts had been banned while classical performances and musicals were allowed. Because of the group chanting, the virus may spread via droplets. When the performance industry protested, the disease control authorities allowed events with a of maximum 4,000 people and prohibiting group singing in June 2021.  

However, only a month later, indoor and outdoor events in venues other than registered concert halls in non-capital regions had to be banned due to a resurgence in Covid cases. It practically banned pop concerts held in stadiums and arenas. On the day that singer Na Hoon-a’s Busan concert was canceled, the new confirmed cases nationwide were 1,838. Na Hoon-ah’s national tour has now resumed. The chanting has returned. Now I can breathe a little.
Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)