Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Korean Trot Music

Remember my post a long time ago about dancing with the crazy old ladies on the boat? I tried to describe the music then, eventually giving up and saying it's impossible.

Well, this is what it was like. . . except faster. This is what old people listen to here. You hear it in taxis, on the street, on outdoor stages for open-air shows, and (worst of all) on loudspeakers in otherwise nice parks. Really, the only thing to do when you hear music like this (not unlike disco and certain kinds of country music) is to get out your pointer fingers and dance. Listen in particularly to the slow vibrato and the quirks in vocalisation -- trot singers (that's what it's called) imitate this style right across the board.

The best thing about this musical style is that it's usually VERY easy to sing, which makes it a smash hit in the karaoke bars (noraebang here -- singing room). Sometimes you hear a song on the radio and you think the radio play is just a formality: this song was totally written to go straight to the karaoke bar and become a sing-along hit. Kind of like sometimes in N. America you hear a song and you go "wow. That song must have a GREAT video," or sports broadcasters justify a player with poor skills by saying, "He's GREAT in the clubhouse! A real glue guy!" Here we go. This is what we danced to on the boat that day, not the exact song, but this tempo, and EXACTLY this sound.

Here's a picture from that brilliant day.

This is Shiina Ringo, my favourite Japanese artist so far. She's fun as anything! She reminds me of Bjork with guitars.

and holy cow there's a lot going on in this video (spanish subtitles, fun as anything music, a japanese artist flaunting cultural stereotypes with MTV editing. . . interesting.)

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