K-Pop Invasion in the Philippines

It seems anything Korean or commonly known as the hallyu wave is in these days.

From soap operas, restaurants to beauty products, Korean culture has won the Filipinos’ hearts. Who could forget Koreanovelas like the Endless Loveseries, Lovers in Paris, Full House and Stairway to Heaven? 

Not to be outdone is the Korean music, better known as Kpop. Thanks to YouTube, Korean cable TV and music download, Filipinos are exposed to Korea’s finest singers and groups. As a Kpop follower, I came up with a list of eight Kpop singers and groups many Filipinos are familiar with and will hear from in the future.

BoA — One of South Korea’s top female singers. She has topped the charts in Korea, Japan and released an album in the US. She collaborated with western artists such as Westlife and Howie Dorough of the Backstreet Boys and was cited as an Influential Artist in the 2004 MTV Asia Awards.

2NE1 — With Sandara Park (known as the Pambansang Krung-Krung) as one of its members, the group is fast becoming popular in the country thanks to songs such as Lollipop, Fire and I Don’t Care. Sandara, now known as Dara, released the song Kis featuring Lee Min Ho (Gu Jun Pyo of Boys Over Flowers) to promote Korean beer brand Cass.

Rain — Known to Filipino audience as Justin of the hit romantic-comedy Full House, Rain is Korea’s latest export in the international entertainment industry. He was cited by Time Magazine as one of the 100 “Most Influential People Who Shape the World Award” andPeople Magazine named him one of the Most Beautiful People in its “First-Time Beauties 2007” section. Aside from being a singer-actor, Rain heads his own company J. Tune Entertainment and dabbles in fashion with his clothing line Six to Five. He broke into Hollywood viaSpeed Racer and will be seen in the movie Ninja Assassin, produced by the Wachowski brothers, the duo behind The Matrix trilogy.

Wonder Girls — Filipinos by now could not stop singing the group’s hit song Nobody. With its catchy tune and ’60s theme musicvideo, the Wonder Girls composed of Yubin, Yenny, Sohee, Sunye and Sunmi have invaded the US where they are now touring with the Jonas Brothers. Their song,Nobody, debuted in the Billboard charts last October, making them the first Korean group to do so.

SS501 —The group composed of Hyun Joong, Young Saeng, Jung Min, Kyu Joong and Hyung Jun debuted in 2005 with the song Warning and Snow Prince. They also invaded the Japanese music industry and even recorded a TV show SS501: The Mission. The group’s popularity further rose due to the showBoys Over Flowers which was aired all over Asia. In the show, Hyun Joong played the quiet, musically-inclined Yoon Ji-Hoo while three of the members performed the songs Because I am Stupidand Making A Lover, included in the Boys Over Flowers soundtrack. After a year and seven months hiatus, the group released the mini album Rebirth, and is currently touring Asia for their Persona Tour. Their single A Song Calling for You (LaLaLa) is in the Top 20 of MYX’s international charts.

Super Junior —They are considered the largest boyband with 13 members. They are one of the many Korean groups to go beyond singing and dancing with many of its members involved in acting and other activities such as anime voice recording. Although they have three albums, it was their third album Sorry, Sorry that brought them commercial success.

Shinee — Known as one of Korea’s R&B boybands, Shinee debuted in 2008 with mini-album Replay. The group has won many awards including the Best Newcomer at the 18th Seoul Music Awards and participated in various concerts including the Dream Concert in the Seoul Olympic Stadium alongside other groups such as Girl Generation, Wonder Girls and Super Junior last year. They also released the album The Shinee World and recorded songs like Stand By Me,included in the Boys Over Flowers soundtrack andBodyguard, used for the promotion of Samsung’s Anycall mobile phone featuring Kim Bum and Kim So Eun. The group is also known for its fashion sense dubbed as the “Shinee trend,” which led to endorsements for Reebok and Korean Cosmetic Company Nana B. Filipino fans will get the chance to see the group when they perform in Manila this month at the Korean Culture Festival.

Girls Generation — Composed of nine female members, fans often refer them as SNSD which is short for the group’s Korean name So Nyeo Shi Dae or So Nyuh Shi Dae. Like other groups, the members of Girls Generation are trained in various aspects of the performing arts. Their second mini-album Tell Me Your Wish (Genie) was recently released with the song of the same name as its carrier single. The group also has its own TV series and endorses various products in Korea.

With the continued craving for anything Korean, Filipinos will continue to hear and see more Kpop artists in the coming years.

The Korean pop invasion
By Alexa Villano (The Philippine Star)


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