Saturday, December 6, 2014

My Korean Roots: Africanisms in Kpop and Korean Hip-Hop

   Though I am an American-born citizen, I learned Korean first and so was more familiar with the Korean culture at an early age; plus, my parents were both born in Korea, so I was mostly exposed to Korean culture at home. So, naturally, I was more prone to listening to Korean music. I liked Kpop and hip-hop growing up because it was very upbeat and rhythmic, much like the elements that make up Afrobeat. 
   Afrobeat is a combination of Ghanaian and Nigerian music, which became popular in Africa in the 70s. It was Fela Kuti that coined the actual term 'Afrobeat' to describe this mix. Some Africanisms that are used in Afrobeat (polyrhythms, call-and-response, improvisation, and repetition) and used in many songs that we hear today, including Kpop. Though the language might be different, Kpop still utilizes many of the same elements as African music. 
   Gradually, as I started attending school, I became more interested in American music, but still gravitated towards hip-hop and pop. No matter what language or culture the music might be in, the musical techniques are the same; there's a chorus that's repeated couple times, there's the main singer who sings a question, for example, and then be answered by backup singers, etc. The Africanisms in Afrobeat can be seen in almost any type of music around the world. 

                                                                                                                                                  - Joy Kim 

No comments:

Post a Comment