12 K-Pop Songs That Incorporate Elements Of Traditional Korean Culture

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As K-pop will get extra well-liked worldwide, there’s a curious pattern occurring: extra Korean artists are taking issues again to their cultural roots. Quite a lot of current K-pop releases have included recognizably East Asian parts (NCT’s Ten’s beautiful, instrumental “Dream in a Dream” is a beautiful instance), and lots of artists have been incorporating extra parts of particularly Korean tradition into their songs and MVs. While older K-pop acts reminiscent of Seo Taiji And Boys sampled from conventional Korean music, this follow all however disappeared till newer years. Now, we’re seeing extra hanbok-inspired outfits, sampling of folks melodies, and the fusion of conventional Korean devices into genres ranging from pop to hip-hop. So listed below are 12 songs that present how attractive, lit, and loopy cool K-pop might be when it embraces its Korean roots!

1. “Arario” — ToppDogg

ToppDogg’s “Arario” goes all out in the case of incorporating conventional Korean tradition into each the music and the music video. The music is fused with Korean devices, such because the gayageum (the stringed instrument that the ladies are enjoying within the prime picture of the collage above), numerous percussion devices, and a piri, or bamboo flute, which is outstanding within the monitor’s final 30 seconds. The MV showcases conventional folks efficiency kinds, like Korean masks dances and pungmul (additionally proven within the prime picture of the collage), which incorporates dancing, drumming, and singing. ToppDogg’s use of Korean hand followers and conventional masks intensify the cultural theme, and even the music’s title is a reference to the folks music “Arirang,” thought-about the nationwide anthem of Korea.

2. “IDOL” — BTS

After reaching large success worldwide, BTS introduced issues again to their Korean roots with tracks like their 2018 rap “Ddaeng” and their extra high-profile hit “IDOL.” In addition to African-inspired beats, “IDOL” makes use of a rhythm present in pansori, a conventional model of Korean storytelling set to music with a drum. “IDOL” additionally contains Korean devices reminiscent of the kkwaenggwari (brass gong), gakgung (horn bow), and janggu (conventional drum), and the group makes use of the phrase “eolssu,” an exclamation of encouragement that’s historically utilized in pansori, on the refrain. But BTS doesn’t cease there: the round leaping in their choreography is derived from folks pungmul dance, and the MV is stuffed with cultural references, from the normal structure to the members’ glossy hanbok-inspired garments. Hopefully the success of “IDOL” is paving the way in which for future K-pop acts to embrace extra Korean sounds!

3. “Shangri-La” — VIXX

“Shangri-La” is a masterpiece, largely as a result of it’s so stuffed with classical Eastern parts: the members of VIXX put on attractive, traditionally-influenced outfits as they dance their method by means of a breathtakingly aesthetic music video that pulls inspiration from an outdated Chinese fable known as “The Peach Blossom Land” (which is, in actual fact, the music’s Korean title). Plus, the music is layered with the gayageum, a conventional Korean stringed instrument that is most noticeable within the music’s distinctive intro. And, after all, we will’t neglect the beautiful choreography that creatively integrated using conventional hand followers. If you may’t get sufficient of “Shangri-La” within the MV under, positively try VIXX’s 2017 MBC Gayo performance, through which they totally embraced the normal theme!

4. “Niliria” — BIGBANG’s G-Dragon

“Niliria” was launched in 2013 as a part of G-Dragon’s “Coup d’Etat” album, and it blends samples of a conventional Korean folks music by the identical identify into its hip-hop vibe. You can hear the folks music particularly within the music’s intro and its bridge (beginning at 1:57 within the video under). Furthering the cultural fusion of hip-hop and Korean folks, G-Dragon determined to function the legendary American artist Missy Elliot on the only. Check out their lit efficiency from K-CON 2013:

5. “PIRI” — DreamCatcher

DreamCatcher infuses their attribute rock sound with a flute melody on “PIRI,” and the result’s as haunting as we’d anticipate for a monitor from an EP titled “The End of Nightmare.” The piri is a conventional Korean wind instrument, and whereas the conspicuous flute tune in DreamCatcher’s music is higher-pitched and clearer than the bamboo piri, the melodic reedy sound blended into the rock music of the refrain is extra like the normal piri sound.

6. “Follow” — MONSTA X

MONSTA X’s newest hit additionally incorporates conventional parts in its melody and its music video. Gorgeous hanbok-inspired outfits intensify the group’s attribute knife-like strikes on this explosive choreography. But what actually makes “Follow” so uniquely lit and infectious is the trumpeting, catchy tune that pulls you in on the music’s very opening and retains you hooked all through: it’s from the taepyeongso, a conventional Korean wind instrument.

7. “No Mercy” — B.A.P

While it’s primarily a hip-hop monitor, B.A.P’s “No Mercy” brings conventional affect into its dance break (at 2:36 within the music video), when the music makes use of samul nori, a sort of Korean folks percussion, for its rhythm. Samul nori contains using 4 totally different devices, two drums and two gongs, which may plainly be heard in “No Mercy” because the B.A.P members carry out choreo with some traditional-inspired parts, like after they leap within the air in a round formation. To add to its cultural depth, the music additionally contains raps within the Korean dialect from the Gyeongsang area in southeast Korea.

8. “Turtle Ship” — WINNER’s Song Mino, Andup, and Ja Mezz feat. Paloalto

“Turtle Ship” was produced by Block B’s Zico (who raps alongside Okasian and others on the music’s remix) for “Show Me The Money 4.” The music samples a backtrack of conventional instrumentals, and is even named after an necessary image of Korean tradition: the turtle ship was a sort of warship designed by the esteemed Korean Admiral Yi Sun Shin within the 16th century, and was used to combat off Japanese naval assaults.

9. “Hangover” — PSY feat. Snoop Dogg

Yes, severely. Funny and outrageous although it might be, PSY’s alcohol-infused “Hangover,” a music about consuming and partying it up method an excessive amount of, truly depends closely on some Korean devices: along with the normal percussion sounds, the horn-like taepyeongso additionally options prominently on this one. Plus, the MV is a walkthrough of some beloved trendy Korean areas reminiscent of eating places, comfort shops, karaoke rooms, and spas.

10. “The Chaser” — INFINITE

The cultural affect in INFINITE’s 2012 hit “The Chaser” is refined, but important to giving the music the distinctive sound that earned it a number of awards and far love. The high-pitched noise hovering over the music’s intro and raps is a string instrument known as the haegeum, which lends it a slight conventional really feel. The pre-chorus additionally makes use of an outdated Korean rousing chant (the phrase “eogiya diyeoracha” across the 36-second mark within the MV under) that can also be utilized in some Korean folks music (like this boating song).

11. “Fiancé” — WINNER’s Song Mino

“Fiancé” is experimental and eclectic in the very best method, as WINNER’s Song Mino brings collectively Korean music from throughout the ages. He samples from the 1969 trot music “Soyangang Maiden” (the half discovered within the intro of “Fiancé” might be heard on the 44-second mark here) along with pulling in conventional Korean instrumentals. Lyrically, Mino makes use of wordplay and cultural references left and proper, together with in the music’s Korean title: anaknae is an old style phrase for “lady” that particularly refers to one other man’s spouse (scandalous, Mino!). In the MV, Mino dons numerous conventional outfits, together with some royal wedding ceremony items from Korea’s Joseon Dynasty, as he searches for his lover amongst girls wearing seductive, purple variations of hanbok.

12. “LIT” — ONEUS

There’s no higher approach to spherical this record out than with a full-blown get together in a palace, and the MV for ONEUS’s “LIT” builds as much as simply that. The monitor is a walkthrough of Korean tradition, because the ONEUS members traverse totally different palace settings in quite a lot of conventional robes and hanbok-inspired outfits. The gayageum string instrument performs a outstanding melody within the backtrack, giving the music its catchy, distinctively Korean really feel, and the lyrics make use of a few of the similar older phrases as different songs on this record, reminiscent of “niliria and “eolssu.” The MV is a full cultural celebration full with folks dancers, Korean drums, and hand followers. We’d say the ONEUS members earned their spots on that throne!

Hey Soompiers, which of those traditional-inspired songs or MVs is your favourite? Which K-pop artists do you wish to see attempt a conventional idea subsequent? Let us know within the feedback!

hgordon stays up method too late on weeknights marathoning K-dramas and making an attempt to maintain up with the newest K-pop releases. Follow her adventures in Seoul on Instagram.

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