It’s already been four years since I arrived in Seoul for my study abroad program (am I that old already?) I was excited and ready to wander the city. It’s a good thing I did, because that’s how I discovered Hongdae. Hongdae is a very small neighborhood surrounding the artsy Hongik University; the site of Korea’s first punk band Crying Nut and where Korean indie music has lived for the past twenty-some years. The whole area surrounding Hongdae is in fact a hotspot for young people, as the nearby Yonsei University, Sogang University, and Ehwa Women’s University bring in more students and their college-aged friends.
Each year here at Michigan State, the Korean Student Organization puts on the Grand River Gayoje. Roughly meaning “song festival,” the Gayoje is a sort of talent show for local students to show off their musical talent, and a chance for the local community to enjoy some Korean pop culture. Performances range from the hottest K-pop dance hits to heartfelt ballads, and the KSO members themselves usually provide some entertainment as well.
This year’s Gayoje will be at the Pasant Theatre at the Wharton Center and is on Saturday, April 7th, 2012. Our very own Asian Invasion host Danny will be performing again, and I can’t wait to see his performance! Tune into the Asian Invasion tonight from 8 – 10 PM for your chance to win tickets to the Gayoje!
Jay Park, formerly known as Park Jaebeom of 2PM, just released New Breed, his first full-length studio album as a solo artist. New Breed is more than just a debut as a solo artist; it’s a symbol of all the hardships of being a K-pop artist in the spotlight, and Park’s personal expression.
After training hard for years, JYP Entertainment debuted brother groups 2PM and 2AM in September of 2008. 2PM was always the flashier, dance-driven group while 2AM focused on ballads, bringing 2PM into the spotlight and into the hearts of millions of tween girls around the world.
It was interesting to see my co-host Danny’s picks for the Top 10 K-Pop songs of 2011. I’d only met him last spring, scouting him out at KSO’s annual Korean “Gayoje” song festival, but in the several months that we’ve been hosting the Asian Invasion together, I’ve come to have a better understanding of his taste in music. Just as I was this year and probably will continue to be a sucker for sugary-sweet bubblegum pop (Hyuna’s “Bubble Pop!” was my #1 song), Danny seems to be a sucker for catchy hip-hop and fierce female vocalists.
Have a look yourself; it will be a completely different view of 2011 than my own, (with the exception of Sistar19′s “Ma Boy” and 2PM’s “Hands Up,” which made it onto both of our lists).
10] Phantom – “Hole In Your Face”
Phantom made it in time before the year ended, and they sure left quite an impression.