Have you even heard of K-Pop? If you have, it is more than the songs of PSY, the solo artist whose song “Gangnam Style” went viral with over 2 billion views on YouTube. K-Pop is more about Korean culture and the artists, and, the most surprising thing, is that K-Pop has a high popularity in Latin America — specifically, Peru and Chile.
The are many reasons why K-Pop is now rising to popularity. From the catchy tunes and the artists’ good looks, but the success of K-Pop is also attributed to their personalities and the numerous behind-the-scenes documentaries. Korean dramas, also called K-dramas, has immensely helped K-Pop become bigger in Latin America, since singers often appear both in the music and acting industry.
Almost all K-dramas are subbed in Spanish by the fans themselves in order to share their love of Korean culture. In fact, K-Pop continues to be so popular that in 2013 some Peruvian barbers were offering K-Pop inspired haircuts!
Maria Gonzalez, 16, explains why she loves K-Pop, “I like it so much because of their music are so fun and upbeat to hear. They’re much more modest and it’s not that sexual like American pop music.”
“It also helps that they are so handsome and beautiful,” adds Maria.
It might seem confusing for Latin American fans to listen to K-Pop where the language and their culture are so different from each theirs. But some might be surprised at the two main similarities: family and language.
Within Korean culture, family is very important as it is not unusual for young people to continue to live with their families until they are married, which is usually not until their 30s. This might seem familiar with Latino culture as families are generally filled with parents, children, grandparents, with even aunts and uncles.
In addition, both Korean and Spanish share deep respect for elders just as Latinos do, so language is important. For example, we have had to have a mood of communication where are you words to those above us the chance to send the word usted to a professor.
“They might speak and sing in a different language,” says Marissa Montes, “But us fans feel the happy energy and charisma of our favorite group and artists. This is literally the case of when music has no boundaries.”
Whether you are into Korean culture, K-Pop is worth giving a shot. Bands like BOYFRIEND, JYJ, super Junior, Big Bang, and 2NE1 are worth a listen.