Sunday, 29 April 2012

Twinkle by 태티서 (TaeTiSeo) : Song Review and Cover

With the video still unreleased and the debut stage only a few days away, fans are already falling head over heels in love with SM Entertainment's recent new sub - group début : Girls Generation sub-unit : 태티서  (TaeTiSeo). 

TaeTiSeo itself as a name stands for the names of the members in the group; Girls Generation's leader TaeYeon as well as two of it's main vocalists Tiffany and SeoHyun. 

The group's debut mini-album was released worldwide on the Itunes store at midnight (Korea time) on the 28th of April and physical copies of the EP will be released later this week! 

There are no surprises in the fact that the single has all ready achieved "all-kill" status across most Korean music charts including: Melon, Bugs, Naver, Mnet, Daum and Naver. It is also holding the record for the highest peaking K-pop album, entering the US Itunes Album chart at #4! I won't lie and say I didn't have serious reservations when SM announced they'd be releasing a sub-group of Girls Gen. and these reservations further deepened when the title of the song, "Twinkle", was released....I thought..."Oh..this is a recipe for a candy-coated disaster!" I also wasn't whether jumping on the "sub-group" band wagon would do Girls Generation any favours - it seems I will be taking it all back following their recent successes - of which I'm sure, the majority have yet to come. 

 I actually really like the song - it has a catchy 80s-esque vibe and the cuteness is subtly balanced by the group's powerful vocal abilities. In fact, that's another reason I really like it. The song has "oomph!" for want of a better word! I feel it has really given the girls an opportunity to showcase the more powerful side of their voices, something which frequently gets left out when working in such a large group. 

One thing I was a little surprised by was Jessica's absence. She's not (as far as I'm aware) filming dramas or doing anything else that would mean her schedule was full so why, as lead vocalist with Taeyeon, hasn't she been included in what was so obviously set out as a demonstration of the power vocals within Girls Generation..... I am curious. Very curious. 

But anyway, we digress. Having already mentioned I liked the song, I confess that I liked it so much in fact that in my lunch break this afternoon, I even did my own cover of it! 
Check it out below~ Don't forget to head on over to youtube and let me know what you think!

On another note...I apologise for all the hair flicking... I have come to a cross roads yet again where I do not know whether to recut my hair to the blunt fringe, grow it into one of the side things or just leave it the moment, due to exams, it is being left to do as it pleases...which seemingly, is getting in my eyes! Thoughts / suggestions are welcomed!! :D 

I'm getting quite excited as when exams are over (in 3 weeks), I will have one week in London before heading home to Switzerland and then.... I'll be off to Korea!!! Yay~~~ I'll probably blog a lot while I'm there so closer to the time, I'll start spamming you all with blog links and requesting blog title suggestions!! :D 

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

All Eyes On Korea : Launch

In light of the upcoming Olympics, the Korean Cultural Centre (KCC) in London has put together a fantastic program to promote Korean culture over the summer. All Eyes On Korea is a '100 day summer festival' that will last from June through to September this year. 

As the 100-day countdown to the Olympics began, today I attended the official press launch at the KCC which featured an introduction to the festival and a taster of what is to come in June by Paul Wadey, PR Officer at the KCC.  We were told that the festival was inspired by the five colours of Korea, each representing North, East, South, West and Centre. It is hoped that the festival will provide the perfect opportunity to continue the spread of the Hallyu wave and showcase all things Korean - from K-pop to K-classic, Korean fashion to Korean food, Korean art to Korean literature and much, much more. 

In a previous blog post, I mentioned some of the risks faced by focusing Korean cultural promotion too much on K-pop and how this left Korea at risk of losing out on other groups of people who would potentially be interested in different aspects of Korean culture. Well, with a jam-packed program such as this - there is no risk of anyone being left out. 

In the presentation, we were given some rather interesting statistics. For example, non-Korean visitors make up 81.4% of the total and of all the visitors, 35% have visited more than 4 times. 70.5% of visitors were between 18-39 but in addition, around 10% were over 60 - demonstrating the centre's ability to appeal to all ages. 

Continuing to demonstrate this appeal are the events that will be forming the schedule for this summer's 100 day festival. 

On the Korean art front, Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa will be presenting an outdoor installation at the Southbank Centre which will be there throughout the summer. In addition, this summer the Hayward Gallery will become a temporary summer school; "Wide Open School" is an intriguing experiment into 'what would happen if a school's curriculum was driven by the imagination of artists'. The school will run from mid-June to mid-July and will feature Korean artist Lee Bul. From mid-July, the KCC will run it's own exhibition entitled "Korean Funerary Figures: Companions for the journey to the other world" which will feature 19th and 20th century Kokdu used to decorate funeral biers. 

The main Korean literary event of the summer will see 'Poetry Parnassus' taking place at the Southbank Centre. Poets from each competing Olympic nation have been invited to participate in  the UK's largest ever poetry festival and will present the works of Korean poet, Kim Hyesoon. 

From literature to performing arts, the KCC is covering it all. On the 23rd of July, Be-being's korean music mask project, "Yi-myun-gong-jak", will be performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. This concert of traditional  Korean music will include performances of original compositions as well as reinterpretations of traditional Korean mask plays and is definitely something not to be missed!

Another Korean musical extravaganza hitting the London stage on the 28th of July is "Walkabout", presented by GongMyoung, a Korean quartet who perform traditional Korean music with a contemporary music. In a single performance, the audience will hear the sounds of up to 30 different instruments. Having performed all over the world, their arrival is the UK is long overdue so again, definitely worth watching! 

For a full schedule of the other musical events taking place - stay tuned to the KCC website! 

'All Eyes on Korea' will conclude with Korea's stage at the Mayor's Thames Festival on the 8th and the 9th of September later this year. The stage will feature a full programme of events, performances and workshops  for all the family. 

It sounds truly fantastic (and I only wish I was in the country for it!!!)  

At the conclusion of the presentation, I went outside and happened to bump into some friends of mine.... 

As part of the launch, LOKO's Caroline and Deanna led a number of students from the K-pop Academy and other numerous volunteers on a flashmob tour of London all morning. After the press launch, I joined the crew on the very brightly decorated 'All Eyes On Korea' bus to continue the flash mob tour...

We were joined on the bus by some Korean news film crews ! 

However, due to a timely downpour, our tour was cut short and we had to head back to the KCC early! 

On our return, we all sat down to watch a concert DVD and then, before we knew it, it was time to prepare for 태국기 (TaeGukGi), the fourth Korean night hosted by the KCC....(T.B.C)

*For those interested in getting more involved with the KCC-hosted events over the course of the summer, you're in luck as they're currently looking for supporters to help with and attend the events so don't hesitate to get in touch - here's some more information below!