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France indulges in Korean culture, pop music

2011/05/06 | 845 views |  | Permalink | Source

European K-pop fans in front of the Louvre Pyramide for a rally requesting an additional K-pop concert on May 1 (Photo: Yonhap News)
In the 60s, Koreans admired French chanson songs and used to sing along to popular tunes such as Edith Piaf's "La Vie en Rose" and "Hymne à L'amour". After a half century, it is now French teens who hum along with K-pop and ardently practice the dance moves of famous Korean idol groups like SHINee and Super Junior.

Korean pop music, which has become increasingly popular throughout Asia over the last decade, is now mesmerizing European music fans. The power of word of mouth and the ripple effect of online media like YouTube have been a major driving force for K-pop in the European market. This enthusiasm has often led to Hallyu fans craving other Korean cultural contents and learning the Korean language. Nowadays, the Korean Cultural Center (www.coree-culture.org) in Paris bustles with curious locals eager to learn more about Korea.

European fans hold rally for extension of K-pop concert in Paris

Last Sunday, the Louvre Museum's Pyramide turned into the venue for a rally for over 300 European K-pop fans that were unable to get tickets to the first K-pop concert in Paris and organized a flash mob. Among them were K-pop lovers who flew in from other European countries just to participate in the flamboyant "protest" for a concert extension. The participants of this unusual rally played their favorite songs while singing and dancing along.

SMTown Live World Tour in Paris on June 10, hosted by one of Korea's leading entertainment agencies, SM Entertainment, will be the first K-pop concert ever in France. It will feature artists like Dong Bang Shin Ki, Super Junior, Girls' Generation (SNSD), SHINee and f(x). Tickets for the concert sold out within 15 minutes of the online sale release on April 26. Thousands of fans who couldn't buy tickets "picketed" online by signing a petition requesting an additional concert before creating the flash mob.

The organizer announced on May 2 that the company staff is currently reviewing the possibility of adding another concert to the schedule.

French Hallyu fan club "Korean Connection" visits Korea

On April 9, 54 members of the French Hallyu fan club "Korean Connection" visited Korea for their Easter holiday. Their two-week journey included a visit to the recording center for KBS's Music Bank and a meeting with SHINee. The French visitors, mostly women in their late teens and early twenties, hoped that their visit would help convince Korea's music agencies to take a bigger interest in the European market. They were accompanied by journalists from "Le Monde" and the youth-oriented TV station M6, who were invited by the Korea Tourism Organization.

Korean Connection members at a meeting with Korean boy group, SHINee (Photo courtesy of the Korea Tourism Organization)

Choe Junho, Director of the Korean Cultural Center in Paris said he was surprised by their enthusiasm, even though he's overseen exchange projects for more than 15 years. He added that he hoped the current Hallyu fever in France would not fade quickly.

Members of Korean Connection will organize the "1st Grand Korean Festival: Korean Connection 2011" under the slogan "Let's meet Korea" on May 8 at Espace Champerret, the first such event held in Europe. For more information, please visit the official website at: www.koreanconnection.org (English and French) or www.facebook.com/concertkpop.

By Hwang Dana
Korea.net Staff Writer

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