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From Leenalchi to its 'Tiger is Coming,' Korea's Gugak Takes A Hip Turn Updated: 2021-08-05 17:13:49 KST

Many of you may have seen their music video, caught clips of their dance moves, or heard their music this seven-member band with the name of Leenalchi has been taking the world by storm together with Korea's contemporary dance troupe to present a whole new style of Gugak, Korean traditional music and pansori, its storytelling performance.
Their hit "Tiger is Coming" is enjoying great popularity beyond Korea these days with their video nearly 600 million views on YouTube.

Gugak meets pop. It's the topic of our News In-depth with our music critic, Youngdae Kim, live in the studio.
Youngdae, good to have you on the show.

Leenalchi definitely caught the attention of many as their music showed us how Korea's traditional music could sound when combined with electronic dance beats and flamboyant dance moves.
Their latest release "Tiger is Coming" is an epitome of that. Tell us a bit about this song.

based on pansori Sugungga beat, addictive hook etc..

What is it about this particular number "Tiger is Coming" that's so appealing to fans of all ages and nationalities?
Leenalchi together with Ambigous Dance Company released this video a year and a half ago, but it's still making the rounds as more people can't stop watching it.

Leenalchi is not the first band to mix elements of traditional Gugak music with modern tunes and beats.
There's been a few, but they didn't manage to gain the global popularity that Leenalchi enjoys today.
What about them resonates with global fans?

The band describes themselves as a pop band that bases its music in gugak. Does that mean their style of music is different from other bands such as Jambinai? They're definitely different.
To me, Jambinai and other fusion gugak bands had more of an exotic and mysterious ambience to it as the unfamiliar tunes from traditional Korean instruments add that aspect when mixed with progressive rock and free jazz.
What would you say is their musical style? How are they different from other bands such as Jambinai that also fuse gugak into their music?

We can't speak of Leenalchi without their strong collaborator, the Ambiguous Dance Company, who dances to the tunes of Leenalchi's music. Their performance is ambiguous indeed and very quirky and humorous. What kind of a dance group is this? How does this dance element work in favor for Leenalchi?

How do you see the future of fusion gugak? I'm sure there will be many more Leenalchi-like bands to come, but what will it take for fusion gugak or pop gugak bands to succeed?

Are there any gugak bands that you think stands out in the industry? Which ones do you think have potential to go big globally?

Gugak has gone hip and continues to do so expanding its global presence. Youngdae Kim, thanks for your insights tonight. We appreciate it.
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