…temporarily. The announcement about BTS was made on Twitter by their South Korean management company and label Big Hit Entertainment. Don’t stress AMRY, they’ll be back together in a couple of months!
Big Hit says the kings of pop need time to regroup and recharge their batteries. The announcement followed another dazzling display of their finely-tuned pop skills at the Lotte Family Festival, a local gig they’ve been supporting for many years, in Seoul.
“We would like to announce that for the first time since their debut, BTS will be going on an official and extended period of rest and relaxation.”
“The power break will provide “an opportunity for the members of BTS, who have relentlessly driven themselves towards their goal since their debut, to recharge and prepare to present themselves anew as musicians and creators.”
“This will also provide them with a chance to enjoy the ordinary lives of young people in their 20s, albeit briefly.”
BTS, aka. Bangtan Boys are now among the most recognisable 20-somethings on the planet, as part of the world’s hottest pop band (known in South Korea in K-Pop speak as an ‘idol’ group).
BTS is RM, Jin, j-hope, Suga, V, Jimin and Jung Kook.
Debuting in 2013, the road to success hasn’t been particularly easy. In the world of music there would be no fiercer competition than in K-Pop. And for many years BTS were not regarded as a threat to the K-Pop crowns. But the seven young men, on their own terms, made their way into K-Pop history and then, significantly, broke through the bamboo ceiling and into world mainstream pop music – in charts, in albums, in fandom – in almost every measurable way.
BTS shattered the jinx that bedeviled K-pop for decades – breaking into Western markets where being Asian has made it almost impossible to break into the top echelons of the white and shiny Western pop world. They’ve sold out multiple stadium tours in the world’s capitals, won awards in multiple music markets, addressed the UN and been on all the big variety shows in the US and other countries. And they’ve done most of this in the past four years – there was one particular album and series of songs/music videos that propelled them from K-Pop wannabes to international stardom.
Most of this success has been by weaponising the BTS fandom, better known as ARMY. The pop world has never known such numbers of support for a single group of fans. This has been harnessed through clever use of social media, cinematic music videos, members sharing personal Twitter updates and an ‘organic’ approach to reaching out to their listeners. Some of it is gritty, most of it is fun, but mostly the social media paints a picture of seven young men with extraordinary talent reaching out to a world with a strong message. There is a BTS ‘universe’ and theme which twists its way through the playlist, some of the albums are based on poetry and world literature.
Somehow BTS has been able to go deep and meaningful whilst beating a pop, R&B and hip-hop rhythm throughout.
In terms of caparisons, mostly unfair, BTS are the first act to register three number one spots on the Billboard album chart since The Beatles IN ONE YEAR.
Going to a BTS concert is an eye-opener where packed stadiums wave their Army Bombs (sounds scary, but that’s the name of the lightsticks the BTS fandom wave around at concerts) and sing along, mostly in Korean!
Whilst their mostly famous for their well-crafted music (that they variously contribute to in terms of writing and production), skilled vocals and sharp choreography, anyone following them must be amazed at how they’ve stayed together for nearly seven gruelling years in the world pop scene. Seven highly talented and creative individuals working together in ANY field for such a long time, under the microscope of the music and celebrity world, is almost unheard of.
They genuinely enjoy each other’s company and support the many solo projects of their team members. You not only get to hear great music, watch astonishing music videos and dazzling dance routines. You also get to see seven young men having a great time, always faithful and thankful to their ARMY.
There is certainly no other pop act in history that has SO much video material online, in terms of sheer numbers of files and views. Apart from the music videos there are also dance practices, arguments, behind-the-scenes glimpses, makings-of videos, trips overseas. Their most popular YouTube video is the music video of ‘DNA’.
There are many other of their music videos receiving 300, 400, 500,600 million views. There’s no shortage of choice for the fans whilst the septet are having a short break.
The temporary break has been met mostly with a lot of support from their ARMY fanbase…
“Huhuhu, I’m so happy for all of them that they deserved that vacation.”
“Finally, the lovely boys are getting their vacation.”
“The boys who taught us to love ourselves are now having a vacation they deserve. I’m crying.”
This ARMY should NOT be messed with…
“Leave them alone (whilst they vacation), don’t make me fly to Korea to break your kneecaps if ya’ll do something stupid.”
BTS have their next stadium tour date in Saudi Arabia on October 11, along with two other recently announced Seoul stadium concerts as well. So they won’t be away too long.
And whilst they’ve certainly earned the break, the first real break since they debuted back in June 2013, they have become some of the wealthiest 20-somethings in the world so they’ll be taking their break in style.
In June, Big Hit became South Korea’s ninth unicorn – an unlisted company valued more than US$1 billion, according to Seoul brain trust the Hyundai Economic Research Institute. That success is almost solely on the back of the success of BTS.
The group currently has a Concert film out, ‘Bring The Soul’, here’s a quick preview…
Green Day heading back to BKK in 2020
Green Day, five-time Grammy Award winners, are embarking on a global tour in 2020, including a stop-over in Bangkok during March. The rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame inductees will perform a series of concerts throughout Europe, UK, North America and Asia.
“Green Day Live in Bangkok” takes place on March 11, 2020 at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani. But it’s not their first time. Green Day sold out concerts in their last Thai live gigs in 1996 and 2010.
Formed in 1986 in Berkeley, California, Green Day is one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time, with more than 70 million records sold worldwide and 10 billion cumulative online streams of their music and performances. Their 1994 breakout album “Dookie” is widely credited with popularising and reviving mainstream interest in punk rock, catapulting a career-long run of No 1 hit singles.
In 2004, Green Day released the rock opera “American Idiot”, selling more than 7 million copies in the US alone and taking home the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album. In 2010, a stage adaptation of “American Idiot” debuted on Broadway to critical and commercial acclaim. Entertainment Weekly called Green Day, “The most influential band of their generation,” while Rolling Stone said, “Green Day have inspired more young bands to start than any act this side of KISS, and that doesn’t seem to be changing.”
Green Day Live in Bangkok 2020 is on March 11, 2020 at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani.
Ticket prices start at 2,000 baht and tickets go on sale on November 2 at all ThaiTicketMajor outlets via www.livenation.co.th or www.thaiticketmajor.com or call: 02 262 3838 for more information.
SOURCE: The Nation
The K-pop Olympics: performers battle in the K-pop festival
On the streets, in parks and garages, seven Cuban youngsters spent seven months practising K-pop moves to secure a spot on their dream stage: an appearance in South Korea to imitate their idols. 13 final teams from 80 countries are competing in the 2019 event.
At the grandly titled and government-funded Changwon K-pop World Festival contestants from around the globe perform imitation dances or sing cover versions of the genre’s biggest hits, with thousands of fans cheering them on.
In terms of global heft, South Korea is overshadowed by its much larger neighbours China and Japan, but the event is a way for Seoul to derive soft power from one of the country’s biggest cultural exports. In terms of pop-power, South Korea’s K-Pop is now a recognised world-wide music phenomenon with bands like BTS and Blackpink figuring amongst the other big-hitters on the Billboard charts and outselling their western counterparts with millions of albums and downloads.
Finalists for this year
Cuba’s Communist government is one of North Korea’s few remaining allies: when President Miguel Diaz-Canel, successor to the Castro brothers Fidel and Raul, visited Pyongyang last November he was only the third foreign head of state to do so since leader Kim Jong Un inherited power in 2011.
But rather than geopolitics, Havana performer Karel Rodriguez Diaz – whose mannerisms and sleek hairstyle could easily be mistaken for those of a K-pop star – is more motivated by high-tempo beats and superslick dance moves.
“We never had a place with a mirror or a choreographer who could teach us the steps” but they kept on practising, he said.
His team-mate Elio Gonzalez added: “We are so excited to represent not just Cuba but also the whole of Latin America.”
Some 6,400 teams from more than 80 countries entered the competition, according to organisers, with 13 groups from places as diverse as Kuwait and Madagascar winning through to the final in Changwon, where they appeared on stage waving their national flags.
“This is like watching the Olympics, a K-pop Olympics,” said the event’s host Lia, a member of K-pop group ITZY.
The Korean Wave
K-pop – along with K-drama soap operas – has been one of South Korea’s most successful cultural exports to date. A key part of the “Korean Wave” which has swept Asia and beyond in the last 20 years, the K-pop industry is now estimated to be worth $5 billion, with boyband BTS its latest high-profile exponent, becoming the world’s most successful band in the past 12 months, selling out stadium concerts within minutes, around the world.
The South Korean government has financed a variety of K-pop themed events in what CedarBough Saeji, a visiting professor at Indiana University Bloomington in the US, said was a form of long-term “soft power diplomacy”.
“When you are covering you get to ‘become’ those idols for the three and a half minutes of the song,” she said, adding that performers will go so far as matching their clothing, accessories and hairstyle to their heroes and heroines.
“The cover dancers of today will be diplomats, news reporters, and business leaders in forty years,” she went on.
“And hopefully they’ll still have a soft spot in their heart for Korea. Korea can’t win the world through hard power – armies, economic bullying – but with soft power even a small country like Korea has a chance.”
The music also provides an artistic alternative for overseas fans, especially those in developing countries, Saeji added.
“The West, especially the United States, has been so dominant culturally for so long, and having a different cultural pole to look to provides hope that one’s own country can experience similar success in the future.”
Be who you want
Beneath its glitz and glamour, the K-pop industry is also known for its cutthroat competition, a lack of privacy, online bullying and relentless public pressure to maintain a wholesome image at all times and at any cost.
Sulli, a popular K-pop star and former child actress who had long been the target of abusive online comments was found dead on Monday, with her death sending shockwaves through fans around the world.
“I think a day where (people) would be ashamed of the K-show business will surely come,” a South Korean online user wrote in the wake of the star’s death.
“I think an industry that makes money by (making people) sing, dance, undergo plastic surgeries and go on a diet to please the gaze of others since they are teenagers should really go bankcrupt.”
But for Kenny Pham, a finalist from the US at last week’s contest, K-pop’s diversity – with some tunes having dark themes, while others were “cute” or sensual – is what gives him a sense of liberation.
“I like how expressive you could be,” the 19 year old told AFP last week.
“I feel like it’s a place where you could show the passion you have for music, dance or fashion. No one is bashing you for what your likes are.”
SOURCE: Agence France-Presse
Journey back to Tham Luang in ‘The Cave’ – VIDEO
PHOTO: Tom Waller on site during the filming of The Cave – AFP
Determined divers racing against time. Rising waters threatening lives. 12 teenagers and their soccer coach trapped inside for two weeks. A remote cave that most had never heard of.
The stuff of a Hollywood drama, except that it’s all true and happened in Chiang Rai last year. Now the first of several re-tellings of the story comes to the big screen in The Cave.
The ordeal in late June and early July last year had barely ended when filmmakers began their own race to get the nail-biting drama onto cinema screens. The first of those projects premiered at the start of October, when director Tom Waller’s The Cave showed at the Busan Film Festival in South Korea.
The film was shot over three months earlier this year and has been in post-production since then. The 45 year old Thai-British filmmaker says the epic tale of the Wild Boars (Mu Pa) football team was a story he simply had to tell.
“I took the view that this was going to be a story about the people we didn’t know about, about the cave divers who came all the way from across the planet.”
The 13 young men entered the Tham Luang cave complex after soccer practice and were quickly trapped inside by rising floodwater. The boys were forced to spend nine nights lost in the cave, whilst Navy Seal and other diver searched frantically, before they were spotted by a British diver.
It would take another eight days before they were all safe, against all odds, in a risky mission.
Waller was visiting his father in Ireland when he saw television news accounts of the drama.
“I thought this would be an amazing story to tell on screen.”
But putting the parts together after their dramatic rescue proved to be a challenge. Thailand’s government, led by the military NCPO, became very protective of the story, barring unauthorised access to the Mu Pa team or their parents. Waller often feared his production might be shut down.
His good fortune was that the events at the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai province had multiple angles and interesting characters. Especially compelling were the stories of the rescuers, particularly the expert divers who rallied from around the world. He decided to make a film “about the volunteer spirit of the rescue.”
Other people proposed telling the story from the point of view of the boys, and Netflix nailed down those rights in a deal brokered by the Thai government.
“I took the view that this was going to be a story about the people we didn’t know about, about the cave divers who came all the way from across the planet. They literally dropped everything to go and help, and I just felt that that was more of an exciting story to tell, to find out how these boys were brought out and what they did to get them out.”
Waller even had more than a dozen key rescue personnel play themselves.
Waller said they were natural actors, blending in almost seamlessly with the professionals around them, and helped by the accuracy of the settings and the production’s close attention to detail.
“What you are really doing is asking them to remember what they did and to show us what they were doing and what they were feeling like at the time. That was really very emotional for some of them because it was absolutely real.”
Waller says his film is likely to have a visceral effect on some viewers, evoking a measure of claustrophobia.
“It’s a sort of immersive experience with the sound of the environment, you know, the fact that is very dark and murky, that the water is not clear.”
“In Hollywood films, when they do underwater scenes, everything is crystal clear. But in this film it’s murky and I think that’s the big difference. This film lends itself to being more of a realistic portrayal of what happened.”
Some scenes were filmed on location at the entrance to the actual Tham Luang cave, but most of the action was shot elsewhere.
“We filmed in real water caves that were flooded, all year-round. It is very authentic in terms of real caves, real flooded tunnels, real divers and real creepy-crawlies in there. So it was no mean feat trying to get a crew to go and film in these caves.”
The Cave goes on general release in Thailand on November 28.
ORIGINAL ARTICE: Associated Press | Time.com
PHOTO: Tom Waller – Associated Press/Sakchai Lalit
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