London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

K-Culture lecture #1: Where did K-Pop come from?

Professor Keith Howard has been following the Korean popular music industry for a while: he was in the SBS studio when Fin K.L. made their debut no.1 in 1999. His book Korean Pop Music – riding the wave (now sadly out of print) is highly enjoyable. So his upcoming talk should be a great way to launch the current season of lectures on Korean culture at the KCC:

Where did K-Pop come from?

Date / Time: Thursday 26 March 2015 / 18:00~19:00
RSVP to KCCUK at 0207 004 2600 or [email protected]
Lecturer: Professor Keith Howard (SOAS, University of London)


In the first edition (1994) of World Music: The Rough Guide, Kawakami and Fisher wrote that although Korea had ‘developed economically at a staggering pace, in terms of popular music there is nothing to match the remarkable contemporary sounds of Indonesia, Okinawa or Japan’. This was not true at the time, but today seems to reflect something of a major blunder: the Korean domestic pop market had already witnessed Seo Taiji, and the arrival of rap, reggae, jungle, and hip-hop, and Korean pop was poised to explode on the world as a vital part of the Korean Wave.

Today, as the Korean government ponders “K-Wave 3.0”, looking for ways to sustain the global appeal of Korean soft culture, and as it seeks ways to build on the 2.2 billion YouTube views of Gangnam Style, it seems a good time to look back. This lecture will track the development of K-Pop from its beginnings to today, pausing at points along the road, and asking whether there are lessons to learn from K-Pop’s gradual but remarkable evolution.

About the speaker

Keith HowardKeith Howard is Professor of Music at SOAS, University of London. Formerly Associate Dean at the University of Sydney, he has held visiting professorships at Monash University, Ewha Women’s University and Hanguk University of Foreign Studies. He has written and edited 19 books, including Music as Intangible Cultural Heritage: Policy, Ideology and Practice in the Preservation of East Asian Traditions (2012), Singing the Kyrgyz Manas (with Saparbek Kasmambetov, 2011), Korean Kayagum Sanjo: A Traditional Instrumental Genre (with Chaesuk Lee and Nicholas Casswell; 2008), Creating Korean Music (2006), Preserving Korean Music (2006), and Korean Pop Music: Riding the Wave (2006). In addition to giving lectures, workshops and concerts at universities in Britain, throughout Europe, and in America, Asia and Australia, he has been a regular broadcaster on Korean affairs for BBC, ITV, Sky, NBC and others. He is editorial chair of the SOAS Musicology Series (Ashgate), and he founded and managed the SOASIS CD and DVD series as well as OpenAir Radio.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.