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Books on music and performance

Work in progress

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Songs for “Great Leaders”: Ideology and Creativity in North Korean Music and Dance
Keith Howard
Oxford University Press, 2020

Publisher description: Famously reclusive and secretive, North Korea can be seen as a theatre that projects itself through music and performance. The first book-length account of North Korean music and dance in any language other than Korean, Songs for “Great Leaders” pulls back the curtain on this theatre for the first time. Renowned ethnomusicologist Keith Howard moves […] (Link to online store)

BTS, Art Revolution
Lee Jiyoung tr Chae Myungji, Lee Shinwoo, Stella Kim, Won Jiye
parrhesia, 2019

Publisher description: Recently, a seven-member boy band from Korea called BTS has captivated the globe, forming the most massive and powerful fandom in history. The BTS phenomenon reaches far beyond the typical achievements of pop stars: as Jiyoung Lee illustrates, the changes that have been shown by BTS and their fandom ARMY are not confined […] (Link to online store)

Hwang Byungki: Traditional Music and the Contemporary Composer in the Republic of Korea
Andrew Killick
Ashgate, 2013

From the publisher’s website: Anyone who knows anything of Korean music probably knows something of Hwang Byungki. As a composer, performer, scholar, and administrator, Hwang has had an exceptional influence on the world of Korean traditional music for over half a century. During that time, Western-style music (both classical and popular) has become the main […] (Link to online store)

KPOP: Roots and Blossoming of Korean Popular Music
Kim Chang-nam
Hollym, 2012

Publisher description: K-pop, referring to pop and dance music performed by idol groups mainly targeted at teens, has been expanding in popularity beyond Asia to Europe and South America. It was the 1990s when this school of music first appeared in Korea, but its emergence was not abrupt and its roots are sunk deep into […] (Link to online store)

Exploring North Korean Arts
Ed Rüdiger Frank
Verlag für moderne Kunst, 2011

Publisher description: This book is a cooperation between the MAK and the University of Vienna and contains a number of in-depth essays by international writers on a wide spectrum of issues, and with much detailed background information. The relationship between art and ideology is examined, how modern and traditional values are dealt with, as well as […] (Link to online store)

Illusive Utopia: Theater, Film, and Everyday Performance in North Korea
Kim Suk-young
University of Michigan Press, 2010

Publisher description: No nation stages massive parades and collective performances on the scale of North Korea. Even amid a series of intense political/economic crises and international conflicts, the financially troubled country continues to invest massive amounts of resources to sponsor unflinching displays of patriotism, glorifying its leaders and revolutionary history through state rituals that can […] (Link to online store)

Korean Kayagum Sanjo: A Traditional Instrumental Genre
Keith Howard, Lee Chaesuk, Nicholas Casswell
Ashgate, 2008

From the publisher’s website: The Korean genre of sanjo is today one of the most popular genres of traditional music, taught in schools and universities within Korea, and a staple of national and international performance tours. Sanjo comprises a set of related pieces for solo melodic instrument and drum. A number of ‘schools’ (ryu) are […] (Link to online store)

Korean Pop Music – Riding the Wave
Ed Keith Howard
Global Oriental, 2006
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Publisher description: Korean popular music has in the last decade become a significant model for youth culture throughout Asia. Yet, although the Korean music industry is both vibrant and massive, this is the first book-length work devoted to the subject to appear in English. The book offers a comprehensive account, written by thirteen scholars of […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

The Korean Singer of Tales
Marshall R Pihl, Trad / anon tr Marshall R Pihl
Harvard, 1994
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Publisher description: P’ansori, the traditional oral narrative of Korea, is sung by a highly trained soloist to the accompaniment of complex drumming. The singer both narrates the story and dramatizes all the characters, male and female. Performances require as long as six hours and make extraordinary vocal demands. In the first book-length treatment in English […] (Link to online store)