February 08, 2012 10:25
K-pop seems ready to take the world by storm this year to capitalize on the momentum of the resurgent Korean Wave, with leading bands such as Girls' Generation, Big Bang, and JYJ staging world tours or debuting overseas in the coming months.
Big Bang plan to launch their first world tour next month, with 25 cities in 16 countries packed into their whistle-stop itinerary. The group will return to the stage with their mini album "Alive" on Feb. 29, and will tour Asia, North and South America, and Europe after a concert in Seoul on March 2.
Experts from around the world will participate in directing and producing their world tour as production agency Live Nation, which formerly managed the tours of Madonna and U2, has signed a deal with the band's management agency, YG Entertainment.
Furthermore, famous creative director and choreographer Laurieann Gibson, who has worked for the likes of Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, will help oversee their world tour. And Leroy Bennett, who has worked with Paul McCartney and the Eagles, among others, will be in charge of stage and lighting design.
Girls' Generation, which drew much attention with their recent appearances on CBS' "The David Letterman Show" and ABC's "Live! with Kelly," plan to release their first album in Europe on Monday.
"The Boys" will be released by Universal Music Group's French label Polydor. This will be first album on the Continent by a Korean band since Koreana, a family act that gained worldwide fame by performing at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, released a French-language single in the mid-1970s.
The girls' agency SM Entertainment said their potential beyond Asia is now being recognized after they participated in a large ensemble performance of K-pop bands in Paris last year called "SM Town Live."
Meanwhile, boy band BEAST recently held a series of concerts in Brazil and England. The group will kick off their world tour on Sunday, which takes them to 21 cities in 14 countries including China, Europe, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and the U.S., starting with Berlin in Germany.
JYJ, the first idol group from Korea to hold solo concerts in Spain and Germany, will continue their extended world tour in Chile on March 9 and Peru two days later.
Meanwhile, Super Junior recently gave concerts in Japan and Taiwan, and will head to the U.S., Europe and South America for more performances after staging a concert in Singapore late next week.
"Along with their word tours, K-pop singers should sharpen their skills and diversify their musical repertoires to sustain their popularity," said music critic Im Jin-mo. "Regardless of their commercial success overseas, they need to recognize that they can be cultural ambassadors to deliver Korean culture to the world."
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