[VoxSpace Selects] Hallyu : The Evolution Of Korean Music And Drama

An Introduction To Hallyu

From “Eyes of Dawn” to “My Ahjussi” and “Love Song” to “DNA”, K-drama and K-pop have been capturing the attention of the masses from across the world. The growing popularity of South Korean Entertainment has led to millions of people entering various South Korean fandoms and being mesmerized by their ideas and concepts. This has eventually introduced and established the South Korean culture, making it an international phenomenon termed as Hallyu, popularly known as Korean Wave or Korean Fever. In simple words, it is the globally increasing popularity of South Korean culture since the 1990s. Social media and internet have played an important role in the proliferation of the impact of this culture which started with the two main platforms of K-pop and K-drama that have stretched their wings far and wide in the global entertainment scene. This being as an ongoing buzz resulting in the rise of the number of newbies, here is an introduction to the world of K-pop and K-drama highlighting what really made Hallyu possible.

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The Rise Of K-pop 

K-pop or Korean pop is a music genre originated in South Korea (thanks to Seo Taiji and Boys) that draws inspiration from a range of styles and genres from the West. Their music videos are known to be a party to the ears and visually pleasing at the same time. The K-pop idols train themselves for years in all possible aspects and work to the bone to present their skills to their devoted fans. Along-side making sure to hit those high notes and keeping themselves on par with the toughest choreographies we have ever witnessed, they participate in song-writing, composing and music production. The tracks are characterized by beautiful beats, applaudable music layering with instrumental and breath-taking singing and rapping styles. Hallyu is very much evident, especially when people across the world effortlessly sing to their favourite K-pop tracks, which are written in Hangul. The major breakthrough could be marked by two incidents, PSY’s Gangnam Style in 2012 and BTS’ win at the 2017 Billboard Awards.

Below are listed popular K-pop artists and their tracks that are well known in the K-pop community and beyond.

The 1st Generation Artists

Seo Taiji and Boys -- I know

O.T. -- Candy

Shinhwa – My Life Style

g.o.d – To Mother

서태지 와 아이들 (SeoTaiji and Boys)- 난 알아요 (I Know)

The 2nd Generation Artists

TVXQ -- Mirotic

RAIN -- Rainism

Super Junior – Sorry Sorry

BIGBANG – Fantastic baby

Girls’ Generation -- Genie

SHINee -- Replay

2NE1 – I Am the Best

PSY – Gangnam Style

TVXQ! 동방신기 '주문 - MIROTIC' MV

The 3rd Generation Artists

BTS – Dope

EXO -- Growl

BLACKPINK -- Boombayah



Wanna One -- Energetic

Infinite -- Black

VIXX -- Fantasy

GOT7 – Never Ever

Red Velvet – Peek-a-boo


MAMAMOO – Starry Night

NCT – The 7th Sense

Stray Kids -- Hellevator

Monsta X -- Beautiful

A.R.D – Don’t Recall

BTS (방탄소년단) 'DNA' Official MV


K-dramas or Korean dramas are the South Korean television series, with distinct directing styles and captivating plots. Once addicted, the viewers end up binge watching, speaking random Korean words and googling their favourite actors from time to time. K-dramas have specific objectives with a more definite plotline and a variety of genres. The concepts woven for each of the series are distinct with an abundance of unavoidable cliff-hangers at the end of every episode, which keeps the viewers hooked to them. The realistic settings, incredible videography and of course, the actors’ skills blend in to make a successful series. K-dramas are usually accompanied by OSTs or Official Soundtracks that are equally popular.

A few of the well-known K-dramas are listed below:

Goblin (Genre: Fantasy/ Romance)

Healer (Genre: Action/ Thriller/ Romance)

Jumong (Genre: Historical/ Romance/ Action)

Boys Over Flowers (Genre: Romance/ Comedy/ Drama)

Signal (Genre: Crime/ Drama/ Thriller)

Secret Garden (Genre: Romance/ Comedy/ Fantasy)

Heartless City (Genre: Noir/ Action/ Romance)

Descendants Of The Sun (Genre: Romance/ Melodrama/ Action)

Legend Of The Blue Sea (Genre: Fantasy/ Romance)

Coffee Prince (Genre: Romance/ Comedy/ Drama)

Keeping the interests of the youth in mind, cultural exchange programs are being held in various countries around the world where Korean volunteers establish clubs and organize events, meetings and screenings regularly. The clubs indulge in teaching and promoting Hangul, K-pop dance form, music and Taekwondo. This has made it possible for people to experience and identify this colourful culture. Currently, Hallyu is at its strongest and what other trends will it bring into the light will be highly anticipated.