K-Pop group Leenalchi made their UK debut as part of a show celebrating Korean culture.
‘The tiger is coming‘ is a festival that takes place at the Coronet Theater in London from August 26th to October 1st. The festival is a celebration of Korean contemporary art, performance and culture.
As part of the festival, K-pop group Leenalchi performed three shows from September 10 to 12. The Notting Hill-based theater welcomed the six-piece band to delighted audiences.
The band’s line-up with four traditional vocalists, two bass players and a drummer makes it a unique offering in the Genre K-pop.
The cross-cultural celebration of Korean media in the UK is part of Korea’s broad soft power efforts in recent years to improve its artistic exports.
‘Hallyu’ or ‘Korean Wave’ is the term to describe cultural export and it clearly worked with ‘Parasite’ winning the Best Picture Oscar, ‘Squid Game’ becoming the most watched Netflix show and BTS support world music charts.
The British are huge fans of K-pop, streaming the most of the genre in Europe and 11th in the world. For Leenalchi, Tiger is Coming is a huge opportunity to break into the UK scene alongside their peers from BTS and BlackPink.
Who are the Leenalchi?
Founded in 2019, their music is growing in popularity, thanks in part to the inclusion of their single “Let’s Live for Today” on the Apple TV series “Pachinko.”
Bassist Jang Young-gyu is also known for composing the soundtracks for Korean horror films “The Wailing” and “Train to Busan”.
Despite their growing recognition, the group does not presume its stature.
“We hear a lot from the general public that we’re internationally famous,” says Lee Narae, one of the group’s lead singers.
“However, we didn’t feel that popularity or experience the hype because we never played outside of South Korea due to the global pandemic,” she adds.
Due to local and international lockdowns limiting travel for most of the band’s career, this isn’t just their UK debut, it’s their first time performing outside of South Korea.
“That makes it special,” Lee says.
Despite their Korean lyrics, the multiple use of genres like rap, dance, and bass and drum musicianship make them an international act, suggests Lee.
Korean Culture Abroad
“We believe that Leenalchi’s musical genre extends beyond K-pop. Our music began in Korea and the lyrics are written in Korean, but our identity and sound can only be fully articulated with musical instruments, as well as other alternative bands.
It’s the kind of treatment American and British bands often get when their music travels overseas, but it’s really a new attitude towards Korean music. This is why cultural exchanges are so important, the group believes.
The band’s biggest song is ‘Tiger is Coming’ even lends its name to the British culture festival.
“Seasons like this are so important for sharing Korean culture with the world. Korea’s commitment and investment in the arts in recent years means that Korea is now recognized and celebrated as a major hub of contemporary culture,” Lee said.
Besides Leenalchi, Tiger is Coming will also celebrate Korean artists from other mediums.
Choi Jeong Hwa presents a sculpture exhibition at the festival. ‘Tiger, Journey, Love’ is about mass production, materialism and consumer culture. He uses ordinary everyday objects found in Korea to explore how art can be encountered in daily life.
Dance films by Kim Modeun will also be screened, as well as live dance by the Ambiguous Dance Company from September 16 to 18.
Theatrical productions and live music performances are also part of next month’s action-packed schedule.