Elvis comes to life in Seoul(Read article summary)
A group of South Korean musicians modeling themselves after 'The King' are bringing rockabilly to the land of 'K-pop.'
Courtesy of The Rocktigers
Seoul, South Korea
â€˘ A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.
Theyâ€™re called the pioneers of Korean rockabilly â€“ a musical genre as alien to East Asia as poodle skirts and polka dots. Now, having recently returned from a first-ever tour of the United States, the RockTigers are ready to unleash their sound on the rest of the world.
At home in Korea, the RockTigers sit boldly outside a South Korean mainstream that favors bouncy, cuddly â€śK-pop.â€ť The ubiquitous slogan that accompanies the band almost everywhere it goes delivers the simplest of forewarnings: This band produces a sound best described as â€śKimchibillyâ€ť with soul.
On stage, members Velvet Geena, Tiger, Jack â€śThe Knife,â€ť Eddie Tarantula, and Roy sport a sense of fashion straight out of 1950s Memphis, Tenn. Mostly, that means drainpipe jeans and open leather jackets exposing low-cut white vests, topped off by a set of greased-up pompadours. Their followers also pay homage to the sartorial sensibilities of the rockabilly heyday. Lead vocalist Geena, the sole female member, can often be seen on stage sporting polka-dot dresses and cowboy boots, all with an infectious smile and bobbed, dyed-blond hair.
Korean audiences find their sound peculiar, says Geena. â€śTheyâ€™ve never heard of the slapping-bass sound,â€ť she says, â€śbut they can feel our music and passion. When they see us for the first time, they are reminded of Elvis, the king!â€ť
Next time they hit US shores they hope to visit the rockabilly heartland â€“ including Memphis.