Thursday, September 1, 2011

Let Me Hear You Say "Hola!"

This song gave me another Who was that? moment when I first heard it, last summer in a record store in Seoul. What got my attention was mainly the quasi-Latin arrangement, though I liked the faintly abrasive timbre of the singer's voice. It turned out it was on the new CD by Bobby Kim, so I bought a copy. The CD as a whole is pretty good, but this remains my favorite song on it. I looked on Youtube from time to time, but the song only turned up there recently.

Latin music has long been popular in Korea: "Besame Mucho" keeps turning up, and in the 1956 scandal melodrama Madame Freedom there's a major scene where the innocent (but soon to be corrupted!) housewife is taken to a newfangled nightclub, where Park Joo-geun and his Orchestra are playing the Mambo. But I hadn't heard much Latin influence in more recent K-pop until I heard Bobby Kim.