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Posted by on May 16, 2009

Korean 트로트 music

Granted, the above is not necessarily a pure example of the genre, but I have a fondness for 트로트 (trot) music. Trot music is basically the earliest form of Korean pop music that started to appear during the Japanese occupation (1890-1945) and continued in some flavor or another well into the 1980s. It tends to be a little campy and relies on incredibly simple melody, but is just mesmerizing. This is especially true when I was sitting on the bus during my daily commute in my Seoul days (1998-2006).

Think Nancy Sinatra and Petula Clark and Eartha Kitt all rolled into one.

Wikipedia has more information:

“Trot music has received criticism from nationalists, who allege that it derives from the Japanese music genre of enka, especially its scale. Defenders of trot, however, claim that it had begun to develop prior to the Japanese invasion, and simply developed in parallel with the Japanese style. The name itself derives from a shortening of “foxtrot”, a ballroom dance which influenced the characteristic simple beat of the genre.

The popularity of trot music declined seriously in 1990s due to the great hit of “Hayeoga” by Seo Taiji and Boys. After that, dance music was the main stream of Korean pop music and trot was pushed into minor genre in Korean pop music scene.”

You can read the full Wikipedia article.

The video is of 윤복희 (Yoon Bok Hee), the closest thing that Korean music has to a diva. She is in a class by herself.

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