September 17 update: The audio version of the tracks are now available in streaming platforms. Listen here.
South Korea’s official tourism brand “Imagine Your Korea” launched this year’s edition of “Feel The Rhythm” campaign featuring artists from homegrown label H1GHR Music and AOMG, with the tracks produced by GroovyRoom, GRAY, and glowingdog.
The eight-part series spotlights a wide range of traditional and modern tourist attractions across the country, with each of the two-minute scenic videos accompanied by a contemporary reimagining of traditional songs. English translations are available on the Korean Tourism Organization’s (KTO) Imagine Your Korea channel on YouTube.
“In collaboration with renowned Korean hip-hop musicians, this promotion video will be our first attempt in using sonic branding tourism for viewers to recognize each region through music.” Oh Choong-sub, brand marketing team director at the Korean Tourism Organization, said in a press release translated by The Korea Herald.
According to KTO, the audio version of the tracks will be available on streaming platforms by the end of September.
With the world mostly immobilized at the moment—as most countries continue to enforce various levels of restrictions that virtually hampered global tourism for almost two years now—“Feel The Rhythm” gets us excited to head to South Korea once it’s safe again.
Woodie Gochild – “MUDMAX (Seosan)” (prod. GroovyRoom)
Woodie Gochild soundtracks the Mad Max-inspired video that scopes the vast mudflats of Seosan, a subtropical city in South Chungcheong Province, featuring local farmers. Titled “MUDMAX (Seosan),” the track is a hip hop flip of “Ong Heya,” an uptempo folk song typically sung by farmers “while they thrashed their harvested barley.”
Seosan is one of the five most extensive mud flats in the world and is known for its clams, locally farmed oysters and garlic, and various specialty dishes, including gegukji and marinated blue crab with soybean sauce. The music video is currently the most-watched of all, with more than 1.3 million views as of writing.
GEMINI – “Pass (Seoul)” (prod. GroovyRoom)
GEMINI bikes around the South Korean capital with “Pass,” one of two tracks dedicated to Seoul. Also produced by renowned producer GroovyRoom, “Pass” is a hip hop rework of “Arirang,” the most popular Korean song taught to generations of Korean by word of mouth with various reincarnations.
The clip weaves into the streets of Seoul, showing locals going about their day, including elderly dapper gentlemen playing checkers in the park. “Pass” offers scenes in Jongno, through Dongdaemun Gate and Namdaemun Gate, and all the way to Hwanghak-dong.
JAY B – “I’m Surfin’ (Gangneung & Yangyang)” (prod. GroovyRoom)
Fresh from the successful release of his SOMO:FUMEEP, JAY B contributed his pop-R&B reimagining of “Niliria,” a “fun, rhythmic folk song about longing for a lover.”
The South Korean star checks out the beach and skate parks in the surfing city of Gangneung and sunny Yangyang. Both are well known for their majestic sunrise views.
Woo – “Ganggangsullae (Gyeongju & Andong)” ft. sogumm (prod. GRAY)
Woo leads the hip hop version of “Ganggangsullae” featuring labelmate sogumm (also of genre-bending group Balming Tiger). The track is named after the ancient Korean dance used to bring about a bountiful harvest. The Herald also noted that the video shows “a Korean lion dance to fight against evil ghosts for peace and an Ogomu dance, also known as the five-drum dance, which has its roots in Buddhism.” The original song itself is a folk song for Jeongwol Daeboreum, the festival of the first full moon of the Lunar New Year, and the lyrics are “prayers asking for our lives to be full of joy.”
TRADE L – “View (Suncheon)” (prod. GroovyRoom)
Rapper TRADE 1 spotlights the scenic agricultural and industrial city of Suncheon with his hip hop reinterpretation of “Sae Taryeong”—a folk song that “describes the sounds and motions of various birds on a bright spring day.” The video follows an elderly couple as they start the day, with drone shots of the villages of Yogok and Gusan showing locals tending to their farms and relaxing.
pH-1 – “CITY LOVE (Seoul)” (prod. GroovyRoom)
Rapper pH-1 rediscovers his love for Seoul with “CITY LOVE,” which brings a contemporary take on “Sarang Ga,” the country’s best-known Pansori song, “which describes the beautiful feeling of being in love.” The video shows the vibrant modern city life mixed in with traditional Korean heritage.
BIG Naughty – “Kwaejina Ching Ching Nane (Daegu)” (prod. GroovyRoom)
BIG Naughty brings the old school back to the city of Daegu with his hip hop take on Korean folk song “Kwaejina Ching Ching Nane.” The city is the electronics hub of South Korea and also known for producing the best apples and textiles in the country.
sogumm – “Baennorae (Busan & Tongyeong)” (prod. glowingdog)
You can almost smell the seawater in the video for sogumm’s slow R&B take on “Baennorae,” which shows the coastal cities of Busan and Tongyeong. Singing atop the peak of Oryukdo Island, sogumm adds a soulful twist to the traditional Korean sea shanty, sung by fishermen as they sailed off to catch fish.
(Sept. 17) Stream the release below: