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Consuming Korean Tradition in Early and Late ModernityCommodification, Tourism, and Performance$
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Laurel Kendall

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833930

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833930.001.0001

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date: 21 August 2017

Kugak Fusion and the Politics of Korean Musical Consumption

Kugak Fusion and the Politics of Korean Musical Consumption

Chapter:
9 Kugak Fusion and the Politics of Korean Musical Consumption
Source:
Consuming Korean Tradition in Early and Late Modernity
Author(s):

Keith Howard

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824833930.003.0010

For the last one hundred years, the dominant music culture in Korea has been Western. Nonetheless, kugak, traditional Korean music, stands for “Korea” in tourist brochures and on countless Internet sites, in historical films and TV dramas, and in the great majority of academic articles and books by musicologists and ethnomusicologists. This chapter explores how promoters and performers of a new genre, kugak fusion, are attempting to commodify kugak for new audiences, to make kugak more commercial, and to ensure that kugak remains a part of the local music industry. “Kugak fusion” is a new term that refers to music performed by a young generation of musicians that has porous boundaries and, insofar as it features musicians trained in kugak, might be considered as traditional music made modern. Unlike in world music elsewhere, the fusion in kugak fusion is not a mix of indigenous and foreign but a mix of Korean and Korean. It appropriates, for Korean musical consumption, elements of Western music styles present in Korea, be they jazz, classical, or pop, coupling these to elements of kugak.

Keywords:   kugak, traditional Korean music, Korean culture, music culture, kugak fusion

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