Asian Stars Shine at Music Festival in Seoul

Top stars from around Asia are kicking off the Chuseok holiday with exciting pop performances at the 4th Asia Song Festival, Saturday evening.

Thousands of fans are expected to flock to the Sangam World Cup Stadium to see Taiwan’s F4 and A-mei, China’s Vicky Zhao, Hong Kong’s Gigi Leung, Japan’s Kuraki Mai, Thailand’s Golf & Mike, Philippines’ Barbie Almalbis, Vietnam’s Lam Truong, and Indonesia’s Peter Pan. Korean pop stars TVXQ, Lee Hyo-ri, Super Junior and SG Wannabe will also perform.

With 13 performers from nine countries, this is the largest Asia Song Festival since it started in 2004.

“This year is going to be bigger than ever, as many countries around the region will broadcast the concert. With the theme ‘We Are One,’ we believe the Korean artists are not just for Korea and the same with Japanese artists and Asian artists. We believe culture is for exchange. We hope through the festival, this would be fulfilled,” said Shin Hyun-taek, chairman of Korea Foundation for International Cultural Exchange (KOFICE). KOFICE is the organizer of the Asia Song Festival.

Many young female fans are eagerly awaiting the performances of TVXQ, who have lately focused their activities in Japan; Super Junior, who have released a new album; and F4 or JKVK, a Taiwanese pop group who gained popularity through the drama “’Meteor Garden.” Composed of Jerry Yan, Vanness Wu, Ken Chu and Vic Zhou, F4 are also in Seoul to promote tourism to Taiwan.

Many of the festival’s performers expressed their interest in Korean pop culture. Zhou said he liked the music of Korean singer Rain, while Leung said she admired actresses Lee Young-ae and Jun Ji-hyun.

Golf & Mike, who said they enjoyed watching dramas such as “Goong” and “Full House,” will perform their upcoming Korean single “Fight for You” for the first time during the festival.
“We love Korea. We like the language and music style. I hope Koreans will like our songs,” Golf said. The duo will also perform their hit Japanese song “Fever,” which was originally recorded with J-pop heartthrob Tomohisa Yamashita.

Lam Truong, who was given the nickname the Kim Jong-kuk (a Korean R&B singer) of Vietnam, will also perform his version of “Forever,” a song originally recorded by Ahn Jae-wook.

Since the Asia Song Festival will feature performances in Chinese, English, Korean, Japanese and other languages, KOFICE believes this is a good opportunity to promote different cultures.

“Language cannot be a barrier when it comes to music. I believe Asians have something in common when it comes to music. So we would like to take this opportunity to share the music,” KOFICE’s Shin said.

An indication of the growing cultural exchanges, many of the festival’s performers have collaborated with stars from other Asian countries.

Wu, who collaborated with Korean singer Kang-Ta, said: “To be able to work in so many different places is a blessing and to have this mixture of cultures, and learning and understanding of new cultures is another gift that everybody should receive,” he said.

Zhao, who appeared in a Hong Kong-produced movie “So Close” with Korean actor Song Seung-heon, said she would like to work with other Korean stars such as Choi Min-sik.

F4’s Chu said he is in negotiations to star in an independent film to be directed by a Filipino director and shot in the Philippines. “Right now, we are still dealing with the contract. It is an independent movie that will be shot in the Philippines. We might finish it by end of October. If the contract goes well, I will do it,” he said.

Aside from the Asian stars, the festival also gives a chance for new performers to show their talent. Korean pop group FT Island and Thai singer James will receive New Singer awards, while new girl group Kara and singer Whee will also perform.

Organizers said there was a huge demand for tickets for the Asia Song Festival, not just in Korea but also overseas. Around 3,000 foreigners had applied to get free tickets to the event. The organizers’ server crashed due to the rush to download the free tickets.


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September 2007
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