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Korean K-pop music on the rise in Leeds

Fans of the K-pop music craze that has swept Korea and the world

By Zoha Shah

KOREAN POP music is starting to grow in popularity in the UK after years of being big in America and the United Arab Emirates.

Many K-pop events have taken place in London but it is not the only city in the UK where people are getting excited about K-pop.

Bubble Tea Café has been in Leeds for almost two and a half years and has a big TV screen which always has K-pop music playing, and it is attached to a store selling Korean snacks.

Jason Ho, 31, the manager of the store, said: “We can see the rise in interest of K-pop in people and just two weeks ago a customer started crying after seeing her favourite band on TV and she wasn’t even a Korean girl, she was a local English girl.

“We have a Bubble Tea Wall where customers can post notes about their favourite band to show how much love they have for the music, and it’s a shame that there is not much else in Leeds relating to K-pop.”

Haagar Yousif, 18, a student at Leeds Beckett University, who goes to Bubble Tea café every weekend, said: “K-pop speaks for itself even though it may be in Korean, and bands like BTS have become huge since they started performing internationally. I would do anything to meet them.

“In Leeds the only place to hang out is Bubble Tea Café because it really gives you a feel of Korea.”

According to Dr Carl Vincent, principal lecturer at Leeds College of Music, the possible reason why K-pop is not as popular in the UK as the USA is because they might not be targeting the UK as an audience.

He said: “The core market for them would be Japan at around 70 per cent and then China between 10 to 15 per cent but they would definitely be looking for opportunities to grow.

“Sometimes some people don’t like hearing things which aren’t in English but some people listen for music and some listen for lyrics and it may be easier for people who listen for music to adapt but might not appeal to the people who listen for lyrics.”

Events like K-pop and K-hiphop are becoming more popular. Young Bros, a collective DJ group which organises K-pop events around Europe are having their biggest K-pop party in Manchester next week.


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