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‘Joseon pop’ pioneer Seodo Band wins JTBC’s ‘Poongryu’

Joseon pop band Seodo Band performs on JTBC’s music competition show “Poongryu” (JTBC)
Joseon pop band Seodo Band performs on JTBC’s music competition show “Poongryu” (JTBC)
Seodo Band -- which describes itself as the creators of Joseon pop -- took home the top prize from the hit JTBC music competition show “Poongryu” on Tuesday, which included 100 million won ($83,880) in prize money.

“Poongryu,” which premiered in September, captured viewers by introducing a variety of twists on traditional Korean music, or gugak, melding it with elements of other Western music genres such as R&B, K-pop, hip-hop music and even breaking.

The six finalists -- the bands Aux, Ondo, Esang and Seodo Band, and pansori singers Kim Ju-ri and Kim Jun-su -- delivered their final performances Tuesday. The winner was determined by scores from live voting by viewers (50 percent), judges (40 percent) and an online poll before the show (10 percent).

For its final performance, Seodo Band performed its original song “Bada,” while Kim Jun-su sang Big Bang‘s “Bang Bang Bang” mixing it with parts of “Sugungga,” one of the five existing repertoires of pansori, or narrative singing.

Esang showcased a crossover rendition of ABBA’s “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” and Kim Bu-ja’s “Daltaryeong.” The band performed madangnori (traditional Korean musical performance), exciting both the viewers and the judges.

Aux mesmerized the audience by singing boy band H.O.T.’s “Age of Violence” and part of the most famous pansori “Chunhyangga.” In the meantime, Kim Ju-ri sang ‘80s Korean pop band Songgolmae’s “Love of Everything,” while Ondo fused Lena Park’s “In a Dream” with “Heungtaryeong,” a popular folk song from the southern region of the country.

The final episode of JTBC’s music competition show “Poongryu” (JTBC)
The final episode of JTBC’s music competition show “Poongryu” (JTBC)
By earning a total of 2,660.42 points, Seodo Band took first place, followed by Kim Jun-su and Aux with 2,154.94 points and 1,915.17 points, respectively. Kim Ju-ri came in fourth place, while Esang and Ondo were fifth and sixth, respectively.

After winning the competition, Seodo Band said that it was an honor to participate in the program as a contestant. The group also mentioned that the hardship that the band went through was a “process for a leap forward.” The band released its first album ”Moon: Disentangle” earlier this year.

“I think it is the fate that an artist needs to shoulder. ... I’d like to say ‘you have been through a lot‘ to Korean traditional musicians who took the hardships on the chin. Are you guys ready for a new era of pungryu? We promise to show the best of ourselves,” Seodo Band said.

“Poongryu” ended with a record-high nationwide viewership rating of 4.6 percent, according to Nielsen Korea on Wednesday. The first episode of the program marked a 3.5 percent in viewership, the data showed.

Including the top six finalists, the contestants will begin a nationwide concert tour of 14 cities, starting with concerts at the Seoul Olympic Park from Friday to Sunday. Tickets can be purchased through e-commerce platform Interpark.

By Jie Ye-eun (
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Korea Herald daum