A few years ago on Seoulbeats, we had an article featuring some orchestral performances of K-pop songs. Lest you think it’s a dying trend, we’re back to feature more K-pop medleys covered by symphonic bands, Chinese orchestras, and the like.
That’s something very sophisticated about such a huge group of people coming together to play some K-pop tunes, led by a conductor that’s 110% into the song. Here are some of the must-listens; try guessing all the different songs in each medley!
1. Korea Science Academy of KAIST & Ritusumeikan High School Orchestra[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DJLIkhT6tk]
Featuring woodwind and brass instruments, this performance gives the tunes a jazzy and 80s-vibe, while retaining the catchy nature of K-pop. The Koreans and Japanese indeed live up to their name as dancing musicians, as they integrate choreography into their instrument-playing.
2. Danlu Symphonic Band[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXqL-tRtGbE]
It could be the setting, it could be the arrangement, but this performance gives a cleaner albeit subdued texture to the pieces. Nonetheless, the song choices to seem pretty consistent with the former. It seems that some select songs are not only fan favourites, but also K-pop orchestral favourites.
3. Marsiling Chinese Orchestra[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9o1FfKKnuM8]
Using slightly different instruments from the previous two, a Chinese Orchestra uses modern Chinese instruments, but includes the same woodwind, brass, and strings sections. These Chinese instruments tend to produce an additional trill, but it leads to a more traditional feel of the piece. We recently mentioned how traditional Korean instruments seems to make quite an appearance in K-pop songs, and it’s often due to the refreshing colour and texture these traditional instruments bring out in the songs.
4. Nanyang Polytechnic Chinese Orchestra
Saving the best for last, this orchestra has actually made a name for itself in playing K-pop covers, especially since it holds an annual concert K-Attack, just for its K-pop tunes. The medleys played by this orchestra feature a much wider array of songs, however each song is only played for less than thirty seconds. It makes the seamless transition from song to song all the more impressive, considering there are roughly 20 songs covered, from various artistes of different popularity. The conductor is an absolute delight to watch, injecting much energy and enthusiasm into the performance. This niche of theirs has definitely gained popularity with the crowd, so definitely stay tuned to their channel for more such pieces.
We previously featured its original K-pop medley, but there are some other medleys in its extensive repertoire that are highly recommended, and are huge fan favourites.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15MuytPKiiI] [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRvbVCQmPwg]
If you’re in the mood for something more artist-specific, the group also arranges medleys with songs from one specific artist. If you’re a Cassie or a VIP, you’re in luck, because they crafted two medleys featuring the two Kings of K-pop.
The TVXQ medley (aptly titled “Always Keep The Faith) is such a doozer, because it not only includes songs from the OT5, it also includes songs from JYJ as well as Homin. It’s one of my favourites and it’s such a important reminder of how simply amazing some of the OT5’s songs are.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u08lmsVjUgg]
The Big Bang medley is a little shorter, probably because it’s a tougher challenge to arrange some of the hip-hop styled Big Bang songs. The Big Bangs songs go through a practically 180 degrees turnaround with regards to its sound, but nevertheless, it’s still a pleasure to listen to.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3h5wN7QVX8]
If you’re looking for covers of single tracks, I recommend “Roly Poly” and “Mr Simple”, although they do have a ton more on their channel.
How do you guys like these covers, and which are your favourites?