We all know how many brilliant artists have come out of the UK and the US throughout the years. But if you venture further afield, there are whole new music scenes to be discovered. Here’s a few of our favourite international gamechangers who are revolutionising the way we think about world music.
K-pop is a genre that has exploded into mainstream with the likes of BTS and BLACKPINK working with some of the biggest names in English-speaking music. BLACKPINK are a four-piece girl group from Seoul, South Korea. With a fusion of Eastern and Western music stylings, it is easy to understand how they are leading the charge in K-pop girl groups. Having formed back in 2016, they currently have one EP and one full length album, BLACKPINK IN YOUR AREA, but with the rapid turnaround common in K-pop artist discographies, I’m sure we can expect some more music coming to your area from BLACKPINK really soon.
Stromae is a Belgian musician that has established himself throughout the hip hop and electronic music scene. If you have been anywhere in Europe or even a British night club, you most likely have heard Alors on danse. It was the song that brought Stromae to international prominence as he merges electronic dance music with rap and once translated the song becomes even more extraordinary. Alors on danse is about someone who uses dance to forget their problems but then falls for self-destruction. This theme is similar throughout Stromae’s music. Despite the language barrier throughout the song you can hear the immense passion and pain behind the song, Stromae proves that you do not need to understand French to be touched by such amazing music.
BTS, or Bangtan Boys, are easily the biggest band in the world right now. They’ve swept across the globe like a wave, dominating the charts and capturing the hearts of fans everywhere, creating a phenomenon near akin to Beatlemania with their social media presence. Accredited with being the first K-Pop band to properly hit the mainstream, BTS’ music shifts from upbeat, trap-esque pop tunes like ‘Fire’ to mellowed out ballads like ‘Spring Day’. A personal favourite album of theirs is Wings; definitely one to check out if you’re into concept albums that completely sweep you off your feet with their creativity. Their genre is most definitely rap-pop, with the skills of leader Kim Nam-joon often making an appearance in their songs, and their albums often follow some kind of storyline, dealing with pretty heavy topics like philosophy, mental health and social commentary. If you haven’t taken some time to listen to the band that’s becoming a cultural movement in their own right, you’re missing out.
If I were to describe Gogol Bordello in three words, those words would be: multiculturalism, punk, and energy. Gogol Bordello is a gypsy-punk band led by Ukranian frontman Eugene Hütz, their moustached, half naked lead singer. The band and its music is a melting pot, with band members hailing from Russia to Ecuador, each bringing with them a distinct sound. Their brand of gypsy punk is decorated with energetic, varied instrumentation featuring the accordion, the conga, fiddle, brass, guitar, and more. The fabric of their music weaves tales of breaking borders, world travelling, partying and finding unity with toe-tapping rhythms.