Track: Love Tonight | Artist: Hong Jin Young | Album: Lots Of Love

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Trot is a uniquely Korean genre that’s had somewhat of a resurgence recently, after years of it being treated as “old people music”. Hong Jin Young is one of the artists leading that charge.

Teu-ro-teu, also colloquially known as ppongjjak, traces its origins to Japanese colonial rule in the first half of the twentieth century and that country’s post-WWI pop music, which was in turn influenced by Western music—most notably foxtrot, hence the name.

Trot hit its apex in the 1970s, as South Korea started its post-postwar economic boom years. Here are some of my favorite examples of classic trot, impressed upon my brain by numerous road trips with my classics-loving parents:

Shim Soo Bong—Men Are Boats, Women Are Harbors (1984)

Kim Soo Hee—Southbound Train (1986)

Tae Jin Ah—Yellow Handkerchief (1992)

These days, trot is mostly known for being blared over bad-quality loudspeakers at every countryside festival in Korea to appreciative groups of elders. But some people are trying to change that, with younger artists fusing traditional trot with more modern styles of music and K-Pop. Apart from Hong Jin Young, some idol singers have also dabbled with bringing their talents over to this classic genre, including Big Bang’s Daesung and After School/Orange Caramel’s Lizzy.

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