Posted on July 29, 2014
Of all the many concerts and festivals I went to in 2013, the one that I enjoyed the most by a mile was last December’s “Rise Again Vol.1”, Korea’s first large-scale all-night ska and reggae party (you can read about it here http://www.doindie.co.kr/en/posts/rise-again-vol-1-korea-s-ska-reggae-all-stars-party ). Ahead of that event, the organizers Sugar Suk-Yuel (vocalist of Kingston Rudieska) and RD Byeon (one half of Rude Paper) promised to make it a regular festival, a pioneering way of both promoting the Korean reggae scene and unifying the diverse artists within it. 7 months of planning later, inspired by the success of that first (more spontaneous) party, they have made good on that promise, and are ready to offer up the same good music and great vibes, but, much like the roaring lion on this year’s poster, on a bigger scale. Rise Again returns to shake up Hongdae on a hot summer night at Yes24 MUV Hall, on August 9th.
RD and Suk-Yuel were kind enough to sit down for dinner with me and share their thoughts on the success of the first Rise Again party, their plans for this one, and the current state of reggae in Korea. RD offered his opinion that as yet there is no real reggae “scene” in Korea yet, and that there is a lot of misunderstanding about the genre and the culture surrounding it. For example, dreadlocks, referred to as “reggae hair” in Korea, are seen as a joke, rather than as a symbol of spiritual beliefs. However, he is extremely positive about the fact that the scene has been growing significantly in the last two years; Rise Again as well as one of its sponsors, the Purijah magazine and record label, have played a very important part in energizing it. The organizers and the musicians taking part in this festival are united in their desire to change the public’s perceptions. More than making money, they want to show that reggae is not just about appearance, and that it includes a diverse array of musical styles. “We want to show them real reggae culture, the real reggae spirit and message”, RD continued. “My main hope is that people who are curious about reggae will come. I 100% guarantee that this party will show them what it’s all about”.
Suk-Yuel added that he hopes many pretty girls come. “Bikinis are welcome too!” While this may seem to create a paradox with the spiritual message of reggae, it does seem that the image of reggae in Korea could do with a little “sexifying”. Existing fans, besides expats, seem to be mostly those who were originally into the punk and ska scene, and older musicians. The Rise Again team hopes to draw younger Koreans towards reggae, to make them see it as something fun, cool and yes, sexy. While Rude Paper has already covered this by cleverly combining EDM with dubstep, hip hop and Korean reggae, and with M.Tyson and JoshRoy bringing in the dancehall beats, “Rise Again Vol.2” has a few new tricks up its sleeve--compared to last winter’s festival, this year will have more of a Caribbean beach party feel, as well as many more female performers.
First up, breaking the formal image of a band concert, is the addition of hot reggae dancers Miss Friday (from Korea) and Icons & Idols (from Japan). They will not only be giving stand-alone performances but heating up the stage alongside the musicians. Based on the footage I have seen, these ladies are the main reason there is an age restriction of 19 (although the sale of Caribbean cocktails all night, thanks to main sponsor Jose Cuervo, will certainly add to the fun)! Another new addition will be two VJs, spinning tunes and cool graphics between sets, as will new selecta DJ Quandol. This year’s venue is much bigger too, having moved to the new Yes24 MUV Hall, which has a capacity of 500 and a spacious bar area.
One of the potential problems with the limited size of the local reggae scene is that it is not possible to offer an entirely different lineup of musicians at every show. However, besides uniting existing artists, Rise Again aims to introduce at least one new artist at every event, to help nurture new talent and also to establish themselves as role models for junior musicians. I am personally very excited to see two acts for the first time at this event. The first is Orixa, a beautiful Afro-Brazilian Batucada group of 12 female percussionists and vocalists—something like a female version of festival favourites Rapercussion, who are the label mates at Pbrosound, headed by Zion Luz, whose reggae/”Afro-Carizilian” Project band will also play at Rise Again 2. On the other end of the scale are the Pegurians, a brand new early reggae (also known as skinhead reggae) band, whose Hammond organ is the foundation for a good session of skanking (read more about Pegurians and skinhead reggae at http://www.doindie.co.kr/en/posts/an-interview-with-pegurians)
Of course, most of Rise Again Vol. 1’s musicians will, happily, be back with new material: singer-songwriter Tehiun, ska stalwarts Kingston Rudieska and Ska Wakers, project band Seoul Riddim Superclub, the Wild Born System Crew (Rude Paper, M.Tyson and JoshRoy), Sugar Suk-Yuel’s lover’s rock band Sugar Come Again, and Zion Luz Project. Although it will start 2 hours earlier this time (at 8pm), the show will again consist of 20-minute live sets interspersed with 10-minute DJ/VJ sets, offering you 8 action-packed hours of great reasons to dance!
While Rise Again assures me they will keep holding their festivals at least once or twice a year (watch this space for an outdoor, riverside reggae party) and consistently help the Korean reggae scene to grow and get the nationwide attention it deserves, I leave you with Sugar Suk-Yuel’s personal message to our readers: “If you miss this show, you will seriously regret it!”
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By : Rock ‘n Rose
With help from : Hayeon
Korean Translation : Jo Jaeyun
Date : Aug 9th (Sat)
Venue : MUV Hall
Adv : 30,000 (Interpark / Yes24)
Door : 35,000
Lineup : 서울리딤슈퍼클럽 (Seoul Riddim Superclub) | 오리샤 (Orixa) | 자이온 루츠 프로젝트 (Zion Luz Project) | 페규리안스 (Pegurians) | 슈가콤아겐 (Sugar, Come Again) | 스카웨이커스 (Ska Wakers) | 엠 타이슨 (M. Tyson) | 조쉬로이 (JoshRoy) | 태히언과뿌리자 (Tehiun and Purijah) | 킹스턴루디스카 (Kingston Rudieska) | 루드페이퍼 (Rude Paper)
For more information on the festival, check out the links below :
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/reggaeriseagain