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In South Korea, K-pop fans have reason to rejoice (and sing along) again: NPR


Kayla Balba at the Stray Kids concert at Jamsil Indoor Stadium in Seoul.

Kayla Balba


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Kayla Balba

In South Korea, K-pop fans have reason to rejoice (and sing along) again: NPR

Kayla Balba at the Stray Kids concert at Jamsil Indoor Stadium in Seoul.

Kayla Balba

Concerts and sporting events returned to South Korea this year, but with one caveat: To minimize the spread of the coronavirus, no cheering was allowed.

That meant baseball games without crowds making noise — and K-pop concerts without “fanchants.”

For the uninitiated, a fanchant is a dedicated script that K-pop fans can do together during specific songs.

“I think it was originally created by fans to show the members and the group their support during songs,” says longtime K-pop fan Kayla Balba. “But now a lot of bands do fan-singing guides so you know exactly what to say and when.”

“It’s mainly so that the fans can be involved in the performance, but it also contributes to the general atmosphere of the concert.”

A compilation of K-pop fanchants.

Youtube

Balba went to a few gigs earlier this year, but said they “didn’t scream, sing, dance or stand up at all.”

Of course, that didn’t stop fans from making noise in other ways. Paper folded back and forth makes for quite impressive sounding tap dance and fills the void left by the lack of cheers.

Fan applauders can still make a lot of noise at concerts.

Youtube

South Korea lifted a ban on cheering last month and fanchants have made their triumphant return.

Balba went to the Stray Kids concert in Seoul and reveled in the return.

“There’s so much going on. There’s people taking pictures, there’s people running for giveaways, it’s like a free-for-all game. There’s just a lot of excited fans,” he said. she said from the room.

Masks may still be needed, but cheers and chants are back in South Korea.

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