With the imminent arrival of the 40th anniversary of the moment when diplomatic ties were established between Indonesia and Korea, music has rightly become centre-stage. More than any other form of artistic expression, music is capable of crossing international borders and creating harmony. For that reason, music is going to be used has enhanced the relationship between the Indonesian and Korean people.
Last November, a concert took place at the Ansan Sangnosku Gymnasium in Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. Under the title ‘Woorinen Hana Kita Bersatu!' which translates as “we are one” in the respective languages of Korean and Indonesian. The event drew large audiences together, both in person and via digital images. Amongst the artists featured in the show were Indonesia's Ridho Rhoma and Amir, and the Korean singers Wheesung, Ailee, Koyote, Tae Jin-ah and Eru.
The US-born Korean singer Ailee was a particular favourite with the bustling crowds. A mere 24-years old, she has been wowing audiences in Korean and beyond for some time, ever since her debut single Heaven was released in February 2012. When her second mini album A's Doll House was released last July, nearly all music stores in South Korea were sold out of physical copies within 24 hours. Her management company clearly had other markets in their sights, too. A version of Heaven was released by Warner Music Japan, propelling her into the spotlight of the potentially vast music devouring Japanese youth market.
Ailee's music, which typically blends a wonderfully irresistible pop vocal technique with some harder rock balladry, was an easy choice for an invitee for those organizing the special anniversary gig.
Eru Entertainment, a Korean agency and the Indonesian national broadcaster Trans TV, co-hosted the event. It was also sponsored by South Korean Ministry of culture, sports and tourism, and the Indonesian Embassy in Seoul, as well as Ansan City Hall.
Amongst the audience who packed into the gymnasium to listen to the music there were many Indonesians. The organisers have specifically invited visitors from that country currently residing in Korea to attend, in particular those who happened to travel northwards for economic reasons.
As the music one particularly arresting moment came right in the middle of the proceedings. Five workers from Indonesia, who had been specially selected by the Indonesian Embassy, got to be re-united with the families they have not actually seen for a considerable period of time. As the Korean singer and event co-host Eru stated: “I thought that now was the time to give back to my Indonesian fans who have given me so much love and support. I hope this will give at least a small but heartwarming present to all of them who have long been here in Korea, far away from their families back home”.