Published: 18:49, November 20, 2023 | Updated: 12:54, November 21, 2023
Hong Kong seen as cultural exchange hub
By Yang Han in Hong Kong

City has good scope for collaboration with K-drama music industry, Korean official says

Singers take a curtain call at the Festive Korea 2023: K-Drama OST Concert on Nov 17, 2023. Held at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, the event featured over 20 soundtracks from classic dramas and films. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

As a city where East meets West, Hong Kong can become a cultural exchange center in Asia that allows people in the region to know better about each other, a Republic of Korea (ROK) official said.

“Hong Kong has great potential for cultural exchange based on the fact that it is a city of diversity, which has been leading Asia’s cultural content industry,” said Lee Young-ho, director of the Korean Cultural Center in Hong Kong.

Lee, who has been in Hong Kong for two years and eight months, said Hong Kong is an international city that has deep-rooted Eastern traditions and well-combined Western culture.

Presented by the Consulate of General of the Republic of Korea in Hong Kong and the Korean Cultural Center in Hong Kong, the “Festive Korea 2023: K-Drama OST Concert” was successfully held at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall on Nov 18

“I believe Hong Kong will be a good place for cultural exchange if it can merge the culture of the East and West while developing in a good manner, based on its long-time history,” Lee said on Nov 17.

In Hong Kong, ROK culture, including its dramas and music, is also getting increasing attention from the public.

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Presented by the Consulate of General of the Republic of Korea in Hong Kong and the Korean Cultural Center in Hong Kong, the “Festive Korea 2023: K-Drama OST Concert” was successfully held at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall on Nov 18.

The concert was held as part of the ”Asia+ Festival” by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of Hong Kong, aimed at celebrating the cultural diversity of the continent and other regions along the Belt and Road route.

The event featured performances by the MOST Orchestra (ROK) and ROK singers Sam Kim, Gaho, Kim Na-young. It also invited Hong Kong singers Gigi Yim and Barry Ip. The artists delivered 90 minutes of captivating performances, singing more than 20 soundtracks from classic ROK dramas and Hong Kong films.

Within minutes after the registration opened, over three thousand tickets were quickly snapped up, which indicated the significant interest from Hong Kong people in the concert and the ROK culture.

“I wish, through this performance, we can introduce a new genre of (ROK) culture and also enhance the relationship between the professionals in the music industry,” said Lee.

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Lee Young-ho, director of the Korean Cultural Center in Hong Kong, gives an interview on Nov 17, 2023. (LESLEY LIU / CHINA DAILY)

Noting that drama soundtrack is a new cultural content following dramas, movies and K-pop, Lee said it can be a field for cooperation between the ROK and Hong Kong as the city has also produced many classic movies that gained popularity among international audiences.

As it marked the first time that the MOST Orchestra had performed with Hong Kong singers, Chang Seung-jun, chief producer of the concert, said it was very meaningful and a great chance of cooperation for singers from both sides.

Most Contents is a leading music production company in the ROK with a share of nearly 50 percent in the ROK drama music market.

“There are so many competent composers in Hong Kong, I hope we will provide opportunities for them to use K-drama soundtracks to make better songs,” said Chang.

In the future, Chang said the company may consider opening a master-class program in Hong Kong to provide training for local music talent and even bring them to the ROK to jointly compose soundtracks with the team there for new K-dramas.

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“It is actually not about who is better and who is worse,” said Park In-young, conductor of MOST Orchestra.

“It is actually about how we interact with each other, help each other and get to know more about each other to better exchange our culture and enhance the relationship (between the ROK and Hong Kong),” she said.

Noting that cultural influence goes both ways for people in the ROK and Hong Kong, Park said the concert provided a good opportunity for people to learn more about each other, and was mutually beneficial.

Besides the concert, the KCC has organized a series of cultural events in Hong Kong this year under the umbrella of Festive Korea, such as a K-pop Community Festival and the musical Vanishing.

Lee said another major event that is in the offing is the Squid Olympics 2023 to be held on Nov 26, which will provide Hong Kong people a chance to experience traditional ROK games that were featured in the hit TV series Squid Game.

Lesley Liu contributed to this story.

kelly@chinadailyapac.com