In case you haven’t heard, the 2018 Winter Olympics will kick off this Friday, February 9th in Pyeongchang, South Korea. It’s going to be very, very cold, but not for us! We’re smart people, who will sit in our warm homes, starring at our computer screens, cheering on the world, muttering this year’s motto of “Passion. Connected” to ourselves. (Which is, by the way, extraordinarily appropriate.)
The Opening Ceremony will air from 6:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. EDT Friday—not great for East Coasters—and boasts of a bunch of talented sports folks and a handful of Korean musicians you might not know anything about. Sure, the North and South Korean women’s ice hockey tournament will be cool and all, but this really is a great opportunity to really get into Korean music. That’s where we come in.
Here’s your guide to every musical artist performing at the 2018 Olympics Opening Ceremony (that we know about.) Who doesn’t love a surprise?
Ha Hyun-Woo (of the indie band Guckkasten)
While we don’t totally know what Ha Hyun-Woo, frontman of the popular South Korean indie rock band Guckksaten, will perform at the 2018 Olympics Opening Ceremony—let’s assume he’ll tackle the hits—viewers can expect a performance that serves to highlight the strengths of the veteran rock band: Psychedelia-soundscapes, post-punk riffing and pulsating, synth-rhythms. Check out “Stranger,” above, which recalls the softer moments of Thirty Seconds of Mars, or Tokio Hotel. It’s certainly arena-ready stuff!
Ahn Ji-young (of K-Pop duo Bolbbalgan4)
Could they even have the Winter Olympics in South Korea without some K-Pop? The answer is—of course not, people would riot. Filling the space is Ahn Ji-young of K-Pop duo Bolbbalgan4 (or, depending who you ask, Blushing Youth, or Bolppalgan Puberty—they’ve got a lot of monikers). Why her partner in crime, Woo Ji-Yoon, won’t join her is beyond me, but we can expect Ji-young’s performance to be sugary-sweet, full of subdued pop-folk balladry.
We know for a fact that Hyolyn, current soloist, former member of the K-Pop girl group girl group Sistar (and their sub-group Sistar19) will perform the South Korean national anthem at the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony. It’s called “Aegukga,” in Korean, and is usually translated to “The Patriotic Song” in English because, well, duh. As far as national anthems go, it kinda kicks America’s butt. Just sayin’.
The genre of K-Pop certainly dominates a lot of conversation surrounding Korean popular music in the U.S. these days, but South Korea has produced a lot of great talent outside of its girl groups and boy bands...obviously? A prime example of this is R&B singer Insooni (for what it’s worth, the crooner started in the girl group Hee Sisters in the early ‘80s before breaking off and doing her own dang thing.)
Insooni will perform the theme song for the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony torch relay. It’s called “Let Everyone Shine,” it definitely sounds like something you’d hear blasting from a parade float on Main Street U.S.A. at Disney World, and you can check it out above. Sports!