A look Into Melbourne-based K-pop Dance Cover Crew The Sense

You watch millions of K-pop dance covers on YouTube, with their eye-catching fashion and knife-like choreographies. But have you ever wondered who they are and what they actually do behind cameras?

Lillian Shi isn’t you’re typical fashion student at RMIT university in Melbourne. When’s she’s not stitching clothes and creating aesthetic designs in class, you can find her dancing to K-pop idol’s catchy music and perfecting their synchronized dance moves with her five-member cover crew The Sense.

This video explores the student’s life and documents her transformation, from being an ordinary student into a K-pop dancer and answers questions to how important K-pop is to her, the meaning of being perfect in the K-pop world, understanding the importance of becoming a K-pop dancer in Melbourne and much more.

You can follow The Sense Crew on Facebook and watch all their latest K-pop covers on YouTube.

The University of Melbourne Student Elections 2017

Stand Up! and More! parties have been battling it out every year at The University of Melbourne’s student elections. Although the majority of UMSU offices are held by the More! party, Stand Up! still disagrees with the way they represent students. Samar Khouri reports.

 

Note: The above picture has been taken by the owner of this site and the video has not been added to The Citizen‘s site.  

BTS’s DNA Hits Australian Radio Airwaves

It’s official! BTS’s hit new track “DNA” aired on Australian radio stations, 2Day FM and Fox FM.

Upon the release of the seven-member K-pop boy band’s fifth album, Love Yourself 承 ‘Her’ on September 18, “DNA” made it’s way into Australians hearts, proving that music has no language barrier.

With it’s whistle-led hook, “DNA” is a bright EDM-pop and soft hip-hop, inspired by “young, passionate love”.

“It’s very different from our previous music, technically and musically. I believe it’s going to be the starting point of a second chapter of our career; the beginning of our Chapter Two,” BTS’s leader Rap Monster says in an interview with Billboard.

With Rap Monster, Suga and J-Hope’s rap style, V and Jin’s soulful, smooth voices and Jungkook and Jimin’s impressive dancing skills, the group never seize to disappoint their dedicated fans, also known as ARMY’s, an acronym for Adorable Representative M.C for Youth, by channeling sensitive yet controversial topics that other K-pop groups usually avoid covering. They seem to know their ARMYs and make sure to compose and produce music that listeners can relate to on a deeper level.

BTS’s mini-album, Love Yourself 承 ‘Her’, consists of nine tracks, with a surprise collaboration with New York’s The Chainsmokers‘s Andrew Taggart, who co-wrote and produced the ‘Best of Me’ track, as well as two hidden tracks that are only available in the physical album.

“I think this album will be a type of turning point for us,” says Rap Monster at a press conference.

“It is also about the love of boys who grow up, but it’s also about a message of reconciliation and integration that we want to convey to the society.”

In return for the group’s hard work and captivating highlight reels (that keep fans on their toes), ARMYs around the world joined forces to make the DNA music video hit 20 million views, making it YouTube’s 11th most viewed video of all-time in the first 24 hours and knocking down American artists such as Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Rihanna.

According to the group’s agency, Big Hit Entertainment, the album is the top selling album chart on iTunes in 73 countries, making it the largest debut number for any South Korean artist.

They also became the first K-pop group to enter Spotify’s Global Top 50, making their new hit “DNA” number 45 in the playlist as of September 22nd.

This is not the first time BTS – who also go by Beyond The Scene – beat out top-charting artists. They also took the award for Top Social Artist at this year’s Billboard Award’s, beating out the likes of Selena Gomez, Justine Bieber, Shawn Mendes and Ariana Grande.

Check out their record-breaking MV “DNA”:

Congrats once again to BTS!

Pictures: Manus and Nauru Refugee Rally Event

A rally took place on Saturday, 2nd September on steps of Victorian Parliament House in response to the decision made by the Turnbull government to cut income support for over 400 Manus and Nauru refugees who are currently in Australia receiving medical treatment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: All above images are taken by the owner of this site.

Ali’s Wedding

Osamah Sami in Ali’s Wedding

Based on a true story, Ali is an Iraqi-Australian who is caught between going ahead with an arranged marriage or following his heart.


Movie Details…

  • English title: Ali’s Wedding
  • Director: Jeffrey Walker
  • Cast: Osamah Sami, Helana Sawires, Don Hany, Robert Rabiah
  • Language: English/Arabic
  • Genre: Romance, comedy, biography
  • Release date: 31 August 2017
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

Did You Know…

  • It’s Australia’s first Muslim rom-com movie.
  • Ali’s Wedding is Director Jeffrey Walker’s first feature film debut.
  • It was filmed by Oscar-nominated cinematographer Donald McAlpine.
  • Based on a true story of award-winning Iraqi-Australian actor, writer and stand up comedian, Osamah Sami.
  • Ali’s Wedding won Best Feature Audience Award at the Sydney Film Festival.
  • The film had its world premiere at the Adelaide Film Festival in October 2016.

… and lastly, my thoughts…

Ok, I have a confession to make. Before arriving at Victorian College of the Arts for an exclusive preview screening of Ali’s Wedding, organized by The Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, I wasn’t quite sure I would enjoy the movie. I had my doubts. The reason is I’ve watched other Australian-Arabic movies and wasn’t quite – you could say – content. Reasons of me being bilingual and of Arabic background, I felt the the roots of the characters weren’t portrayed accurately .

Ali’s Wedding not only picked up the interest of international audience but also won the Best Feature Audience Award at the Sydney Film Festival.

It was inspired by the true story of Osamah Sami, who plays the main character, and is based on his award-winning memoir Good Muslim Boy.

(From left to right) Osamah Sami and Helana Sawires

Playing a somewhat fictionalised version of himself, Sami took the role of Ali, an Iraqi-Australian and son of a Muslim cleric. He is caught between going ahead with an arranged marriage or following his heart for the first time.

It’s an affectionate and light-hearted story that explores the lives of the communities in Melbourne and all the outrageous events of Ali’s life, which involves his struggling identity, lying about scoring highly on his medical degree entrance exams and falling in love with Diane, a smart Lebanese girl from his mosque and who also attends The University of Melbourne to be a doctor.

Sami doesn’t sail to show the welcoming and humorous side of his Islamic community in the multi-cultural Australia.

With Osamah Sami’s co-writing style, Jeffrey Walker’s award-winning directing skills, and Donald McAlpine’s Oscar-nominated cinematographer technique, Australia’s first Muslim Rom-Com resulted in a warm-hearted comedy that is bound to win audience’s heart.

The co-writer and star, Osamah Sami, Andrew Knight (co-writer) and Tony Ayres (executive producer) passed by for a live, insightful Q&A with the international audience after the screening, discussing the film at VCA.

The cast during Q&A at VCA UniMelb (Image taken by me)

This movie is worth watching! This is the first Australian-Arabic movie I actually enjoyed watching. Go watch it and let me know what you think in the below comments section.

Note: All above images are screenshots of the movie trailer.

Australia develops a taste for K-pop

(BTS, the first K-pop band to win big at the Billboard Music Awards, appears for one night only in Sydney on Friday. PIC: Supplied)

When the boy band GOT7 held a fan meeting in Australia late last month, Twitter lit up with a series of hashtags that revealed a growing Australian appetite for catchy K-pop – the music genre originating in South Korea that is a heady mix of catchy tunes, synchronised dancing and eye-catching fashion.

#GOT7inMelbourne, #GOT7inAustralia and #GOT7 were soon trending in anticipation of news of the multi-talented Korean idols.

And that buzz is set to intensify with Friday night’s one-off appearance in Sydney of fellow K-pop stars BTS and planned visits to Australia in coming months by G-Dragon and Jay Park.

Jeff Benjamin, Billboard.com’s K-pop columnist, told The Citizen that the “music itself is a true, full package of pop.”

“I think listeners find it so appealing because it isn’t just the music they become interested in; they become interested in the whole K-pop culture.”

Australians were first introduced to K-pop in 2012, when Korean artist Psy released the hit song Gangnam Style, which has drawn around 2 billion views on YouTube and was instrumental in spreading the Korean sound to a new audience.

Benjamin, who writes Billboard’s online column K-Town, senses that “K-pop has a strong and passionate underground following in Australia and the Korean promoters are starting to notice the continent a lot more.”

“I feel like we’re seeing more tours include Australia in their tour dates and bigger acts are visiting,” he adds. “I think that’s a great move on K-pop’s part  since I would say the global music industry sees Australia (and New Zealand) as being early adopters of a lot of new pop music.”

One of the biggest acts to catch the eye of locals is Friday’s appearance in Sydney of Korea’s most popular seven-member boy band, BTS – Bangtan Sonyeondan, or “Bulletproof Boy Scouts”.

In response to Australian demand, concert organiser IME AU decided to divert the band for one night only on their 2017 BTS Live Trilogy Episode III: The Wings Tour. Tickets to the Sydney gig sold out almost immediately they went online.

In fact, Sydney will be the group’s first stop after making history by becoming the first K-pop band to win Top Social Artist at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards, after receiving more than 300 million votes from fans to beat Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande and Shawn Mendes.

Some Aussie fans appear so infatuated with the Korean brand of pop that they have created Facebook pages dedicated solely to their favourite K-pop groups. Thirty-three-year old financial consultant Anne Lu is one of the administrators of AusArmyProject, a community of BTS fans in Australia and New Zealand, ranging in age from 13 to 40.

Ms Lu believes that the band’s popularity in Australia, and the reason they stand apart from other K-pop groups, is because their music addresses relatable topics and sensitive issues such as bullying, mental health, politics and adolescence, while incorporating some of the style elements of mainstream US artists, something uncommon for most K-pop idols.

“When they first came to Australia in 2015, their concert was filled with 2000 fans . . . It was the first K-pop concert to sell out in Australia,” Ms Lu adds.

Being an avid fan of the global music phenomenon for more than 15 years, and considered a part of the ARMY, the group’s official fan club name, Ms Lu says that the first K-pop concert in Australia – held in Sydney in 2011 and featuring some of the hottest K-pop groups of the time – pre-dated the K-pop craze.

Two years ago, promoters tested the market again and brought BTS and the better-known Big Bang, which played to sell-out concerts.

“After that, we’ve seen a steady stream of K-pop bands coming,” says Ms Lu. “And it [has] really surprised a lot of promoters, so they have started bringing more bands down [from Korea].”

Increasingly, Aussie fans are taking their love of K-pop to a new level by uploading dance covers to YouTube of their favourite bands, such as the Melbourne-based dance group AO Crew, and by entering K-pop music “boot camps” where they can test their talents.

Unlike Western artists, South Korean K-pop wannabes go through a rigorous and “robotic” system of training at entertainment agencies where they join classes and spend long hours learning dance routines, music and language in a highly organised and frenetic environment, before they officially debut.

Some trainees at Korea’s top agencies spend years working to become idols. But most either drop out or simply fail to make the grade in an extremely competitive industry.

Aussie fans wanting a taste of K-pop training are turning to The Academy, a Sydney-based agency that runs experiential K-pop boot camps, choreography and other tailored programs and reality TV-style workshops.  Those attending also get the chance to work with professional trainers and consultants from top entertainment agencies across Asia.

“We picked K-pop because there is a demand for it on two fronts – from agencies searching for new talent, and young talent searching for a breakthrough in the entertainment industry besides Hollywood,” says Angela Lee, the director of The Academy.

“With the boot camp, it also provides talent scouts a better opportunity to observe the boot camp trainees over a few days so that they can have a better understanding of the trainee’s talent, personality and culture, [and] fit for Korea.”

Ms Lee says that one of the main reasons why fans want to experience the rigorous training is curiosity. Although it’s not widely publicised, or even documented, a lot of applicants want to challenge themselves and see whether they have what it takes to make it to the top.

“We picked K-pop because there is a demand for it on two fronts – from agencies searching for new talent, and young talent searching for a breakthrough in the entertainment industry besides Hollywood.” — Angela Lee, director, The Academy

Much like Korea’s idol trainees, applicants are young teenagers and come with multicultural backgrounds – seven out of 10 are Asian Australians. But interest is starting to grow among other young Australians, too.

“We have seen an increase in interest from an international audience and an increase in the number of auditions by younger talents than in 2016,” adds Ms Lee.

Some Asian Australians, including JJCC’s Prince Mak, Jang Han-byul and Black Pink’s Roseanne Park, to name a few, have gone on to pass rigorous auditions in Korea and to debut at well-known entertainment agencies.

AusArmyProject’s Ms Lu believes that K-pop has boomed in Australia because of the global revolution in sharing – through YouTube and music streaming, as well as via content-sharing sites such as Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

“This has helped fans come together and share their love for their idols via fan-created content such as memes, gifs, fan art and fan fiction, and creates a perceived greater connection between fans and idols,” she adds.

Much to the delight of K-pop fans, it has been announced that KCON, an annual Korean pop music and cultural convention based in the US, will be extended for the first time to Australia in September, making it the seventh host country since its launch in 2012.

K-pop writer Jeff Benjamin has high hopes for the future of the genre.

“Just like how the current generation of stars utilised and built off the accomplishments of the past generation, the future of K-pop seems to be growing in healthy ways,” he says.

Please note: the above article was originally published on The Citizen and written by the owner of this site.