Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism (hereinafter referred to as Ministry) and the National Conservatory have shown much appreciation and support for BTS‘s Suga‘s solo track “Daechwita” and its newfound role in spreading traditional Korean music overseas.
On June 17, the Ministry released a statement and promotional video on its official Twitter regarding Suga’s latest single and the attention it’s bringing to traditional Korean music, precisely the music heard in “Daechwita.”
The tweet included a clip of an informational video made for overseas viewers to learn about traditional Korean instruments, including how they’re played and how they sound. In the first four hours after the Ministry posted the tweet, it received over 3000 retweets and over 63,000 likes, many of them by overseas fans.
Released the end of last month, “Daechwita” is the lead single off of Suga’s D-2 mixtape, which was released under his other stage name Agust D. The symbolism, meaning, and success was later dampened after controversy arose regarding sound sampling in another song off of the mixtape. Still, the Ministry is doing its best to make sure that the musical and cultural importance of “Daechwita” doesn’t go unnoticed.
As soon as Suga released “Daechwita,” and before the sound sampling scandal, Ministry officials noticed a surge of interest in traditional Korean music, almost entirely by overseas fans. It included interest in learning and listening to more famous classic Korean songs as well as a curiosity about traditional Korean instruments, specifically those used in “Daechwita.” Interestingly, the song title is the same as a genre of traditional Korean music, which is also same kind that appears in Suga’s song. The genre of “daechwita” includes instruments such as the “nabal” (brass horn) and “yonggo” (drum played with mallets), which lend themselves to the unique marching-band-type sound.
The music video for “Daechwita” stirred up interest in other aspects of traditional Korean culture, including traditional attire, which caught the interest of overseas viewers. Fans were especially particularly in the clothes Suga wore during the “Daechwita” music video, which consisted of black robes, tunics, and sashes with gold accents.
Fans have shown interest in Korean cuisine, contemporary media (e.g. TV, movies, music), and attire for well over a decade, but this marks the first major interest in traditional Korean music. Comments from overseas fans have been full of nothing but excitement, commenting that traditional music is “super interesting” and that they now want to learn more about it.
One thing that the Ministry and overseas fans share is that they are both especially grateful to BTS for helping them spread and learn about both traditional and contemporary Korean culture and music.
Check out the informational video below (English subtitles available through clicking CC) as well as the official music video for “Daechwita” to hear instrumental similarities: