Ben Folds Five featuring K-pop


Ben Folds Five plays Seoul for first time

During the past month, the American alternative rock trio, Ben Folds Five played a show in Seoul featuring K-pop singer Younha.  This was not the first time the musicians were connected.

Iso66256. “130224 – One Angry Dwarf And 200 Solemn Faces.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube,  25 Feb. 2013. Web.  3.  Mar.  2013.

As Ben Folds Five wrapped up their first live set in Korea, which was filled with a mix of old and new tracks including a number of improve songs, they began playing One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces.  At the start, Ben Folds warned the audience that he has trouble remembering all of the words to the song.  It is common for Ben Folds to have a surprise during his shows.

After the first verse, Folds invites Younha onto the stage.  Younha comes out singing as she moves to center stage.  When Folds moves into the piano solo, Younha helps with the high notes before Folds leaves the piano to sing.  The two musicians switch vocals and piano playing.  Younha seems very excited and thrilled to be on stage with Ben Folds Five.  During the whole song, she continues to dance and have a good time.

This is not Younha’s first time playing One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces.  She has appeared on TV covering Ben Folds Five’s song where she played the piano and sung infront of a live audience.  It seems Ben Folds was aware of Younha and that she had covered his music.  The TV performance received good reviews, and the band reached out to Younha before their first Seoul show.

While this was Ben Folds Five first show in Korea, they are not strangers to other parts of Asia.  They have played many times in Japan with success.  Younha got her start in pop music in Japan, and later returned to Korea.  On Ben Folds Five’s Facebook page, the group posted a picture in front of a table of fan gifts they had received before the show in Seoul, a common practice in K-pop.

In my opinion, Younha killed her performance with Ben Folds Five.  She came onstage as a surprise to fans, and participating in a large amount of the vocals.  She was able to keep of with Folds’ piano solos and put of a lot of energy.  If I were at the show, I would have been thrilled with the performance.

Unfortunately, there are only a few fan shot videos from the show with mixed video and audio qualities.   The video posted above has better sound, but here is a video of the entire encore.


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