After his first performance in Korea on Tuesday, Norwegian singer-songwriter Bellman pondered why Scandinavian musicians often created such music.
The musician, whose real name is Arne-J Rauan and who describes his sound as “floating, atmospheric pop music,” said the otherworldly quality associated with Scandinavian groups could be down to the weather in Northern Europe.
Norwegian singer Bellman (left) performs at the Norwegian ambassador’s residence in Seoul on Tuesday. (Kirsty Taylor)
“In these countries, when it comes to the winter, it is dark all the time and people they are getting emotional. I think they are getting very in touch with their emotions,” he said.
And the ethereal sound of modern Scandinavia drifted into Seoul thanks to a set by Rauan at a cozy concert for his ambassador.
The melancholy musician kicked off a Korean mini-tour with a performance at the Norwegian ambassador Torbjorn Holthe’s residence.
The slight singer, whose faintly wistful sound has been compared to minimalist Icelandic act Sigur Ros, is already known a little in Korea thanks to use of some tunes on TV here.
His hit single “Spaceship, Move Slow!” was used in a KEB advertisement and another track, “This Is Life,” was used in the sitcom “High Kick.”
Bellman took his stage name from the composer Carl Michael Bellman, who was a key figure in the Swedish song tradition and remains influential in Scandinavian music and poetry today.
While Bellman’s sweet, yet light-handed melodies and thoughtful English lyrics are far removed from heavily produced K-pop, Rauan said that he enjoyed listening to all kinds of music. He said he would like to hear more Korean popular music on his trip here, which has been partly funded by the Norwegian government.
“We are not that familiar with K-pop in Norway but the little that I have heard I like. I like snappy pop music and I have heard some good melodies,” he said.
He is to perform at EBS Space Hall on Jan. 18 and 19. He will also play at Veloso Cafe in Hongdae at 8 p.m. on Jan. 20 and at Times Square Mnet Pop at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 21.
By Kirsty Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org