By TRECIA TAN
IN 2009, South Korean girl group Kara inadvertently created a huge craze over what came to be known as the “butt dance”, an over-the-top dance move choreographed for their most popular single to date, Mister.
For many K-pop fans, it was the dance move that made the song a hit, as it was unorthodox for girl group members to be gyrating their bottoms on stage when they usually maintain a more innocent “schoolgirl” image. The raunchy dance move has garnered much interest from fans and non-fans alike, and this has aided Kara’s rise to fame.
According to Forbes Korea, Kara is currently the second most powerful girl group in K-pop, trailing only Girls’ Generation.
This does not come as much of a surprise, seeing as the girls have made a name for themselves not only in their home country, but also in Japan, winning the Best Asian Artist award at the recent 26th Japan Gold Disk Award, among other accolades.
Kara’s rising popularity was further proven when they became the first ever girl group in South Korea to have their own figurines.
“When we first released the figurines, it was a very new experience to us, and at the same time, it was surprising that so many fans loved them. We’re overjoyed about it,” said band leader Park Gyuri, during an interview a day before the MTV World Stage Live in Malaysia 2012 concert last week. Kara shared the stage with teenage superstar Justin Bieber, fellow K-pop act Jay Park, and Malaysian singer Mizz Nina.
The name Kara came from the Greek word “chara”, which means “sweet melody”; and the group comprises five members – Gyuri, Han Seung Yeon, Nicole Jung, Goo Hara, and Kang Jiyong, aged 18 to 24.
It was the girls’ first time in Malaysia, and band member Seung Yeon, who just recovered from anaemia earlier this month, said: “When we arrived, it was at night, so we were not able see much. But when we got up in the morning, we saw a beautiful garden city below with a lot of trees.
“On the way to the interview hall here, we also noticed there were many big trees despite the fact that this is in the middle of the city. We are very impressed with the beauty of Malaysia.”
While they seem to be quite focused on retail projects recently, having also launched their own KJ5 fragrance a month ago, fans can rest assured that Kara has not forgotten about their music.
Nicole revealed: “We are going to have a solo collection album that will be released in the fall (September-November in Malaysia), but we are also preparing a Japanese album and our next Korean album.”
Since Kara first debuted in 2007, its list of achievements has only grown longer. Now having been featured on MTV World Stage, which will be broadcast in over 150 countries later in the year, Kara can boast yet another feather to its cap.
Nicole, who’s also the rapper in the group, eagerly shared their set list for World Stage, saying that their performance of Let It Go would be a special treat for fans.
“It’s a song that we haven’t performed on TV yet. We have only featured it in our Karasia concert,” quipped the American-born singer in fluent English.
Although Kara did not make a stopover in Malaysia for their Karasia tour earlier this year, they more than made up for it during the concert last Saturday, producing an unforgettable performance for the crowd of 15,000.