B.A.P. first K-Pop group to perform in NZ

Auckland K-Pop fan Trezanah Monga MacCauley said she burst into tears when she got the news that her favourite K-Pop group were coming to New Zealand.

B.A.P., which stands for "best, absolute, perfect", will be the first K-Pop group to perform here since Korean pop culture became a global phenomenon.

"They were like giving away little hints about where they'd be performing ... and when they released that they'd be coming to New Zealand on their video, I just sat there with my laptop and cried," said Miss MacCauley, a 20-year-old university student.

"I pinched myself, just to make sure that I am not dreaming."

The six members, comprising Yongguk and Himchan, both 26, Daehyun and Youngjae, both 22, Jongup, 21, and Zelo, 19, are superstars not just in Korea and Asia, but also in many parts of Europe.

Miss MacCauley is also a member of B.A.P.'s international fan club where members are known as "Babyz".

Concert promoter Diane Lee, of local Korean television HTV, said the decision to bring B.A.P.

was made following the successful concert by another Korean celebrity Lee Seung-chul last month.

"Before we were worried whether people in New Zealand will want to watch a performance that was totally not in English," Ms Lee said.

"But after Lee Seung-chul we are confident there is a demand, and believe there will be an even bigger support for K-Pop and a group such as B.A.P."

B.A.P. last week released a YouTube video telling fans: "Let me hear you scream New Zealand ... we'll be there soon."

Associate Professor Stephen Epstein at Victoria University's School of Languages and Cultures, estimated the number of K-Pop fans in New Zealand to be around 6000.

He said K-Pop had a "niche international following" that included not just Koreans.
"Here most of the fans, I am guessing, would be living in Auckland, and so it i just a sensible thing for organisers to be holding a K-Pop concert there," he said.

B.A.P.'s show here on May 29 is part of their Live on Earth 2016 world tour of 15 countries, which also includes Mexico, USA, Singapore, Russia and Australia.

Who are B.A.P?

Who: B.A.P
When: May 29
Tickets: $79 to $249
Where: Trusts Arena, Henderson

B.A.P, short for "best, absolute, perfect" is one of K-Pop's fastest rising boy bands and set to become the first South Korean K-Pop group to hold a concert in New Zealand.

Their Auckland show is part of their Live on Earth 2016 world tour of 15 countries, which also includes Mexico, Singapore, USA, Russia and Australia.

The sextet comprising Yongguk and Himchan, both 26, Daehyun and Youngjae, both 22, Jongup, 21, and Zelo, 19, enjoy massive popularity not just in Korea and Asia, but also in many parts of Europe.

They have three No 1s on Billboard's World Albums chart and an international fan club called "Baby", which has a following in New Zealand.

In one interview, group member Youngjae said they made an effort to learn the local cultures of each country they visited.

"We like to bask in the local street ambience, observe fashion trends ... and pick up some famous colloquial phrases," he was quoted as saying.

The group made their debut in January 2012, but was embroiled in controversy two years later when they sued their former agency TS Entertainment to end their "slave contract".

After a 21-month hiatus, B.A.P. returned to the K-Pop scene with the single Young, Wild & Free, which bagged Best Music Video award at the KMC Radio Awards.

Themed "New Zealand Awake!", B.A.P. is promising fans an "electrifying" and "out-of-this-world" experience for their first show on New Zealand soil.

- NZ Herald

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