South Korean grandparent rappers are making waves

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South Korean grandparent rappers are making waves

Darren Halley

A rapping troop of South Korean grandmothers have found fame across the country with songs about farm life. Suni and the Seven Princesses, a group of elderly rappers, rose to prominence after a community centre performance last year in the rural county of Chilgok. Members of the troop say they feel as though they are reliving their youth when they don bucket hats, metal jewellery, and baggy pants. Park Jeom-sun, the group’s 81-year-old leader who is also known as “Suni”, said: “It feels like I’m getting younger … Even if I’m old, I’m excited”. She said the group have known each other since childhood and were all enrolled in an adult education class to learn Hangul, the Korean alphabet. They formed the senior hip-hop group last year, writing lyrics about their rural lives such as: “Picking chilli from a chilli farm … Picking watermelon from a watermelon farm. So happy to be back home!” South Korea is on the cusp of becoming a “super-ageing” society as early as next year, with a fifth of its population above the age of 65. Rural areas like Chilgok face a challenge to remain relevant as young people move to cities and have fewer children.

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