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Guitar Prodigy Sets Korean Mark for YouTube Hits

Posted February. 17, 2010 06:48,   


Guitar prodigy Jung Sung-ha is the first Korean to have his or her video clips top 100 million hits on YouTube, the video sharing site said yesterday.

YouTube said Jung, 14, has had 110 million views of his guitar playing clips.

Since his father uploaded a clip of his son playing “Splash,” a song by a Japanese guitarist, in September 2006, 240 clips of Jung’s guitar pieces are on YouTube. The clips have an average of 80,000 to 90,000 hits per day.

Jung appeared surprised and amazed over the massive global attention on his clips. “I uploaded video clips for fun initially, and continued uploading them to respond to the interest of many people. I’m amazed and very proud. Many people like my performance,” he said.

A seventh-grader at Cheongshim International Academy, Jung began self-learning the guitar five years ago without professional coaching and under his father’s influence. The boy uses the technique “finger style,” in which he performs the melody, rhythm and beat simultaneously.

Music critic Lee Dae-hwa said, “While his performing skills are excellent, his ability to surprise and present touching emotions to people in and of itself is great,” adding, “Few in the world can play as well as Jung at his age.”

Jung has garnered attention not only from Web users but also from musicians overseas. “After watching my video clips, guitarists sent me e-mails and left Web comments. German guitarist Ulli Boegershausen and I have built a mentor-student relationship while exchanging e-mail correspondence since I met him at his concert in Korea in 2007,” he said.

Jung has also performed with other big-name guitarists such as Tommy Emmanuel, Michel Aumont and Kotaro Oshio. The boy held his first solo concert in Seoul in February last year and recently completed a concert tour of five U.S. cities with guitarist Trace Bundy.

Jung will also launch Friday a six-day solo concert tour of five cities in Finland organized by a Finnish music agency.

yunjung@donga.com triplets@donga.com