We have tons of K-Pop music…Psy’s “Gangnam Style” went through the roof all over the world, and South Korean TV dramas are plentiful online, with many daily addicts watching every episode.
But what about North Korean music? Nada, I never hear anything. But the other day an article in the New York Times caught my eye: The all-female Moranbong Band from Pyongyang was headed for Beijing to perform one of their big shows. Apparently they are the Dear Leader’s (and spouse Ri Sol-Ju’s) favorite band, and its members are hand picked by Kim Jong Un.
Two days later it was cancelled. It may have been that Chinese president Xi Jinping wasn’t going to attend, and Kim Jong Un (and spouse) were offended and called off the visit. So much for musical diplomacy.
I subsequently read that Beijing cancelled the show because just as the band was arriving in Beijing, North Korea launched a missile. Beijing saw this as a provocation, and felt that it would lose face if it nevertheless allowed the show to proceed, let alone attend it.
Here is the Moranbong Band performing New Years’s eve in 2013. Note the rocket launch toward the end and the dancing crowd. Did they have to get into it or face punishment from the authorities dutifully watching the audience from the aisles? It all seems pretty staged to me. But please, Pyongyang, don’t hack me. I haven’t said anything bad!!!!