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Home / Entertainment / K-pop time: South Koreans fly to Pyongyang for rare concerts

K-pop time: South Koreans fly to Pyongyang for rare concerts

From aging crooners to bustling K-pop starlets, some of South Korea's biggest pop stars flew to North Korea on Saturday to mark the sudden thawing of inter-Korean relations after years of tensions over the northern nuclear ambitions. [19659002] The concerts in Pyongyang on Sunday and Tuesday are preceded by a historic summit meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in a border village on April 27th. The meeting will be preceded by a planned summit meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump in May, and could prove to be significant for the global diplomatic drive to resolve the dispute over the North's nuclear weapons and missile program.

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20-member group that flew to Pyongyang also included government officials, reporters, and Taekwondo demonstration team that will perform in Pyongyang on Sunday and Monday. Another team of 70 South Korean technicians traveled to Pyongyang on Thursday to install the equipment.

Singer Yoon Do-hyun, who previously appeared in Pyongyang in 2002, was emotionally emotional after landing in the North Korean capital

"My heart is bursting," Yoon told reporters, his eyes filling with tears. "I am very much looking forward to the audience's reaction to what it would be like 16 years ago."

The artists were greeted by Hyon Song Wol, the photogenic leader of Kim Jong Uns handpicked Moranbong Girl band who worked out the details of the performances with South Korean officials.

"Your arrival in Pyongyang brings great expectations," she said. "A lot of famous singers have come."

A look at the South Korean singers who made the trip, and at a certain horse dance specialist who did not:



During the Storm Times, North Korea described society and culture of the South as a "corrupt bourgeois lifestyle". But that did not stop southern pop singers from crossing the border when relationships had warmed up.

It's the second trip for the iconic Cho Yong-pil, perhaps South Korea's most influential musician of the last 50 years. He has performed a solo concert in Pyongyang in 2005 in an earlier era of rapprochement rapprochement.

"It will be just as enjoyable in the north to perform in the south," said the 68-year-old singer at a press conference on Saturday at South Korea's Gimpo Airport. "There is no reason for me or any other singer to be nervous, we can all handle rehearsals and have a fun and enjoyable time showing our music."

Seoul has not officially announced the titles of the songs of South Korean artists. Cho's "Dear Friend," a ballad about a long-lost friend who allegedly received enthusiastic responses from the Pyongyang crowd 13 years ago, will almost certainly be one of them.

It would be the third North Korean performance for female ballads Choi Jin-hee and Lee Sun-hee, who are relatively well known in the North.

61-year-old Choi is likely to sing her biggest hit, "Maze of Love," favorite of former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, the late father of current leader Kim. Lee, who still has the best whistle in the industry at age 53, sings "To J", one of several South Korean songs played by North Korean musicians at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

"I hope we can create a stage, we can make an emotional connection and convey the warm feelings between the South and the North," said Choi.



It will not only be slow ballads in Pyongyang. It will be interesting to see the North Koreans react to the girl band Red Velvet, which is currently one of the most popular acts in the highly competitive K-pop scene.

The genre, which has a large following throughout Asia, has been defined by synthesized music, powerful visuals and dance moves, and teasing sexuality. In recent years, the South Korean military has used K-pop for psychological warfare and chased it out of loudspeakers along the heavily armored border between the rivals.

"Good luck, hello, it's Red Velvet!" Band member Seulgi cheerfully called during the press conference

"We are the 'maknae' (youngest of the group), so we will make sure we deliver our bright energy to the North," said the 24-year-old [19659002] K-pop groups have previously played in North Korea. The now disbanded Six Kies and Fin.KL sang and danced in 1999 in Pyongyang, as did the Boygroup Shinhwa in 2003. Some of the artists later said that the audience's response was embarrassing and quiet.

Red Velvet could find a better reception more than a decade later, as cultural tastes change even in isolated North Korea. Currently, Hyon's Moranbong band is the most popular music act in North Korea, whose members often play suggestive shimmies in short skirts with electric guitars.

Park Hyeong-il, an official at the South Korean Association Ministry, said that North Korean officials do not have any discomfort about Red Velvet and also no problem with the "Red" on behalf of the band.

Red Velvet is originally a five-piece band, but only four made the trip to Pyongyang – 22 years old – Old Joy stayed in South Korea to do a soap opera.


NO & # 39; GANGNAM STYLE, & # 39; PLEASE

Despite constant questioning by reporters, South Korean officials offer no clear explanation as to why PSY, the "Gangnam Style" singer, was excluded from the concert cast.

South Korean Ministry of Culture spokesman Hwang Seong-un said without stating that the YouTube rapper was originally considered for the Pyongyang events before he was expelled. He said he could not confirm a media report that North Korean officials had turned down PSY.

"What I can say is that we were looking for ways to involve him, but it did not work," said Hwang. "We hope there will be better opportunities for him in the future."

It is possible that officials from the North or the South came to the conclusion that PSY's bizarre humor and highly sexualized music would be too provocative for North Korean audiences] It's not that North Korea's global gangnam style delusion completely ignored. In September 2012, the North posted a video of a PSY figure with a horse wearing a photo of the face of conservative South Korean presidential candidate Park Geun-hye on his Uriminzokkiri website. The text had the satirically defensive character of Park's deceased father, the anti-communist dictator Park Chung-hee

Park continued to win the presidential race, but was forced out of office in March last year due to a corruption scandal.



The South Korean singers will perform at the 1,500 pax East Pyongyang Theater on Sunday and then play a joint concert with North Korean artists at the 12,000 on Tuesday – based at Ryugyong Jong Ju Yong Gymnasium

It is unclear whether North Korean leader Kim will appear in one of these performances. His presence in the South would be seen as a fitting response to Moon's participation in the North Korean performances in February. But Kim has also been accused by Seoul in recent years of severely punishing and even executing North Korean officials and people who privately used South Korean pop culture.

In 2014, the South Korean espionage agency told lawmakers that North Korea would fire troops to persecute ten officials this year for bribing or watching South Korean television dramas.

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