The Music of North Korea -
The Flag of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

The Flag of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

The Music of North Korea

by Tim Cashmere on December 20, 2011

in News

The closed off society of North Korea has been in the spotlight following the death of their “dear leader”, Kim Jong-Il and we thought we’d have a listen to the music of North Korea to mark the occasion.

First of all, in case you missed it, Kim Jong-Il is dead. Here is the news being broken on North Korean state-run television:

Got it? Good. Now for some good ol’ North Korean pop music. First up, let’s hear an old favourite, No Motherland Without You. This is one of the few state-sanctioned songs that is regularly played on the Pyongyang metro, just in case people forgot whom they owed their lives to.

Have a listen:

It’s not all over the top orchestral romps coming out of North Korea. Here’s a pop song called Reunification Rainbow, which calls for the reunification of the two Koreas. It was performed by the Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble, who are one of the most popular groups in North Korea. Of course, when music is only allowed to be played by state-sanctioned musicians, popularity doesn’t exactly mean the same thing as it would mean to say, Eminem.

Here’s another clip of them which is strangely hypnotic. I chose the clip labelled with the number “13” at random. I have no idea what this is all about:

There are plenty of songs dedicated to the praise of both Kim Jong-il and his father Kim Il-sung, but strangely enough the country’s national anthem, Aegukga (The Patriotic Song) doesn’t heap praise on the Kims, instead praising the countryside and natural beauty of the “fatherland”.

North Korea’s batshit crazy dictator was also immortalised in the west. In 2004, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone made the film Team America: World Police, featuring a marionette version of Kim Jong-il. His most memorable song being, of course, I’m So Ronery:

Recently Wikileaks revealed that North Korea had apparently asked Eric Clapton to perform in Pyongyang as a way of promoting understanding between the west and the secretive nation – apparently because Jong-il’s second oldest son, Kim Jong-chol was a massive fan of the British guitarist. The performance never happened.

The world waits with baited breath to see if Jong-il’s third son Kim Jong-un will be as easy to take the absolute piss out of as his father was.

On a more serious note, while it’s easy to laugh at the ridiculousness of Kim Jong-il’s cult of personality, it’s important to remember that his people are starving to death so the Kim dynasty can live out their megalomaniac fantasies. At least their state-enforced mandatory public grief was caught on camera for the world to see:

Follow the author Tim Cashmere on Twitter.



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