In a successful attempt to better the relations between the two countries after North Korea’s constant refusals to abandon the use of nuclear technology, South Korea sent some of their most celebrated artists across the border to perform.
After housing North Korean cheerleaders and athletes at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, the South will send a group of over 160 artists to perform for two separate shows, on April 1 and April 3. The second show will be the bigger of the two and will be held at the 12,000 seat Ryukyung Chung Juyung Gymnasium, which was built between North and South Korean companies.
Yoon Sang, producer, singer-songwriter, and now music professor at Sungshin Women’s University, led and presented the South Korean delegation in the North Korean Capital of Pyongyang.
“Our goal is to impress North Koreans in the same way that South Koreans have been moved by their musicians,” said Sang.
Another featured artist was Cho Yongpil, the last South Korean to perform in North Korea since 2005.
Another high-profile artist attending is Seohyun, who debuted in 2009 and rose to fame with K-pop supergroup, Girls’ Generation.
The 26-year-old was recently a surprise performer when North Korean band, Samijiyon Band, played a concert in celebration of the Winter Olympics and she was specifically requested last-minute by the Blue House (South Korea’s equivalent of the White House) to perform. Seohyun quickly agreed and, without rehearsals, joined other female North Korean singers for the concert finale and the emotional performance of the song “Let’s Meet Again.”
When asked why they requested her for the performance last February, the director of the presidential press center said, “As the audience had many elderly guests, we looked for a singer with great popularity. While we were searching for a singer who could practice in the short amount of time, Seohyun’s side gladly accepted our request, which is how she came to perform.”
Red Velvet, a popular and youthful five-member girl group, was one of the most exciting and sought-after performers as though one of their members, Joy, was unable to join because of her schedule as an actress. Analysts say that sending a well-known group to perform is meant to show that South Korea wants to share their culture and the joy music beings their country, without using it as a cultural weapon or as leverage of their North Korean cousins.
“It’s an honor to be able to perform with so many amazing senior artists,” said Red Velvet member Seulgi, speaking for the group. “Since we are the youngest [artists of the group], we will go and deliver some bright energy to North Korea.”
There was a lot of discussion as to whether Kim Jongun would personally attend the concert, since North Korea is extremely strict on confiscating USBs and hard drives smuggled from China containing South Korean pop, TV dramas, and movies. However, Kim and his wife Sol-ju very graciously sat down with President Jaein and seemed to enjoy the show. The North Korean president even admitted to moving his schedule around in order to be present at the show.
Though he did not attend the second concert, he said the concert he went to “deeply moved” him. “The Maze of Love,” an 80’s song performed by 60-year-old Choi Jinhee, is said to be one of Kim’s favorite songs. He even took a historical picture with the group.
“We should hold culture and art performances frequently,” Kim told some of the group members after the performance, and suggested having a similar concert in Seoul as soon as possible. He shook hands with almost all of the South Korean musicians at the function.
The details of this historic event were discussed by representatives of each country when they met at the Truce Village of Panmunjom, a bordering, North-controlled city.
There is a face-to-face talk scheduled for late April, when Kim Jong-un and President Moon Jae-in will meet to discuss various inter-Korean policies like economics and enforcing anti-nuclear sanctions. Future concerts are expected to be scheduled there.
Source:: The Harbinger