16 April 2012

The strange sound of North Korean music


Apart from being intrigued by yesterday's first public speech by North Korea's new supreme leader, I was fascinated by the sound of the marching music, brief snippets of which could be heard on the video clips (HERE) - so much so that I looked on YouTube for some more specimens (e.g. above, which is also well worth watching for its commentary and finely coordinated non-verbal behaviour).

Although I know nothing about North Korean music, what surprised me was its similarity to marching music from the corrupt capitalist world.

Looking beyond marching music, I came across the following reminders of the Red Army Choir, which perhaps explains why North Koreans feel at home with Russian music that was once acceptable Stalinist music:





But the following extraordinary performance sounds as though the North Koreans may have been influenced by Welsh choral music too:



Nor is it clear to me what makes this, from a group of accordianists (already enjoyed by 1,701,000 YouTube viewers in the past four months), sound particularly 'North Korean Style':


And, if piano accordians make you think of France, so too might this rebranding of Edith Piaf's Milord (about 45 seconds in) as a 'Russian Gypsy Song':


Eventually, I did come across something that sounded (to my amateur ears) a bit more like music from the far East, but such exhibits are far outnumbered on YouTube by the earlier much more Western-sounding examples:


Comments welcome, especially from anyone who knows about the North Korean party line on music...

4 comments:

Duncan Stott said...

You may be interested in Andy Kershaw's documentary from North Korea:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p005y2n0

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