Published: Mon, April 02, 2018
Money | By Hannah Jacobs

South Korean musicians hold concert in Pyongyang

South Korean musicians hold concert in Pyongyang

Sunday's two-hour concert in Pyongyang, along with a separate taekwondo performance earlier in the day, comes as South Korea's engagement with North Korea has continued to grow since Kim Jong Un expressed his willingness for more contact between the two countries.

Mr Cho made his first debut in Pyongyang in 2005, where he held a solo concert attended by some 7,000 North Koreans - making him the most recent South Korean singer to perform in the North.

The girl group is one of a handful of K-pop and K-rock acts set to perform in the demilitarized zone in Pyongyang just weeks following the 2018 Olympics, which were held in PyeongChang and saw participation from North Korean athletes.

The South Korean musicians taking part include singers and bands from a variety of genres, ranging from traditional folk songs to trendier K-pop, while some 20 taekwondo performers have also travelled. The reports said Kim's younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, and other top officials, including nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam, were also present.

Kim proposed that the next one be held in Seoul under the title "Autumn Comes".

Singer and actor Joy of the girl group Red Velvet will not participate in a concert in Pyongyang due to a previously scheduled shoot for the MBC drama "The Great Seducer", according to local news outlet My Daily on Friday.

A North Korean art troupe staged two performances in the South in February to celebrate the Games.

Fifteen years later, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is seeking to engage the region's major powers after advances in his nuclear programme prompted the United Nations to tighten sanctions and President Donald Trump to threaten war.

Such deployments during past drills has frequently drawn an angry response from Pyongyang. Joy was absent due to scheduling conflicts with her TV show, her agency said. "Unfortunately, she will not be able to attend the concert", said the source.

Despite the North's isolation and strict curbs on unauthorised foreign culture, backed up by prison terms, K-pop has become increasingly popular there thanks to flash drives smuggled across the border with China.

South Korean actress and singer Seohyun speaks to the media before departing for Pyongyang from Gimpo International Airport in Seoul.

In an interview with Billboard in 2013, the 68-year-old singer was dubbed a "K-pop legend".

They have won over buttoned-up investors at a banking conference with their jingles about teenage love, but the K-pop girl band Red Velvet is about to face what may be its toughest audience yet: North Korea.

The stiffened crowd refused to respond to the athletes who motioned them to clap their hands to "Fire" - an intense electro-dance score peppered with rapid-fire rap delivered in both Korean and English.

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