Red Velvet singer Joy to skip Pyongyang concerts over scheduling conflicts

Anna Jefferson
April 2, 2018

Seohyun of Girls' Generation, who made a surprise collaboration with North Korean artists when the North's art troupe performed in Seoul last month, was expected to host the Pyongyang concerts.

Since K-pop performers last went to Pyongyang, North Korean artists themselves have started to emulate their Southern counterparts. According to the South Korean news media, several of the stars going on the trip this week, including some in their 60s, will perform North Korean ballads and other songs invoking peace and reunification.

Kim Jong Un, his wife, Ri Sol Ju, and his younger sister, Kim Yo Jong were among the 1,500 spectators.

K-pop stars led a group of South Korean musicians arriving in Pyongyang yesterday to take part in the latest set of cross-border cultural performances ahead of next month's rare inter-Korean summit.

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

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Kim followed up by agreeing to a summit with the South's President Moon Jae-in, and reportedly to another with US President Donald Trump. "I hope the inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation that resumed during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics will further increase with the South Korean art troupe's performances in Pyongyang an occasion".

The third inter-Korean summit - there were also meetings in 2000 and 2007 - is due to be held on 27 April.

Sunday's concert to a packed audience at the elaborately decorated 1,500-seat East Pyongyang Grand Theatre ended with a standing ovation after a finale in which all the stars appeared on stage to sing a song about unification. No date has been set for the US-North Korean summit.

Such deployments during past drills has frequently drawn an angry response from Pyongyang.

The five-member girlband - known for its signature K-pop mix of upbeat electronic music, stylish fashion and high-voltage choreography - performed two of their hits, Bad Boy and Red Flavour.

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'Unfortunately, she will not be able to attend the concert'.

Many North Korean defectors say they have seen South Korean TV dramas and heard K-pop music through blackmarket USB drives in the North despite an official ban on the 'decadent capitalist culture.

Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Do Jong-whan (center, back row) poses with South Korean taekwondo athletes in Pyongyang on Sunday. She had performed with the North's Samjiyon Orchestra in Seoul in February.

Kim's late father and longtime ruler, Kim Jong-il, was known to be a fan of the 68-year-old Cho.

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.

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The stiffened crowd refused to respond to the athletes who asked 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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