Elevator music leads to defection

Richard ClaydermanTo many it’s the sort of music one would endure all sorts of hardship to get away from — but to a talented North Korean pianist it was a revelation which led him to defect to the South. Yes, it’s the easy-listening grooves of Richard Clayderman which inspired the conversion. It says something about the state of music in North Korea that such cocktail-lounge doodling should seem like an oasis in the desert. But the Gallic charmer is also big elsewhere in Asia: a story from last year has a music teacher blowing more than $100 to assure himself of a front row seat at a Clayderman gig in Shanghai. Not my sort of music, but if you spot a market, go for it I say. Meanwhile, the Korean pianist in question, Kim Chul-woong, gave his Seoul debut last month.

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