Liberation Day gets international premiere at IDFA

Morten Traavik, the man who brought us a North Korean accordion quintet covering a Norwegian synthpop track, now gives us a documentary about a Slovenian art-rock band performing versions of songs from The Sound of Music in North Korea. Read a review of the “documentary musical” Liberation Day in the Guardian. More info on Morten […]

Understatement of the year: Joint concert “not quite a success”

There’s a delightful and very detailed account of the grand Independence Day North-South musical collaboration in the Korea Joongang Daily. The headline reads “DMZ concert not quite a success, but not a failure”. Less politely put, the affair sounds like it was a bit of a fiasco: Only “13 musicians … turned up: one violin, […]

LKL 2012 Quiz of the Year — the answers

The answers to LKL’s 2012 Quiz of the Year. How many did you get? 1 The Watermelon Economy It was Lee Seung-han, the boss of Tesco in Korea, who accused Lee Myung-bak of running a watermelon economy: on the outside, lots of rhetoric about “green” growth, but actually red on the inside. “Not even communist […]

Alexander Liebreich’s musical diplomacy in Pyongyang

Great BBC feature on Alexander Liebreich and his musical diplomacy with the Munich Chamber Orchestra in Pyongyang. http://bbc.in/100eliE. A briefer feature can be found on iPlayer here. LKL interviewed him in Tongyeong in 2012 when we visited the Tongyeong International Music Festival, of which he is artistic director. And a one-hour long documentary about his […]

Americans in Pyongyang

With typically bad timing my travel arrangements didn’t work out. I caught the Star-Spangled Banner and the first movement of the New World Symphony in the car on the way to the airport, but missed the North Korean anthem which opened the broadcast, and of course all the encores — including the tearful Arirang (by […]

Suzannah Clarke’s musical diplomacy

A while ago I posted about Jason Carter’s trip to Pyongyang to participate in the annual Friendship Festival. While in Pyongyang, Carter met up with Middlesborough opera diva Suzannah Clarke, who has been performing at the Friendship Festival every year since 2003. Clarke’s North Korean connection is through football. She’s had a long association with […]

North-themed update

The Xinhua newsagency reports the cordial meeting between Kim Jong-Il’s brother-in-law Jang Song Taek and a member of the Chinese politbureau, as the DPRK’s tour of Chinese economic zones draws to a close. Meanwhile, Yoduk story, the musical based in a North Korean concentration camp, is a sell-out success. The BBC is now featuring the […]