London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

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 … [Read More]

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 … [Read More]

Alexander Liebreich’s musical diplomacy in Pyongyang

Great BBC feature on Alexander Liebreich and his musical diplomacy with the Munich Chamber Orchestra in Pyongyang. 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 … [Read More]

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 … [Read More]

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 … [Read More]

Alternative takes on Independence Day

The Chosun Ilbo provides some interesting alternative takes on Independence Day. It’s not just the day that Koizumi visited the Yasukuni shrine again, or when Koreans held anti-American demonstrations. First, the event was marked in Japan, as it has for the past 16 years, by a “Concert for Peace” given by the Tokyo Phil, this … [Read More]

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 … [Read More]