Countdown 20160215 01.53

Concert theme: Celebration for the successful launch of the Kwangmyongsong-4 《광명성4호》 「光明星4号」 satellite
Publisher: Originally Korean Central TV. However, the KCTV may keep its publications available only for a few hours. At the moment available at stimmekoreas https://youtu.be/5mSTR0-5vYI and tonpomail https://youtu.be/sqa3NGfBFFk
Place: Mokran House
Audience: Scientists, technicians, bureaucrats and military connected with the launch
KJU: Present with Ri Sol-ju
Rodong Sinmun: http://www.uriminzokkiri.com/index.php?ptype=english&no=118157
Explore DPRK: https://www.facebook.com/MusicDPRK/photos/pcb.579270162224143/579270125557480/?type=3&theater
KCNA.kp: http://kcna.kp/kcna.user.special.getArticlePage.kcmsf;jsessionid=FF2B1D4CAA3DD77C1220A38CE6914780


Photo courtesy of Rodong Sinmun. Two violins and cello, otherwise normal band composition. The Angel Choir a sextet this time. Black skirts as an innovation in attire. Ladie’s outlook totally unified up to similar hair length and haircut, as well as lipstick of the same shade.

Kim Yu-kyong was nominated Merited Artiste in 2015年10月26日, and this is the first concert after that. Thus this is at the same time a jubileum concert for her. Yet, they do not call her 공훈배우 Konghun Peu on the screen. When Ra Yu-mi performed after her nomination, the title shone often on the screen. In Ryu Jina’s case it also was duly mentioned. Here never. Well, the names of any performers are not given, but such a small gesture would not have been a big trouble for the video editor.

Cha Yong-mi is absent, and will be until May. The camera ignors the newcomers, though. All the experienced MBB singers as well as Jo Kuk-hyang are often in camera focus, but not the two new anonymous ones. They are not specifically avoided either, only ignored.

Before the concert Kim Jong-un gave a congratulatory speech, and dinner was served. Moranbong Band members were distributed to different tables, so that the successful technicians all had the honour of dining in the company of a MB lady. Present were also other ladies, of whom Ri Sol-ju was clearly recognizable. Ryu Jina did not perform on stage; whether she was present or not in the hall remained inconclusive in the Forum debate.

The usual national hymn was not performed; apparently the occasion demanded a different type of repertoire. It consisted mostly of older hits plus three new eulogies for Kim Jong-un. A well rehearsed and performed concert.

Audience 20160215 42.31

Audience. Clapping their hands throughout the concert, so that they formed an additional instrument in the performance.


00.59 Countdown

02.07 빛나는 조국 Pinnanŭn joguk Shining fatherland 輝く祖国
Composition: Ri Myŏn-sang 리면상, lyrics: Pak Se-yon 박세영, 1947

Kim Yu-kyong 20160215 05.21e

Kim Yu-kyong can look also like this. 05.21.

05.35 내 나라 제일로 좋아 Ne nara jeillo joa I love my country best 私の国が一番
Title song of the film Race and destiny 민족과 운명 民族と運命
Composition: Ri Jong-o 리종오, lyrics: Choe Jun-kyŏng 최준경, 1991

Choe Jong-im 최정임 20160215 07.47

Choe Jong-im 최정임 07.47

Kim Jong-mi 김정미 + red flygel 20160215 06.12

Kim Jong-mi 김정미 06.12. It is not known how many red flygels/grand pianos there are in Pyongyang, but if there is only one, then this is the same one that MB used in 2012 during its first performances. Also Unhasu Orchestra, the State National Symphony Orchestra, and State Merited Chorus have used it.

Kim Yong-mi + Kim Una 김은하  20160215 06.28

Kim Yong-mi 김영미 in synthesizer + Kim Una 김은하 in violin, 06.28

09.26 아 그리운 원수님 A kŭriun wŏnsunim Oh dear Marshal ああ懐かしい元帥様
Creators unknown, new song.

Hong Su-kyong 홍수경 MB 20160215 09.26

Hong Su-kyong 홍수경 09.26. She now plays the first violin.

Kim Yu-kyong 20160215 14.11

Kim Yu-kyong 김유경 14.11. Because of her new title as a Merited Artiste, she is given a special treatment in this and the next concert. Queen of the evening. Lots of lead singing.

14.27 뵙고싶었습니다 Boebgo siphŏssŭmnida We have longed to see you お会いしたかったです
Composition: U Jong-hui 우정희, lyrics: Ri Ji-song 리지성, 2015

Kim Yu-kyong 김유경 & Yu Un-jong 유은정 20160215

Kim Yu-kyong 김유경 & Yu Un-jong 유은정. Sometime in the concert.

17.57 높이 날려라 우리의 당기 Nophi nallyŏra uriye tangi Fly high our Party flag! 高く翻れ我らの党旗
Composition: Kim Dong-chol 김동철, lyrics: Choe Jun-kyong 최준경, 1985

22.25 혁명의 려정 Hyŏkmyŏnge ryŏjong Journey plan of revolution 革命の旅程
No creation info; a new song

Jo Kyong-hui 조경희 20160215 26.21

Jo Kyong-hui 조경희 26.21. Guitar.

Pak Mi-kyong MB 20160215 27.27

Pak Mi-kyong 박미경 27.27

28.04 원수님 곁에는 인민이 있습니다 Wŏnsunim kyŏthenin inmini isŭmnida The people are beside the marshal 元帥様のそばには人民がいます
Composition: Jo Kwang-chol 조광철, lyrics Jang Chung-sim 장충심, first published in 2015.12.20 by Moranbong Band

32.39 세상에 부럼없어라 Sesange purŏmŏpsŏra We have nothing to envy in this world この世に羨むものはない
Composition: Kim Hyok 김혁, lyrics: group, 1961

Sesange purŏmŏpsŏra is the ultimate North Korean children’s song, made at the time when Kim Il Song had during the late 1950s finally deposed of all competing factions, and was finally able to reign supreme. Since childhood everyone knows the lyrics thoroughly; here the first verse:

하늘은 푸르고 내 마음 즐겁다 손풍금소리 울려라
사람들 화목하게 사는 내 조국 한없이 좋네
우리의 아버진 김일성원수님 우리의 집은 당의 품
우리는 모두다 친형제 세상에 부럼없어라

The sky is blue, my heart is happy, the sound of accordeon jingles in the air.
People live harmoniously, our country is wholly comfortable.
Our father is the Great Leader Kim Il Song, our home is the bosom of the party.
We all, brothers and sisters, have nothing to envy in this world.

KJU singing 20160215 36.13

Kim Jong-un singing 20160215 36.13

Even KJU sings the song in the video. During the KWP Seventh Congress in 6-10 May 2016 a strange thing happened: the song was awarded simultaneously two prizes, the Kim Il Song Prize and the Kim Jong Il Prize. It did not go to the performers, nor to the creators even posthumously, but to the song itself. It was also performed as a grand and long 7-minute version in the 20160511 concert, and the melody could be heard also in connection with at least one other song there. KJU here in this concert, by visibly singing it in front of the camera, no doubt gave an additional load of importance to the song, which was very important already. Simultaneously he intensified the link between the image of his grandfather and himself, or perhaps rather merged these two images together, because singing it personalized the song also to him. At the same time of course the message is also noteworthy. Everyone is happy under the great leader in the best country in the world.

원수님 wŏnsunim is a title used about Kim Il Song and Kim Jong Un, while Kim Jong Il preferred less grandiose titles, the usual one being 장군님 janggunnim. It is the same title as the Japanese 将軍様 shōgun-sama, familiar from Japanese samurai movies. It is usually translated as general, which is ok. A janggun or shōgun is the leader of the armed forces, but not the politico-religiously highest ruler in the country. In Tokugawa Japan the shōgun de facto ruled the country, but nominally he always remained under the command of the emperor. Similarly, KJI always placed himself under the shadow of his father, the eternal president of the country. Wŏnsu is different. It can be translated in many ways: can be ”marshal” as usual in the case of KJU; can be ”great leader”. Originally 원수 wŏnsu was a Buddhist title referring to an old leading great master with lots of disciples and disciples’ disciples: ”original teacher” (元帥). There is no one above him (except perhaps Buddha, but Buddha is out of this world). 님 nim is an additional honorific, like Mr. or sir in English, Herr in German, or -san/-sama in Japanese.

Apologies for a long explanatory text in the middle of the song list, but an important political operation can be seen on the video here. This children’s song was presented in every single concert in spring 2016, the arrangement becoming bigger in each consequtive concert.

Pak Son-hyang 박선향 MB 20160215 34.07

Pak Son-hyang 박선향 34.07

Kim Una 김은하 20160215 34.24

Kim Un-ha 김은하 34.24

Ri Hui-kyong 리희경 MB 20160215 32.39

Ri Hui-kyong 리희경 32.39. She is usually shown only from the side.

37.55 단숨에 Tansume Without a break/In one breath 一気に
Composer: Hwang Jin-yong 황진영, lyrics: Yun Du-gun 윤두근, 2003.

This is the ultimate hit of Moranbong Band, originally composed as a military march and performed then by military bands and popular ensembles. Like the previous Sesange purŏmŏpsŏra, this one also is an older song with an excellent melody, given a completely new pop style form by the MBB creators. MB sings only the title word, nothing else, but because it is a famous song, North Koreans know the lyrics. The meaning is in the lyrics, which highlight rapid action. Here the first verse, where I have translated ”tansume” as ”at once”, which may be more understandable in this context. Literally the expression means that you do something during one breath:

훈련장에 나선 병사는
단숨에란 말을 사랑해
걸음마다 그 말 울리며
펄펄나는 용맹 키우네
산을 넘어도 단숨에
강을 건너도 단숨에
번개같이 불이 번쩍 단숨에
단숨에 단숨에 단숨에

Soldiers training in the field
love the words ”at once!”.
It sounds in their every step,
molding them to be swift and fearless.
They cross the mountain at once,
they cross the river at once.
Like lightning their fire flames at once,
at once, at once, at once.

42.49 보란듯이 Poran dŭsi You must look at this [translated often as “With pride”, but also as “In a stately manner”] これ見よがしに
Composition 작곡: Jon Kwang-su 전광수, lyrics 작사: Kim Tok-yon 김덕용, date unknown, apparently a KJI era song; performed by MB first time in 2015.10.11 with SMC.
The dance piece of the concert.

Han Sun-jong 한순정 20160215 42.51

Han Sun-jong 한순정 42.51

45.16 그이 없인 못살아 Kŭi ŏpsin mossara We cannot live without him あの方なしでは生きられない
Composition 작곡: Kim Un-ryong 김운룡, lyrics 작사: Cha Ho-gun 차호근, 2013
KCNA announced the song in 2013.12.21, and MB performed it for the first time in 2014.03.17.

49.55 김정은 장군께 영광을 Kim Jong Un janggunkke yŏngwangŭl Glory to General Kim Jong-un 金正恩大将に栄光を
Composition Kim Kang-nam 김강남, lyrics Cha Yong-do 차영도, 2016
Lyrics and notes here
Lyrics and translation here

Hair style 20160215 36.01

Hair style 36.01. The ladies had almost exact hair length. For the singers the style was to keep it behind the ear, though it sometimes could move over the ear. Musicians could keep it also over the ears. There were also slight differences in their ear rings and wrist bracelets.

Then we have two ladies who appear here for the first time. The first one is numbered Anonymous2. She will continue throughout spring 2016. Two photos of her.


The next one is Anonymous3, and she will perform only in the two February concerts. Two photos of her also.


Jo Kuk-hyang 20160215 12.12

Jo Guk-hyang 12.12. She will leave after February and return in December, having then apparently reached the nucleus of the group of singers.



12 thoughts on “2016.02.13”

  1. moalian said:

    Dear Pekka, many thanks for this addition to the website, it seems you always find time in your schedule to prepare a publication! Query, why do you put 2016.02.15 as heading and not the actual day of the concert 2016.02.13, see Rodong Sinmun and KCNA.
    (After searching for the word “flygels” on the web I think it should read “piano” or “pianoforte”) You can delete this reply after reading, to keep the page clean.

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      Mistakes always abound. The date corrected, thanks. Flygel is a word that is understood in Central and Northern Europe, but the names for the instrument are all different in different language areas. Difficult to understand why, but so it is. Piano and pianoforte both mean the same, denoting any kind of piano, but there is a difference with upright pianos and horizontal ones. Flygel is a horizontal one. There are two words in English for them, “grand piano” and “concert piano”, but for reasons I do not know, I do not like either of them. But perhaps this discussion here in comments explains the word.

      I do not want to keep the page clean. It even has my own text.

  2. 1. 려정 is the North Korean word for 여정 in South Korea which means “journey”. So, 혁명의 려정 is translated as “Journey of Revolution”.
    2. I think you might want to be interested in my (crude) English translation of the lyrics for 김정은장군께 영광을: https://www.facebook.com/notes/migs-caldeo/%EA%B9%80%EC%A0%95%EC%9D%80%EC%9E%A5%EA%B5%B0%EA%BB%98-%EC%98%81%EA%B4%91%EC%9D%84-glory-to-general-kim-jong-un/1306982492661430

  3. hellonc said:

    Spot on comments, Pekka. I think there is no arguing about the band having collective unity. As I see it, it’s just the band is perhaps a bigger, more bureaucratic organization with a more central propaganda role than it had in the past. Looking at the last few concerts, the production is even slicker and more polished than it has ever been. Conversely and unfortunately, there has been a ‘lack’ of spontaneity or sparks of virtuosity (in a liberal sense of the word) among the musicians, perceived or otherwise.

    Still I find whatever little footage of say, Han Sun-jong or Pak Mi-kyong smiling and enjoying themselves during the performance satisfying. Oh how I miss the expressive Sonu.

  4. kwaximus said:

    Hi Pekka,
    Just a minor correction – in the description for the last photo you probably meant to say “Kim Yu-kyong is in the middle”, not Kim Kyong-hui.

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      Oh yes, thanks. Kim Kyong-hui was one of the most beautiful Unhasu Orchestra singers. I always mix the names of these two.

  5. Little correction: Anonymus 3 performed also in the May concert (next to Pak Son-hyang).

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      So the picture tells. Ok, so she can be found somewhere in the concert.

      • pekkakorhonen said:

        Thanks Umut, I found her in the video, and also something else interesting in the May concert. Some creator info has also been updated.

  6. U said ‘The names of these two ladies are unknown; they appear here for the first time. The first one is numbered Anonymous2.’ I m sure those two ladies on that pictures are one person. Anonymous2

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      I had there a badly written sentence easily causing misunderstanding + two photos of Anon2 and two of Anon3. The sentence corrected now, but Anon2 and Anon3 are different ladies.

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