MB 20160218 RodongSinmun

Photo courtesy of Rodong Sinmun

Moranbong Band and State Merited Chorus joint concert
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 channel apparently was cancelled by YouTube in December 2016 because of possible misalignment with UN sanctions.  At least Aisaevol currently has a functioning link to the concert https://youtu.be/Tkv_adYGLbU.
Place: Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Gymnasium
Audience: Launch related people as well as students and Pyongyang citizens
KJU: not present
Rodong Sinmun: In Korean http://www.uriminzokkiri.com/index.php?ptype=gisa2&no=220800&pagenum=1
Explore DPRK: https://www.facebook.com/MusicDPRK/photos/pcb.580898572061302/580898212061338/?type=3&theater
KCNA.kp: small mention in 2016.02.20: Joint Performance Given by Moranbong Band and State Merited Chorus. I cannot find out how to make a working link to the article.

MB 20160218 RodongSinmun leikattu

This photo also was kindly made available by Rodong Sinmun. In principle this was a joint concert, but in practice mostly a rerun of the 20160213 MB concert, with SMC added here and there. Not very gender equal. Tens of old males just sat and stood waiting at the stage through most of the concert.

MB performed one new song at 37.59.
Specific mention deserves the appearance of Hwang Un-mi near the end of the concert from 57.46 onwards.

00.59 Countdown

02.15 02.07 빛나는 조국 Pinnanŭn joguk Shining fatherland 輝く祖国 (MB)
Composition: Ri Myŏn-sang 리면상, lyrics: Pak Se-yon 박세영, 1947

05.34 김정은 장군께 영광을 Kim Jong Un janggunkke yŏnkwangŭl Glory to General Kim Jong-un 金正恩大将に栄光を (MB + SMC)
Composition Kim Kang-nam 김강남, lyrics Cha Yong-do 차영도, 2016
KJU is strongly linked with the launching of the satellite; even though Mount Pektu is mentioned in the song, there is no need for the images of KIS and KJI. The legitimacy of KJU stands now on his achievements; emphasizing the blood line is no more especially important. Of course the strategy has its perils, even though it brings honour. Successes must continue.

09.29 뵙고싶었습니다 Boebgo siphŏssŭmnida We have longed to see you お会いしたかったです (MB)
Composition: U Jong-hui 우정희, lyrics: Ri Ji-song 리지성, 2015
Kim Sol-mi’s belly is indeed getting round. May be a new human being coming into this world, learning the joys of a stage performance already in an early age.

Kim Sol-mi pregnant So Kuk-hyang 20160218 11.42e

Kim Sol-mi & Jo Kuk-hyang 11.42

13.00 아 그리운 원수님 A kŭriun wonsunim Oh dear Marshal ああ懐かしい元帥様 (MB)
No creation info, new song.

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

22.37 내 나라 제일로 좋아 Ne nara jeillo joa I love my country best 私の国が一番 (SMC)
Composition: Ri Jong-o 리종오, lyrics: Choe Jun-kyŏng 최준경, 1991

27.35 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 (MB)
Composition: Jo Kwang-chol 조광철, lyrics Jang Chung-sim 장충심, 2015

32.16 혁명의 려정 Hyŏkmyŏnge ryŏjong Itinerary of revolution 革命の旅程 (MB)
No creator info; a new song

37.59 빛나라 광명성 Pinnara Kwangmyŏngsŏng Twinkle twinkle Shining-Bright-Star! 輝け、光明星 (MB)
No creation info; new song, performed here for the first time.

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

45.37 보란듯이 Poran dŭsi You must look at this/With pride これ見よがしに (MB)
Composition 작곡: Jon Kwang-su 전광수, lyrics 작사: Kim Tok-yon 김덕용, date unknown, apparently a KJI era song.

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

53.57 그이 없인 못살아 Kŭi ŏpsin mossara We cannot live without him あの方なしでは生きられない (MB + SMC)
Composition 작곡: Kim Un-ryong 김운룡, lyrics 작사: Cha Ho-gun 차호근, 2013

Kim Jong-mi 김정미 backstage 20160218 54.18 s

Kim Jong-mi 김정미 and view from the backstage at 54.18

57.46 우리의 신념 Uri ye sinnyŏm Our faith 我が信念 (SMC)
Composition: Pak Myong-song 박명성, lyrics: Ri Hye-jong 리혜정, 2016
Hwang Un-mi 황은미 singing, though the song itself is not very good for her. The military dress does not fit her. She would need an evening dress, civilian type of hairdo and make-up to bloom in her stage appearances, and a song with lots of inner meaning, flavoured with a bit of philosophy and nostalgia. She still smiles a little at the end of the song, but much less than during the Unhasu Orchestra years.

UO Hwang Un-mi 황은미 20160218 01.00.54 s

Hwang Un-mi 황은미 01.00.54

01.01.08 빛나는 조국 Pinnanŭn joguk Brilliant motherland 輝く祖国 (SMC)
The same song started the concert.

01.06.19 Brief ending ceremonies

Moranbong Band nowadays argues collective unity. Also skill, technique, beauty, dreams of advancement, etc., but the overriding argument is that of unity in sameness under the great leader. Difficult to tell a guitarist from a violinist unless they are holding their instruments.


Kim Yu-kyong 김유경 20160218 1715 s

Who is who? The nearest one is Kim Yu-kyong 김유경, in the middle Jo Kuk-hyang and at the farthest end Pak Son-hyang at 17.15, but everyone looks very similar now. Same clothes, same haircut.

We no more learn the names of all of the new singers. She is Anonymous2

And this lady below is Anonymous3

Kim Yu-kyong 김유경 20160218 46.28 s

Kim Yu-kyong 김유경 at 46.28

Jo Guk-hyang 조국향 MB 20160218 04.35 s

Jo Kuk-hyang 조국향 at 04.35.

Jo Kuk-hyang, who was came to the band in the 2014.10.11 concert, and gave interviews to media in Beijing in 2015.12.10. It is possible to hear her voice singing in a short North Korean anime clip, created by jugem, who has lots of photos in his site. It is the theme song of the film, and the film is titled 소년장수 Sonyon jangsu, which probably translates as Youngsters of long life 少年長寿.



Pak Son-hyang 박선향 20160218 04.08 s

Pak Son-hyang 박선향 04.08


Hong Su-kyong 홍수경 20160218 36.24 s

Hong Su-kyong 홍수경 36.24

Yu Un-jong 유은정 20160218 30.26 s

Yu Un-jong 유은정 30.26

Jon Hye-ron 전헤련 20160218 44.30 s

Jon Hye-ron 전헤련 44.30

Kim Sol-mi 김설미 20160218 28.42 s

Kim Sol-mi 김설미 28.42


As SMC increasingly took the charge during the last three songs, the emphasis was shifted from flashy MBB celebration to a more sombre, traditional, and nationalistic direction, with SMC adding male and military strength to the imagery. Unity of the powerful nation under Kim Jong Un’s successful leadership is the message. No time was wasted on medleys with pieces of nostalgic melodies. Old songs were employed, but they served the present. Father Kim Jong Il was absent from the imagery. Grandfather Kim Il Song was there with the Sesange purŏmŏpsŏra song, but perhaps also there the intended narrative was that once again North Koreans have nothing to envy in this world, as they again have a great leader.
Pak Myong-song 1 2016
Kim Kang-nam 1 2016
Jo Kwang-chol 1 2015.12
U Jong-hui 1 2015
Kim Un-ryong 1 2013
Hwang Jin-yong 1 old (Tansume)

Ri Hye-jong 1 2016
Cha Yong-do 1 2016
Jang Chung-sim 1 2015.12
Ri Ji-song 1 2015
Cha Ho-gun 1 2013

No creator info 3; new songs all. KJU era songs 9, when Tansume counted there. 10 when Poran dŭsi counted. In this concert the distinction with old and new songs is less meaningful than in memorial and anniversary concerts. As seen in the case of Pinnanŭn joguk performed twice, the meaning of the song differed according to the way it was arranged and choreographed.

15 songs; balance strongly tilted towards KJU eulogizing



13 thoughts on “2016.02.18”

  1. leon chien said:

    I guess that Kim sol-mi may be pregnant. Last year, when she came to Beijing, she looked like very thin. After two months later, she is fatter. If it was true, best wishes to her. She is so beautiful and so charming.

  2. MBfan said:

    about this concert, i can confirm kim yu gyong, pak son hyang, and cho guk hyang and kim sol mi as performers.
    I still don’t know who the new singer is (either kim hyo sim, o song yun or ri su kyong??). Ri myong hui is not present.
    I’m just wondering who wrote this article….

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      You mean the Rodong Sinmun article? If you are so close to the NK central publishing circles that you can contemplate the names of individual authors, I certainly should interview you.

      • No, not really. I’m referring to the one who wrote this entry for this concert. This page needs to clarify the names of the performers to avoid ambiguities.

  3. pekkakorhonen said:

    I am the only one who writes here. Ambiguities cannot be avoided; they are a deliberate policy of NK at the moment.

    • MBfan said:

      Yeah, I understand.
      By the way, I’ve seen a lot of “idealized” KJU pictures in this concert. This could probably mean we might see an official portrait in the party congress, or a KJU pin in the band members (if they perform.)

      • pekkakorhonen said:

        One never knows for sure. A painting on a wall in a building could perhaps be possible; there exists an official painting of KJU, visible in Wikipedia. However, even it would be quite unlikely in this spring. A pin bearing the picture of KJU would be extremely unlikely. In North Korea the adoration with visible symbols tends to be restricted to dead Kims. Kim Jong Il got his bronze statue and place in the pin beside his father only after his death. Most likely this will happen also to KJU, but only after his death, if the regime still exists then. I think, however, that there were individual paintings of both KIS and KJI when they were still alive. They are not as serious things as bronze statues and pins on the breasts of everyone except soldiers.

        Living Kims have to appear as hard working servants of the nation. That is the basis of the legitimacy of their reign. If a pin with KJU’s picture appeared now, we should perhaps consider it as a gross misjudgment, and expect the downfall of the regime. If the leadership plays by the rules, then the staying power of the regime is much stronger. I would suppose.

  4. MBfan said:

    The portrait in Wikipedia is not official, just some sketch made by an artist not from NK.
    Maybe you’re right on the pin, but the portrait could come soon (the ones people display on their homes or offices) like how KIS and KJI had one when they were alive

    • MBfan said:

      oooh… you might want to look at this. Looks like its limited to party cards

      • pekkakorhonen said:

        Yes, may be you are right. Seems to be the pass of an official delegate to some youth event. I had not seen this kind of photos before. I did some rereading and I also looked through a number of NK movies over the decades. KIS portraits appear in homes, schools and other public buildings in the 1960s, while official portraits of KJI seem to accompany him from late 1990s onwards. Also Andrei Lankov in his Essays on Daily Life in North Korea (2007) tells that they came in the 1990s. So yes, KJU might start accompanying them some time soon.

        What might hold things back could be logistics, finances and dilution of ideology. There already have to be 2 or 3 official portraits hanging on the walls, depending on the rank of the person and the place. The older non-smiling portraits have in recent years been exchanged to the now sanctioned smiling ones. Adding one more portrait would involve lots of effort and money. The Chinese used to have portraits of Mao as “Kitchen Gods” during the 1960s and 1970s, but that kind of pictures have disappeared from homes since then. In Chinese homes where I have visited in the recent years there is nothing of the sort left. Just like the Arirang Games have ended by now in NK, also the increase in the number of portraits on home walls might not go on. We’ll see.

        But I am convinced now. On the basis of the KJI precedent and the delegate pass above, spreading KJU portraits to homes and/or public buildings could in principle start taking place.

  5. Mikko said:

    As the KCTV youtube account was deleted*, the video link is gone. Does anyone know of an alternate upload?

    * Because of this? http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/youtube-blocks-north-koreas-propaganda-channel-avoid-breach-us-sanctions-1596577

  6. There is a way better quality video concert on 18th of Feb,2016 Kwangmyongsong 4, MB and SM chorus at Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Gymnasium . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Fpm8m4azCc&list=PLDSUittfDUXj5xSMg0tSmMZzPWj4RWk8j&index=6

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