2016.12.28

mbb-28-00-stage-1

Joint Art Performance Given by Moranbong Band and State Merited Chorus
Concert theme: honouring the participants in the First Conference of Chairpersons of the Primary Committees of the Workers’ Party of Korea
Place: Pyongyang Arena = Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Gymnasium
Audience: Party and military; almost all male, very few women in the audience (3 observed among the mass)
KJU: present
Conductor: Jang Ryong Sik 장령식 張龍植
KCNA: http://www.kcna.kp/kcna.user.special.getArticlePage.kcmsf
Rodong Sinmun: Dec. 29, 2016, Thursday; http://i.imgur.com/ZnGK2Lt.jpg
Uriminzokkiri: http://www.uriminzokkiri.com/index.php?ptype=great&subtype=songunload&no=5707

Youku: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTg5MTc3MTM4NA==.html?spm=a2hzp.8253869.0.0
YouTube: Urimin: https://youtu.be/yXDeyF-aUUE;
Explore: https://youtu.be/n1Tw4seBx_g

I never imagined that I would favour State Merited Chorus numbers over Moranbong Band numbers, but I seem to do that with this concert. SMC simply sounds better. One reason may be poor audio, which makes most MBB songs sound identical, but it may also be that MBB is lacking spirit. The ensemble appears to be melting inside of SMC, exemplified by its location in the middle of the larger ensemble on stage, or the introduction of three older male musicians within MBB. The process is not complete, at least the uniforms are still different, but MBB is being used for light numbers, while the heavy stuff is handled by SMC, and it also seems to have a better artistic touch. Nothing special is left in MBB, and perhaps that has eaten its spirit. This is not to say that the concert is bad; technically everyone does good work.

02.15 수령님을 따라 천만리 당을 따라 천만리 Suryŏng nimŭl tara chŏnmanri tangŭl tara chŏnmanri Following the leader and Party for millions of miles 首領様に従い千万里、党に従い千万里 跟随主席千万里,跟随党千万里
Composition: Ri Hak-pom 리학범, lyrics: Ri Jong-sul 리정술, 1982
SMC

10.48 그대는 어머니 Kŭdenŭn ŏmŏni You are mother あなたは母 你是母亲
Instrumental intro and medley
MBB

11.25 영광드립니다 조선로동당이여 Yŏngkwang tŭrimnida Josŏn Rodongtangiyŏ Wishing glory for the Korean Worker’s Party 朝鮮労働党に栄光を捧げる
Composition: Kim Un-ryong 김운룡, lyrics: Cha Ho-gun 차호근, 2016

12.49 그대는 어머니 Kŭdenŭn ŏmŏni You are mother あなたは母 你是母亲
Composition: U Jong-hui 우정희, lyrics: Jong Song-hwan 정성환, 2012
Ri Ok-hwa + 5

14.46 당을 따랍니다 Tangŭl taramnida Let’s obey the party 党に従います
No creation info

15.46 어머니 우리 당이 바란다면 Ŏmŏni uri tangi parandamyŏn If the Mother Party wishes 母なる我が党が望むなら
Composition: Kim Mun-hyok 김문혁, lyrics: Jo Ryong-chul 조령출, 1992
Instrumental

16.23 나의 길 Naye kil My way 我が道
Composition: Hwang Jin-yong 황진영, 1997
Kim Yu-kyong, Jong Su-hyang, Yu Pom-ju, Jo Kuk-hyang, Kim Hyo-sim +?

18.09 운명의 손길 Unmyŏng ye songil Hand of destiny 運命の手
Composition: Sin Il-je 신일재, lyrics: Hwang Song-ha 황성하, 2015
Instrumental

19.54 우리는 당이를 사랑하네 Urinŭn tangirŭl saranghane We love the party flag 我らは党旗を愛する
Composition: U Jong-hui 우정희, lyrics: Cha Ho-gun 차호근, 2015.

21.58 그대는 어머니 Kŭdenŭn ŏmŏni You are mother あなたは母 你是母亲
Again

—————-
23.40 그대밖에 내 몰라라 Kŭdebagge ne mollara We know nobody but you あなたしか私は知らない 我只知道您
Composition: So Jong-gon 서정건, 1987
SMC: male solo: Choe Jin-hok 최진헉

28.30 그때처럼 우리가 살고있는가 Kŭttechŏrŏm uriga salgoinnŭnga Are we living like back then? あの時のように我らは生きているか 是否保持着当年的精神
Composition: Ri Jongo 리종오, lyrics: Ri Jong-sul 리정술, 1990
MBB: 유봉미 Yu Pong-mi, 김유경 Kim Yu-kyong, 정수향 Jong Su-hyang, 조국향 Jo Kuk-hyang, 박선향 Pak Son-hyang (probably; the camera systematically avoided this singer, but her position at the extreme right end and her style of movement points to Pak)

32.32 보란듯이 Poran dŭsi You must look at this これ見よがしに 扬眉吐气地
Composition 작곡: Jon Kwang-su 전광수, lyrics 작사: Kim Tok-yon 김덕용, date unknown, a KJI era song.
MBB: Singing and dancing: Jong Su-hyang + 4; Yu Pong-mi, Jo Kuk-hyang, Kim Yu-kyong, Pak Son-hyang

36.12 우리에겐 위대한 당이 있네 Uriegen widehan tangi inne We have a great party われらには偉大な党がある 我们有伟大的党
Composition: Hwang Jin-yong 황진영, lyrics: Cha Ho-gun 차영도, 2016
https://tmbox.net/pl/1138293
MBB: Ri Ok-hwa

40.37 바다만풍가 Pada manphunga Song of high haul in the sea 海の豊漁歌 海洋大丰收之歌
Composition: Kim He-song 김해성, lyrics: Cha Ho-gun 차호근, 2014
+
철령아래 사과바다 Chŏllyŏngare sakwa pada Sea of apples at the foot of Chol Pass 鉄嶺の麓にリンゴの海 铁岭脚下的苹果之海
Composition: An Jong-ho 안정호, lyrics: Cha Ho-gun 차호근, 2014
SMC: Kayagum solo by Kang Ji-he 강지해

46.44 당이여 그대 있기에 Tangiyŏ kŭde itgie Oh Party, because you exist 党よ、あなたがいるから 党哟,因为有您在
No creation info, 2015
MBB: Kim Yu-kyong demoted again down to the rank of 소위 sowi 少尉, junior lieutenant + 6 singers

52.03 당을 노래하노라 Tangŭl norehanora I sing in praise of the Party 党を歌わん 歌颂党
Composition: Hwang Jin-yong 황진영, lyrics: Cha Yong-do 차영도, 2010
SMC male solo: Kim Kwang-myong 김광명 + MBB music & background vocals
= reversal of traditional gender roles. Mostly females in instruments, a male singing.

57.29 우리는 만리마기수 Urinŭn mallimakisu We are mallima riders!  我らは万里馬騎手 我们是万里马骑手
Composition: Hyon Kyong-il 현경일, lyrics: Ri Ji-song 리지성, 2016
http://www.rodong.rep.kp/ko/index.php?strPageID=SF01_02_01&newsID=2016-06-03-0014
MBB: Jong Su-hyang + 4 = Kim Yu-kyong, Yu Pong-mi, Jo Kuk-hyang + Pak Son-hyang
Short violin appearances at front stage: Cha Yong-mi & Hong Su-kyong. Very short. A choreographical fossil from the bygone days of old original MBB.

01.01.55 전진하는 사회주의 Jŏnjihanŭn sahwejuye Advancing socialism 前進する社会主義 前进的社会主义
Composition: An Jong-ho 안정호, lyrics: Cha Ho-gun 차호근, 2016
https://tmbox.net/pl/1149634
Music MBB, singing 5 MBB + 6 SMC female singers

01.06.21 충성의 한길로 가고가리라 Chungsŏng ye hangillo kago karira Walk along the path of loyalty 忠誠の一路を歩む
Composition: Kim Yun-bung 김윤붕, 1972
SMC

01.13.49 천리라도 만리라도 Chŏllirado mallirado Whether 1000 li or 10 000 li 千里も万里も
Composition: Hyon Kyong-il 현경일, lyrics: Jo Kwang-chŏl 조광철, 2015
Grande finale

—————–

Many familiar members were absent. This is the list:
Choe Jong-im (sax)
Yu Un-jong (cello)
Kim Yong-mi (synthesizer)
Pak Mi-kyong (vocals)
Han Sun-jong (drums)
Kim Un-ha (violin)
Jon He-ryon (bass) with SMC
Altogether 7 persons have disappeared since the last concert; this is a lot.

Regarding the current personnel on stage, I would present the following list, slightly changed from the one given earlier by Umut at Forum, original MBB members in blue:

Musicians
1st female violin: Cha Yong-mi (demoted to sowi)
2nd female violin: Hong Su-kyong (demoted to sowi; ignored by camera)
Male violin: new (중좌 jungjwa/lieutenant colonel)
Female cello: new (sowi)
Male cello: new (jungjwa/l. colonel)
Male saxophone: new (tewi/captain)
Guitar: Jo Kyong-hui (demoted to sowi)
Bass: Anonymous Chongbong Band bassist (sowi, ignored by camera)
Piano: Kim Jong-mi (demoted to sowi; largely ignored by camera) 
Drums: new (sowi)
1th synthesizer: Ri Hui-kyong (rank not shown, largely ignored by camera)
2nd synthesizer: new (sowi)

Singers:
Kim Yu-kyong (demoted to sowi)
Yu Pong-mi (sowi)
Jong Su-hyang (never promoted up from sowi)
Jo Kuk-hyang (demoted to sowi, largely ignored by camera)
Ri Ok-hwa (jungjwa/l. colonel)
Kim Hyo-sim (demoted to sowi, ignored by camera)
Pak Son-hyang (rank not shown, probably sowi; completely avoided by camera)

Cameras used to avoid showing new entrants, but now they all were properly introduced, except the bassist. On the other hand, many older members were now disregarded by the camera. An equally surprising matter was the apparently summary demotion of all recognized members to the rank of sowi/junior lieutenant. The guess is that also Pak Son-hyang had been demoted, because all others were.

There were 6 original members left in the group on stage; 7 if pianist Kim Jong-mi, who entered in autumn 2012, is counted. Newcomers are a large majority: 12 of them. Of course they all are good artists, but none of them stands out individually. Nor are any of the original members allowed to do it. All these expulsions, demotions and avoidances may imply tension about the style, role and independence of MBB as a special ensemble. That would be logical with good artists, who clearly face very strong discipline that limits their possibilities for true artistic expression.

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Cha Yong-mi was absent for over a year from September 2015 until she returned for the May 2016 concert.  Since the 2014.04.20  concert there have not been good facial pictures of her (how I miss the camera work of the old days). She has aged a bit. She is still a young and very beautiful woman, but her face no more displays the playful enthusiasm of the early MBB period. In 2014 she still had a soft baby face. Demoted now to sowi. Here at 01.15.26

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At 28.42 조경희 Jo Kyong-hui, guitar

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Lieutenant colonel 중좌 jungjwa 中佐 Ri Ok-hwa 리옥화. She appears to have been with the MBB for a long time over the years, but she has entered the stage only once before, in the 2014.09.04 concert. In summer 2016 there were rumours of her possible death in a traffic accident, but they were obviously baseless. She is a good professional singer, but always a kind of surprise when she enters the stage. Here she is at 21.07.

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Kim Yu-kyong. She has moved over the years between the military ranks of 소위 sowi 少尉 (junior lieutenant) and 대위 tewi 大尉 (captain). Now she has again been demoted. The reason is totally unclear, but this time she has remained one of the lead singers, and the camera did not avoid her. She may have a strong guardian angel looking after her, because in spite of the demotions and cold camera treatment over the years, she remains one of the central vocalists in the band. In the background we see the anonymous bass player, who probably moved to MBB from the Chongbong Band. 50.49.

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In the middle 김효심 Kim Hyo-sim, who visited once in 20151011. At 51.32.

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Anonymous new cello player. 22.56.

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Anonymous new synthetisizer player. 19.54. At the junior lieutenant rank, probably a fresh graduate.

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Anonymous new bass player. 36.28.

Below two photos of the anonymous new drummer, at 10.07 and 54.02. Some people see her face as that of 한순정 Han Sun-jong, the previous drummer, but her skull shape is different. She also appears to be a fresh entrant to the lime lights, as she  looks very young and has the rank of sowi only.

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Anonymous male violinist. 15.43. Lieutenant colonel.

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Anonymous male cellist. Lieutenant colonel.

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Anonymous male saxophonist. At 19.20. Not too young, and four stars on his shoulder = tewi/captain. It thus appears that a number of experienced MBB members were replaced with young females freshly out of school, and three older males were brought in to strengthen the instrumental section, as well as Ri Ok-hwa to strengthen singing. We can also speculate that the expulsion of seven members as well as the demotion of the remaining ones was a fairly recent event, because the administrators apparently felt that the new entrants had not yet been trained reliably.

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The best available picture of Pak Son-hyang 박선향, at 59.12. She is clearly recognizable. Otherwise the camera succeeded in not showing her face well, though of course she can be seen moving at the stage quite often.

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Let us not forget 전혜련 Jon Hye-ryon. Just a while ago she was wearing a white uniform, but now her costume is brown. At the same stage, anyway. The uniform colour may not mean much, as the difference between MBB and SMC has become very small. 24.02.

Compositions
An Jong-ho 2014 1, 2016 1
Hwang Jin-yong 2016 1, old 2
Hyon Kyong-il 2015 1, 2016 1
Kim Un-ryong 2016 1
Kim He-song 2014 1
U Jong-hui 2015 1, 2012 1
Sin Il-je 2015 1

Lyrics
Cha Ho-gun 2016 3, 2015 1, 2014 2
Jo Kwang-chol 2015 1
Ri Ji-song 2016 1
Hwang Song-ha 2015 1
Jong Song-hwan 2012 1

20 songs, 8 old and 12 new KJU era songs. This was not a memorial concert, but a forward looking disciplinary and policy strengthening concert, fitting with the KWP meeting. An Jong-ho has returned to composing; one bright new song from him, and one two year old. Hwang Jin-yong is also still active, but so are younger composers. No smash hits, though. Altogether 6 songs with Cha Ho-gun’s lyrics; he clearly stands out.