Theme: Celebrating the successful launch of the first Intercontinental Ballistic Rocket Hwasong-14. North Korea prefers the translation ’rocket’ instead of ’missile’.
Artists: State Merited Chorus, Moranbong Band, Chongbong Band singers, Wangjaesan Art Troupe dancers.
Conductor: 승성일 Sung Song-il.
Place: Pyongyang Arena = Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Gymnasium
Info on the first concert: KCNA: “Art Performance Celebrates Successful Test-fire of Hwasong-14”; 조선신보: 《김정은원수님 참석밑에 대륙간탄도로케트시험발사성공기념 음악무용종합공연 성대히 진행》
Audience: State and army high officials, scientists and technicians. Very few women again. There were altogether four concerts by these four ensembles, also in 10, 11 and 12 July, and these latter concerts were for more civilian audiences without the presence of KJU. A confusion of the dates resulted from the fact that in later news the KCNA mentioned only three concerts, apparently considering the one with the supreme leader in the audience as a separate category.
KJU: present in the first concert in Sunday 9 July, together with his sister 김여정 Kim Yo-jong 金與正
Published: in many places; I used Stimmekorea’s version https://youtu.be/NXIoWXY4Vpw
KCNA: 2017.07.12 《대륙간탄도로케트시험발사성공기념 음악무용종합공연 진행》 “Art Performance in Celebration of Hwasong-14 Given”
Sonu Hyang-hui is back, once again. The last full concert where she performed was in 2014.09.04, though she appeared briefly also in the 2015.09.07 SMC concert. But practically she was absent for nearly 3 years. Her military rank was demoted to 소위 sowi 少尉, junior lieutenant, just like nearly all others in the band. Jong Su-hyang was the only original singer left; two new singers, and one or two new synthesizer players.
As a matter of act, there were five concerts. In Monday 2017.07.10 there was a concert solely by Moranbong Band at Mokran House. It was arranged by the Central Committee and the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea during a banquet honouring the scientist and technician teams that had made the successful launch possible. (KCNA 2017.07.11 “Reception Given to Celebrate Successful Test-launch of Hwasong-14“). This means that the MBB first performed at the Mokran House, and then later in the Pyongyang Arena. Much of the repertoire has probably been the same.
03.37 Overture; a composite melody
05.07 애국가 Egukka National anthem 愛国歌
06.37 영광을 드리자 위대한 우리 당에 Yŏngkwangŭl tŭrija widehan uri tange Glory to our great Party! 栄光を捧げよう、偉大な党に
Composition: An Jong-ho 안정호, lyrics: Yun Du-gun 윤두근, 2010
10.55 빛나는 조국 Pinnanŭn joguk Brilliant motherland 輝く祖国
Composition: Ri Myŏn-sang 리면상, lyrics: Pak Se-yon 박세영, 1947
15.30 사회주의전진가 Sahwejuye jŏnjinga Advancing socialism 社会主義前進歌
Composition: Kim Un-ryong 김운룡, lyrics: Ri Ji-song 리지성, 2017
18.40 우리의 총창우에 평화가 있다 Uriye chongchangue phyŏnghwaga itta Peace is on our bayonets 我らの銃剣の上に平和がある
Composition: Ri Jongo 리종오, lyrics: Jong Un-ok 정은옥, 1993
SMC, solist: Kim Ki-yong 김기영
24.50 조국과 나 Joguk kwa na Motherland and I 祖国と私
Composition: Hwang Jin-yong 황진영, 1997
Orchestra: MBB; singing: CBB; solist: Kim Ok-ju
30.31 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; instrumental + choir
38.06 달려가자 미래로 Tallyŏkaja mirero Dash to the future 駆けて行こう未来へ
No creation info. This song appeared at the same time as the MBB itself. The first known performance was in 20120825. The lyrics are about study and work for the advancement of the motherland, and the dance seems to depict factory work, moving machinery, and other technological aspects of progress. The music is not the usual MBB version, but probably played by Wangjaesan musicians. It contains also elements of other songs depicting rapid technological progress; at least at 40.43 one can hear a few tunes of the KJI era song ”돌파하라 최첨단을 Make breakthroughs at the cutting edge”; composition & lyrics by Hwang Jin-yong 황진영, 2009.
Music: recorded; Wangjaesan Art Troupe dancers
42.00 승리의 축배 Sŭngni ye chukpe Toast for victory 勝利の祝杯
The original composition Ri Jong-o 리종오, lyrics: Choe Ro-sa 최로사, date unknown
The Unhasu Orchestra used to perform this song with the title 축배를 들자 Chukperŭl tŭlja Let’s raise a toast 祝杯をあげよう。This is how the lyrics say also here.
Music: recorded; Wangjaesan Art Troupe dancers
47.19 공화국로케트병행진곡 Konghwaguk rokhethŭpyŏng hengjingok March of the Rocketeers of the Republic 共和国ロケット兵行進曲
Appears to be a new composition; no creator data. This is a simple happy melody, but somewhat tiring when stretched over 10 minutes, especially during repeated hearings.
MBB, instrumental. Photos of the three generational missile projects.
58.40 우리를 부러워하라 Urirŭl purŏwŏhara Be envious of us! 我らを羨みなさい
Composition: An Jong-ho 안정호, lyrics: Ryu Tong-ho 류동호, 1997
Orchestra: MBB; singing: CBB quintet
01.01.20 당을 노래하노라 Tangŭl norehanora I sing in praise of the Party 党を歌わん
Composition: Hwang Jin-yong 황진영, lyrics: Cha Yong-do 차영도, 2010
Orchestra: MBB; singing: CBB; solist: 송영 Song Yŏng
01.05.55 륜춤 Ryunchum Ring Dance 輪踊り
Creation info not known. From Wangjaesan Light Music Band’s 8th album «왕재산경음악단 제8집 무용곡집 1» (“Dance Music 1”), released in 1992. This recording was used as the background music. The dance with similar but live music and choreography was presented in the Workers’ Party 70th jubilee concert in October 2015. At least some of the dancers were the same, apparently in the same dress from head gear to shoes, and presumably with the same hula hoops. The only difference was that here there were 7 dancers, in 2015 13. (https://youtu.be/9dTJvJbChRU). It is a very beautiful dance requiring a lot of skill. Performing it again only shows that the concert was arranged on a short notice, largely with ex tempore elements.
Music: recorded; Wangjaesan Art Troupe dancers.
01.09.35 보란듯이 Poran dŭsi You must look at this 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.
01.13.31 단숨에 Tansume Without a break/In one breath 一気に
Composer: Hwang Jin-yong 황진영, lyrics: Yun Du-gun 윤두근, 2003
MBB. A newly arranged version.
01.18.32 화성포의 노래 Hwasongpho ye nore Song of Mars/Fire Star cannon 火星砲の歌
화성 can be understood in two ways; it is the planet Mars, but the meaning of the name of Mars is Fire Star.
The same melody as in 빛나라 광명성 Pinnara Kwangmyŏngsŏng Twinkle twinkle Shining-Bright-Star! 輝け、光明星, made in 2016 for celebrating the successful satellite launch, but different lyrics. NK poets were ordered to create quickly lots of new poems for the honour of the Hwasong-14 rocket. This is probably one of them. Perhaps composing takes a longer time.
01.21.50 김정은 장군께 영광을 Kim Jong Un janggunkke yŏnkwangŭl 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
01.25.35 Departure of KJU and ending ceremonies
MBB did most of the playing, both for its own singers and for the CBB vocalists. It is quite likely that the repertoire was very similar also in the Mokran House concert. The role of SMC was rather small, and they simply performed their own numbers, apart from the start and end. WJSAT dancers used recorded music. All this probably implies that SMC and WJSAT did not rehearse together with the others. They only performed something they already knew well. The concert apparently was not prepared in advance; of course there had been no certainty that the first lauch of an ICBM would be succesful. The probabilities were high for non-success, as is usual with untried missile technology.
MBB and CBB on their turn had practiced together. Does this mean saving money on the CBB musicians, but not abolishing the ensemble, because the concept itself is good?
Not much new music (2 songs), and one existing melody was fitted with new lyrics (01.18.32 화성포의 노래). What are the composers doing? Has their work also been reduced for budgetary reasons?
Photos of the concert present the usual problems: 1) the camera avoids new people, or unwanted people, or people not considered important, and 2) the screen has become more important than the people, music or lyrics. For this reason the stage is rather dark, and even people on whom the camera focuses, cannot usually be seen clearly. dprktoday has published a few good photos:
I will not, however, use them in the following, but try to use what can be found in the video.
Hong Su-kyong and Cha Yong-mi
Not much was seen of another synthesiser player at the back and right; this much at 01.17.55. On the basis of the next concert in 20170730 she is likely to be the one who replaced Kim Yong-mi in the 20161228 concert; SynthesiserAnon1.
In front of Ri Hui-kyong there was a third synthesiser, but we did not see much of her face either, and also she remained anonymous: SysthesiserAnon2. She is of a medium level officer rank, namely 소좌 sojwa 少佐 (major). This suggests that she was a veteran musician, probably from the SMC. Possibly she was securing the playing of Synthesiser anon1, who appears to be a young person at the rank of 소위 sowi 少尉 (junior lieutenant). But more likely there were better reasons for her visit.
Kim Hyo-sim. Two photos, as there do not exist many photos of her.
CBB singer Song Yong performing solo. Formal CBB dress, which is not a military uniform.
The Wangjaesan Art Troupe dancers were a surprise, but after one got used to them, a pleasant one. They of course all wear strictly professional stage smiles, but they also made very good dances, and appeared to be doing that in a happy way. Their choreographies were artistically good, and especially the first one in white clothing, telling a narrative of technological progress by way of dancing, was to my eyes very innovative. I am not used to seeing that kind of dancing in North Korea. The tap dance, on its turn, was a pure specimen of Kim Jong Il era dancing. The Ring Dance was simply charming in its visuality and skill. Even though it had been performed once before, it was well worth performing again.
Missiles were rising up during the whole concert, usually the ICBM Hwasong-14. During Tansume it also reached its ostensible goal, flying through clouds to something that looked like North America, and exploding then.
The concerts are nowadays much more politicized than during KJI days or the early years of the KJU era – even though they seemed very political at the time. We have of course seen these explosions before, but in general the importance of the screen compared with everything else on the stage has been increasing through the past years. In a sense this reminds one of the days of silent films before World War II. In better movie theatres they used to employ live pianists to add sound to what was happening on the screen, because it made the action there more real. Ensembles in North Korea are little by little slipping into the same role. The stage is dark and the cameras do not care much about them.