Overture 05.01 väritetty

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: Possibly 승성일 Sung Song-il.
Place: Pyongyang Arena = Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Gymnasium
Audience: State and army high officials, scientists and technicians. Very few women again. There were altogether three concerts, also in 11 and 12 July, and these latter concerts were for more civilian audiences.
KJU: present in the first concert, 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.

In the same Monday 2017.07.10 there was also another 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“)

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
A new composition?
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
Grande finale

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 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 (1, perhaps 2), 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.

Sonu Hyang-hui 20170710 15.20

Sonu Hyang-hui is back. Not too smiling, but anyway. She was allowed to play short solos, or at least something like that. In the concert actually nobody looked happy, neither at the stage nor in the audience. It was a serious, solemn concert.  An exception were the Wangjaesan Art Troupe dancers, who came from a different world.  

Hong Su-kyong and Cha Yong-mi

Cellist 20170710 13.09

Cellist Anonymous 13.09. She arrived in 2016.12.28. 

Jo Kyong-hui 20170710 28.30

Jo Kyong-hui 28.30

bassist + Sonu Hyang-hui 20170710 01.01.57

Bassist Anonymous behind Sonu 01.01.57. She could be the one who arrived for the 2016.12.28 concert. Her hair style is similar; her face was seen here for the first time. 

Choe Jong-im 20170710 26.45

Choe Jong-im 26.45

Drummer 20170710 27.54

Drummer Anonymous 27.54

Kim Jong-mi 20170710 01.01.47

She is Kim Jong-mi, although she may not look too much like her. 01.01.47

Synth Ri Hui-kyong 20170710 13.29

Ri Hui-kyong in synthesizer at the back left – seen from the audience’s perspective. 13.29

Synth ext right 20170710 01.17.55

Whether there was Kim Yong-mi in her usual place at the right – again from the audience’s perspective – cannot really be judged on the basis of this photo. 01.17.55. But until corrected, I suppose that she was Yong-mi. 

In front of Ri Hui-kyong there was a third synthesiser, but we did not see much of her face, and she remained anonymous. If she had been of a low military rank, she would probably have been getting stage experience, possibly replacing an older MBB player in the future, but she had a medium level officer rank, namely 소좌 sojwa 少佐 (major). This suggests that she was a veteran musician, probably from the SMC, with lots of stage experience. The reason for adding her to the group is thus a mystery, as she did not make any noticeable difference with the sound of the band, or perhaps she moved it a bit towards a Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble style of sound. Was she an expression of inter- or intra-bureaucratic diplomacy?

Jong Su-hyang 20170710 01.10.09

Jong Su-hyang 01.10.09 She is the only original MBB singer left. The change rate is much faster among the singers than among the musicians.

Jo Guk-hyang 20170710 14.29

Jo Guk-hyang 14.29

Yu Pong-mi 20170710 16.20

Yu Pong-mi 16.20

Kim Hyo-sim. Two photos, as there do not exist many photos of her.

MBB sing anon or Kim Hyo-sim 20170710 01.20.08

This one is also likely to be Kim Hyo-sim. 01.20.08

MBB sing ext left 20170710 01.12.54

Singer Anonymous5. She used to be placed often at the extreme left. 01.12.54

MBB sing anon 20170710 01.22.33

Probably 리수경 Ri Su-kyong, who has not been seen since the 2015.10.11 concert. Usually at the right end of the line. 01.22.33. As also CBB’s Ri Su-kyong was on stage, there were two singers with the same name performing simultaneously during the concert. 

CBB Kim Ok-ju 20170710 26.25

CBB veteran vocalist Kim Ok-ju performing solo. Evening dress. 26.25

CBB singer Song Yong performing solo. Formal CBB dress, which is not a military uniform.

CBB civil formal 20170710 01.22.12

During the grande finale three CBB members changed back to evening dresses, and Kim Ok-ju probably never changed. Song Yong and another one did not. What is the meaning of different kinds of dresses?

The Wangjaesan Art Troupe dancers were a surprise, but after one got used to them, a good 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.

Kim Ki-yong 20170710 20.23

SMC veteran bass Kim Ki-yong. 20.23

Conductor SMC 20170710 03.17

Possibly 승성일 Sung Song-il. SMC has had a conductor with this name at least since 2016, but his photo or video has not been seen.

WJS dancers 20170710 civil bow 01.27.19

The status of Wangjaesan dancers is civilian, even though the male dancers wear military uniforms. They bow, while SMC members salute. Saluting beside Kim Ki-yong the conductor of SMC.

CBB WJS civil bow 20170710 01.27.27

WJS dancers bowed twice. Or perhaps always when another group saluted. CBB members also bow, irrespective of clothing. Whether MBB members can shoot with a rifle or not, they salute, and thus their status is military. The new anonymous MBB lady to the extreme right is a little unaccustomed to the rhythm, and missed saluting by 0.5 seconds. Not much. Welcome diversity only.

Audience 20170710 05.39

Although the camera did not show all people on stage, it focused several times on these ladies in the audience. It does not mean that they would be especially important people; may be because there were extremely few women in the audience, and they were the only colourful group of 5 women in one place.

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.

Missile 20170710 01.17.41

Missile 20170710 01.18.16

Missile 20170710 01.18.19

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 me of the days of silent films before World War II. They used to employ live pianists in better movie theatres 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.

6 thoughts on “2017.07.10”

  1. from 00.00 to 06.63 are National Anthem. Was played by SMC

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      The melody and rhythm still sound different to me after listening to it a number of times.

  2. Accoding to the KCNA the reception in the Mokran House took place on Monday, 10th July:
    “Pyongyang, July 11 (KCNA) — The Central Committee and the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea gave a splendid reception on Monday in celebration of the successful test-launch of intercontinental ballistic rocket Hwasong-14. …”

    … and there were totally 4 concerts ? every day from Sunday until Wednesday:
    “Pyongyang, July 12 (KCNA) — An art performance was given here in celebration of the successful test-launch of ICBM Hwasong-14 from Monday to Wednesday. …”

  3. Samhero said:

    Wangjaesan Troupe, together the Chongbong band, named as “attached to Wangjaesan Art troupe” are under the guidance of Worker’s Party of Korea, while the Moranbong band, is believed to be a group under the leadership of Military Commitee of WPK.

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      Thanks. The feeling of MBB is indeed that it is nowadays within a military bureaucracy. The State Merited Chorus probably also would be under the same Military Committee, because of the close association between MBB and SMC.

      A surprise is that the Department of Propaganda would be out of the picture, but perhaps the days of the greatness of that organ were during the Kim Jong Il era, no more now.

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