Forum

As many of my readers notice things of Moranbong Band that I do not, you can comment on them here. Authors with a previously approved comment should get through without moderation; new authors require a tick by me on the acceptance box. May sometimes take some time; I am not always online. Sometimes WordPress does not seem to recognize the computer of a previously approved commentator.

You can also write to me to morandisco@gmail.com

616 thoughts on “Forum”

  1. I created a page about MBB. It contains some of my opinions about the band and I also invite people to view this site. My first commentary involves merited artiste Ra Yu mi
    (Pekka, I used some of your photos and made it a collage.)

    https://www.facebook.com/Moranbong-Band-fanpage-565349613672373/

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      Very good. A nice site. None of the pictures are originally mine, I have only cut or otherwise edited them somewhat. Freely usable, as far as I am able to permit it.

  2. SilentObserver95 said:

    Explore DPRK uploaded song “The Heroes” on their website
    http://exploredprk.com/music/the-heroes/
    Is it new song?

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      Yes and no. MBB has performed it in March 2014, with Ra Yu-mi as the solo singer. The singer here apparently is also her. But we have never before heard it, because a complete video from the concert series has never been published. It is no. 11 in the list of songs on this page:
      https://morandisco.wordpress.com/2014-03-28/
      Whether this now indicates a return of Ra on stage or not, will be seen.

      • MBfan said:

        Let’s see in about two weeks. Maybe a party foundation concert will happen.

      • pekkakorhonen said:

        Yes, let’s see. Totally impossible to predict anything.

  3. kennethm said:

    I just uploaded a couple of videos to my new Youtube channel with focus on audio and video quality. Lossless audio uploads and videos are upscaled to 1080 HD at 50 frames/sec. The idea is to try to preserve as much detail as possible. I will try to add English subtitles although me Korean skills are very basic. Any help with translations is welcome…
    I will not publish complete concerts. The channel can be found at:
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOjDX4zlqAp4JSelt-p3Eqw

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      A good channel. As you said, quality is excellent and very welcome. You apparently aim for publishing specific artistically exceptional performances.

  4. A little bit off-topic, but it seems that the mystery about PEE musician, People’s Actor Kim Won-il is finally solved.
    His name reappeared on sheet music for some songs on DPRK Today website, and in a recent airing of TV documentary about Arirang song his presence on stage with PEE is not edited out, although it is very brief. Possibly he was just purged and sent to a camp for some crime, and editing of PEE performances may be done because of his position in the band – apart from composers and conductors, he was the second highest-ranked PEE member (pianist Jon Kwon is higher with People’s Artist, Kim Kwang-suk and Jon Hye-young are equally ranked).

  5. pekkakorhonen said:

    Thanks. These changes in the statuses of artists are always interesting.

  6. New Song

  7. Jon Hye-ron played the bass in the latest SMC concert.
    blob:http://umutdog.imgur.com/61ed57fa-4e48-42d9-9d1e-3255b044bce1
    (She played also bass in the latest CB concert in august.)

  8. suki jin said:

    I pray that Korea’s reunification as soon as possible and raise a song
    *Nostalgic Mount Kumgang*(70th anniversary of Independence from the performances. In S.Korea)-

  9. David Houston said:

    Does anyone know a source for sheet music for Moranbong hits? I am in a band in the United States, and would like to play some of these songs with my own group.
    “Without a break” for example.
    Also, just want to say I really appreciate this site. thanks to all who have contributed.

  10. David Houston said:

    I can’t read Korean, but the one called “artworks-000138011401-9g3nym” sounds like it may be “Without a Break”. I am not playing it very smoothly yet.
    Thanks again folks

  11. suki jin said:

    1. Lee Sul-ju has not been publicized for 7 months
    http://www.yonhapnews.co.kr/bulletin/2016/10/28/0200000000AKR20161028155600014.HTML?input=1195m

    Lee Sul-ju has not appeared since March 28
    People’s guess………
    – Kim Yo-jong(KJU,s sister) checks
    – Pregnancy possibility
    – Dissension between KJU
    etc
    Whether the MBB is related to it…..
    I feel a bit ominous and hope MBB will not be affected.

    2. North Korea suffered severe flood damage this summer.
    http://blog.unikorea.go.kr/6518

    I guess that could be one reason why MBB does not show

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      Yes, Ri Sol Ju romanized with McCune-Reischeuer. These disappearances are often long and difficult to explain.

  12. Ri Ok-hua is alive!

    New Song 《우리에겐 우대한 당이 있네》

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      Very good. ありがとうございます。噂は色々ありますね。

    • 과학자 said:

      Did anyone else who watched the clip notice a couple of interesting things? Private consumption is emphasised more than it ever was in music videos before (people pictured receiving small houseware gifts from the party, the Marshal visits a supermarket and some light industrial factories etc.); south of the peninsula (1:21) is blurred and quickly skipped, focus being clearly on the northern part; during a schoolkid’s birthday celebration a bilingual Korean-English sign on the wall is shown (2:15). Military are practically omitted in their traditional ‘arms-presenting’ role. As far as my latter three points are concerned, it may indeed be a coincidence, like a person in charge of producing the clip was being too tired to notice these small things and gave it a go-ahead, but still, these do make quite a fertile ground for speculations on possible changes in domestic policies of the DPRK.

      • MBfan said:

        Well, the music video mainly features the rehabilitation efforts in N. Hamgyong province after the flood. The young ones were sent to Songdowon Schoolchildrens’ Camp and the military helped in reconstruction of homes. The message is stated in the title of the song. Yeah, I believe that NK is changing under KJU.

  13. A link to the above described song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0eVwLz4Ptg

  14. MBfan said:

    For the new NK film, check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Lt4Jsy5m_w
    The theme song was done by MBB.


    I am not familiar with the names of the singers. I only recognize Ri Ji song (maybe he’s not the MBB lyricist.)

  15. mblover123 said:

    Hi, do you have the sheet music to 가리라 백두산으로? I very much appreciate your work. I love MB~~~

  16. https://goo.gl/i85m4M

    This is my new Youtube channel where I host complete concerts in good quality ( not so good as Moranbong Band HD, but anyway).

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      Very good. But can you use the Mokran Video logo on your own channel title page?

      • Do you mean the header?

      • pekkakorhonen said:

        Yes, in the header the text under the flower says “Mokran Video” (= magnolia video), and the logo is that of the NK video publishing company. If you use the logo, you imply that you are a representative of the company – which may not be true. Magnolia/목란/mokran/木蘭 is the national flower of North Korea, and thus the flower as a metaphor implies the nation. In the south they seem to write the name of the tree/flower as 목련 mokryön. May be this is not a big issue, but the logo has an organizational meaning. The Moranbong Band photo in the background is no problem.

      • Done (and thanks for the information).

      • pekkakorhonen said:

        !!!!!!!! Worker’s Party of Korea now.

      • It should be ok now.

      • pekkakorhonen said:

        No problem.

  17. Bawris said:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMy7jaFKRp4 check out there is a new video from samjiyon band.

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      Thank you for informing us. I heard in summer 2014 from a member of the Finnish-North Korean Friendship Association that Samjiyon Band had been established again, but as no concerts appeared, I dismissed it as one more baseless rumour. But clearly it has at least now been re-established. The conductor is different, and I did not recognize any of the musicians either; most quite young, with some a bit older looking members. The orchestra also has now an electric guitar and perhaps bass, which I do not remember it having in its earlier incarnation. It now sounds more like Unhasu Orchestra, although the arrangement and dress of musicians is different.

      Some singers were from the UO. I was very happy to hear and see Pak Kum-hui 박금희 performing again from 04.04 onwards. There were also Kim Ung-sam 김웅삼 & Ri Chun-il 리춘일, the former from 49.21 and the latter from 50.53 onwards, though both could be seen among other singers also during the 20.29 number. And of course Kim Ki-nam was sitting in the audience; he never retires.

      If Sonu Huang-hui is still performing somewhere, this would have been an ideal ensemble for her, because in SB she started and the music would have fit her. But she was not there.

      Anyway, North Korea again has a large chamber orchestra playing light classical style music, including even (very short) foreign music pieces. A welcome return to the musical scene.

      The concert was performed in 16 November 2016. I do not know why that date was decided for Mother’s Day celebrations in North Korea. As the date was established in 2012, it clearly is a Kim Jong Un era decision, but it is not his mother’s, grand mother’s, or aunt’s birthday.

      • There was a outdoor-concert series in september 2014, so the member of the KFA was right.

      • pekkakorhonen said:

        You had found even this 1:31 min concert. Very interesting. This one looks more like the old Samjiyon Band, with Ri Sune 리순애 acting as the conductor. Pity that the whole concert has never been published.

      • Re. the date of the Mothers’s day in the DPRK:

        “Another notable change is the addition of “Mother’s Day” on November 16th [2015] as a national holiday for the first time in North Korean history. In May 2012, the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly declared this day “Mother’s Day,” commemorating the First National Meeting of Mothers held on November 16th, 1961, during which Kim Il Sung’s essay “The Duty of Mothers in the Education of Children” was released; however, until now, it was never observed as a public holiday.”

        (source: http://www.dailynk.com/english/read.php?num=12682&cataId=nk01700 )

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      Thanks! Now we know also this.

    • My impressions about this new Samjiyon Band video

      – I would describe the outer appearance of the female musicians as “Retro Style”, best characterized by the Long, slightly wavy hair and the typical “chosonot” of the female singers
      – more intriguing the uniform hair style of the male musicians: all showed thei hair shaved about 2cm over their ears …

      some reamarks about the soloists.
      Choe Kum Ju (11′): she is a singer of the Pibada Opera troupe, her most notable performance was in 2009 in Pyongyang in the Chinese-Korean opera “Dream of the Red Chamber) with Wen Jiabao and Kim Jong Il as spectators
      Kwon Mi Hwa (46′): she can be viewed in 2008 Pochonbo-Moranbong video
      Han Hae-Ok (59′): she is mentioned in the 2009 Ameblo-list 2009 as a member of the Mansudae Art Troupe

      further information about the conductor Kim Ho Yun – in Korean language only:
      https://ko.wikipedia.org/wiki/%EA%B9%80%ED%98%B8%EC%9C%A4

  18. pekkakorhonen said:

    The Korean version of Rodong Sinmun reported in 2016.11.26 that Wangjaesan Art Ensemble had started a series of performances in Pyongyang. http://www.rodong.rep.kp/ko/index.php?strPageID=SF01_02_01&newsID=2016-11-26-0013
    Most of the ensembles destroyed in August 2013 have thus been reassembled, and staffed at least partly with younger musicians. Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble with a young staff is still missing from the list, as well as Unhasu Orchestra, but otherwise the scene now resembles quite much that of the late Kim Jong Il period. Even the musical style and the arrangement of concerts is quite similar. There is a number of active ensembles giving concerts, and opera singers whom we have not seen for a few years return to the stage. The period when the Moranbong Band reigned supreme appears to have passed. This is not to say that MBB would have been disbanded, even though we have heard nothing since May, but nowadays it seems to be only one ensemble among many.

    • suki jin said:

      I obviously think Ri Sol Joo and MBB are connected politically.
      RSJ is likely to be their sponsor
      In July 2012, RSJ made his official debut with ‘First Lady’ at the same time as MBB’s demonstration
      At that time North Korea needed a social atmosphere like a ‘New Generation’, ‘A New Leader’ . I think the MBB was supposed to be responsible for this mission.
      But now this role has been completed and their guardian she has not seen for eight months. Nobody knows why.
      MBB’s performances are gradually decreasing since 2015, and most of them were joint performances.
      If the MBB appears again, it is expected that the members will be replaced drastically.
      Perhaps the early members Ryu Jin-a, Kim Yu-kyung, Park Sun-hyang, Yoo Eun-jung, etc may not be able to see.
      Of course all of this is my guess…
      I expect them to be on stage for at least two years.

    • 과학자 said:

      Oh, just wait until the launch of geostationary satellite that Rodong Sinmun wrote since so long about, and you’ll see them again, surely.

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