Band members

Artistic and administrative leadership
Director  현송월 Hyon Song-wol 玄松月, singer
Vice director 황진영 Hwang Jin-yong, composer (2012-2015?)
Vice director 김운룡 Kim Un-ryong, composer (2013?-)
Director of Creative Section 우정희 U Jong-hui, composer
Vice director of CS 안정호 An Jong-ho, composer (2012-2014?)
Vice director 장정애 Jang Jonge

It is not known what Jang Jonge does or did, as her name does not appear in connection with the products of the band. Hyon Song-wol visibly represents the band in formal occasions, and all composers have been active creating and arranging numerous songs. Especially the female composer U Jong-hui has been visible and active throughout the whole period. However, Kim Un-ryong’s work entered the repertoire only during 2013, which may indicate that he joined later. On the other hand, An and Hwang started to fade away from the repertoire during 2014-2015, which may indicate that they may have been phased out of the band. They also did not appear in any of the group photos of the band in October 2015. On the basis of this indirect evidence I thus suspect that only three administrative/artistic leaders are left.


Musicians. With the indispensable help of Arthur Yabe, I have now put this list in order – as accurately a possible. Names in grey indicate phasing out of the band – or at least that the person was not seen on stage during the last concert analyzed. The amount of grey is getting bigger. The list is not exact; I have not marked the presences and absences of every single person through every single concert.

Violin 선우향희 Sonu Hyang-hui 鮮于香姫 鲜于香姬 (20120706 – 20150907) ⁑**
Violin 홍수경 Hong Su-kyong 洪秀卿 (20120706 – ) *→**→*
Viola & violin 차영미 Cha Yong-mi 車英美 车英美 (20120706 – 20150907; 20160511-) *→**→*
Cello 유은정 Yu Un-jong 俞恩貞 俞恩贞 (20120706 – 20160511) *→**
Violin 김은하 Kim Un-ha (20150427 – 20160511) *→**
Violin anonymous male (20161228) 중좌 jungjwa
Cello anonymous male (20161228) 중좌 jungjwa
Synthesizer 김향순 Kim Hyang-sun 金香淳 (20120706 – 20130201)
– bayan (Russian type accordeon)
Synthesizer 리희경 Ri Hui-kyong 李熙景 李熙景 (20120706 – ) *→***→⁑**→?
– tambourine and other percussion instruments occasionally

Piano 김영미 Kim Yong-mi 金英美 (20120706 – 20121010) *→**

– synthesizer (20130411 – 20160511)
Piano 김정미 Kim Jong-mi 金恩美 (20121221 – ) *→**→*
Synthesizer anonymous female (20161228) *
Guitar 강평희 Kang Phyong-hui 康玲熙, though known in much literature as 령희 Kang Ryong-hui, as her name was misread in 2012  (20120706 – 20140520)*
Guitar AnonymousGuitarist (21040905-20150427)
Guitar 조경희 Jo Kyong-hui (20150907 – ) *→**→*
Bass 리설란 Ri Sol-lan 李雪蘭 李雪兰 (20120706 – 20130201)*** 
Bass 전혜련 Jon Hye-ryon 全惠蓮 (20130411 – 20160511) **
Bass anonymous transferree from CBB (20161228) *
Saxophone 최정임 Choe Jong-im 崔貞任 崔贞任 (20120706 – 20160511) *→**
– clarinet, various percussion instruments
Saxophone anonymous male (20161228) 대위 tewi 
Drums 리윤희 Ri Yun-hui 李润熙 (20120706 – 20140904)*
Percpad 한순정 Han Sun-jong 韓純情 (20140520) *→**

– drums (20150427 – 20160511)
Drums anonymous female (20161228) *

Vocals, original group + Ra
김유경 Kim Yu-kyong 金佑景 (20120706 -)  ⁑**→*→⁑**→*, 공훈배우 konghun peu
김설미 Kim Sol-mi 金雪美 (20120706 -20160218) *→***
류진아 Ryu Jina 柳进雅 (20120706 -20160511) **, 공훈배우 konghun peu
박미경 Pak Mi-kyong 朴美京 (20120706 – 20160311) **
박선향 Pak Son-hyang 朴善香 (20120706 -) **→*?
정수향 Jong Su-hyang 鄭水香 郑水香 (20120706 -20150428; 20161228)*
리명희 Ri Myong-hui 李明姫 (20120825 – 20150427)*
라유미 Ra Yu-mi 羅佑美 (20130201 – 20140904)*, 공훈배우 konghun peu

Short term visitors and trainees
리옥화 Ri Ok-hua 李玉花 (20140904; 20161228) 중좌 jungjwa, 공훈배우 konghun peu
Anonymous1 (20140904), one time visitor
Anonymous1b (20140904), possible one time visitor

리수경 Ri Su-kyong  (20150427 – 20151011) ** There exists a lady with the same name in Chongbong Band, but she is a different person
조국향 Jo Kuk-hyang (20151011 – 20160218; 20161228) **→*
김효심 Kim Hyo-sim (20151011; 20161228) **→
오수연 O Su-yon (? -) **, has never visibly performed in a published concert
Anonymous2 (20160213 -20160511) *
Anonymous3 (20160213 -20160511) *
Anonymous4 (20160511 -20160511) **
유봉미 Yu Pong-mi (20160511 -) *; moved in from the Chongbong Band 

Dates in parenthesis indicate their general time of service in the band as observed during their public appearances.

Stars indicate military rank:
⁑** (4 stars of equal size) 대위 tewi 大尉 (captain)
*** 상위 sangwi 上尉 (senior lieutenant)
* * 중위 jungwi 中尉 (lieutenant)
* 소위 sowi 少尉 (junior lieutenant)
중좌 jungjwa (lieutenant colonel; only the visiting star Ri Ok-hwa)

Most members of the band are graduates of the Kim Won Gyun Pyongyang University of Music (김원균평양음악대학 金元均平壌音楽大学). The accordionist Kim Hyang-sun is said to be a graduate of the musical school of the Mansudae Art Studio (만수대창작사 万寿台創作社). Of singers it is difficult to tell; many of them enter the stage after music oriented high school/gymnasium, or after some months of further studies. Opera singing probably requires more studies; only Pak Mi-kyong is known to have been trained as an opera singer.

The picture below is a slightly edited one, originally made by Arthur Yabe

Moranbong pic 20151024

In 2015.10.25, by the order of the supreme commander, a mass promotion of military ranks for members of State Merited Choir and Moranbong Band took place. According to KCNA the number of people promoted was 242, which is a good number. Also 56 honorary titles were awarded. The supreme leader apparently was satisfied with the concerts and the celebrations in general. As a result all MBB members, who had for the past years been in the rank of sowi / junior liutenant were promoted to that of jungwi / liutenant. A video of the ceremony here. In the same video one can see Kim Yu-kyong receiving either her nomination as Merited Artiste (02.16) or promotion back to the military rank of 륙군대위 ryuggun tewi / army captain, in which rank she started in 2012. Both promotions anyway took place in this ceremony. Hyon Song-wol of MBB (02.20) received something, but RS does not tell what. Hwang Un-mi (UO / SMC, 02.38) was promoted to the rank of 상좌 sangjwa colonel.

The names of the MBB promoted to 중위 chungwi are in the order that Rodong Sinmun (2016년 5월 9일) gave in its announcement; I do not know what the order signifies, except that musicians are first and singers second. But it is not the Korean alphabetical order. Arthur Yabe identified the ladies in the pictures.

전혜련 Jon He-ryon ①
유은정 Yu Un-jong ②
최정임 Choe Jong-im ③
홍수경 Hong Su-kyong ④
조경희 Jo Kyong-hui ⑤
김정미 Kim Jong-mi ⑥
한순정 Han Sun-jong ⑦
김은하 Kim Un-ha ⑧
류진아 Ryu Jina ⑨
박미경 Pak Mi-kyong
리수경 Ri Su-kyong
박선향 Pak Son-hyang
김효심 Kim Hyo-sim
조국향 Jo Kuk-hyang
오수연 O Su-yon

Members 20151016a

Members 20151016b

Members 20151016c

In the 20161228 concert all participating MBB members, whose shoulder marks could be observed, had been summarily demoted back to the rank of 소위 sowi/junior lieutenant, where they started while entering the band. Presumably the demotion concerned also those whose shoulder straps were not visible.

Best info on the band in the Japanese Wikipedia牡丹峰楽団

in the Chinese Wikipedia

in the Chinese Baidu 百度百科

in Deutsche Wikipedia

and in the English Wikipedia

Almost nothing in the South Korean Wiki. This is a dangerous band.

Names and pictures of two other members of the organization were revealed on the occasion of giving a prize to the team that composed the song 철령아래 사과바다 Chŏllŏngare sakwa pada Sea of apples at the foot of Chol Pass. The prize was a watch with Kim Jong-un’s name engraved on it. The date was 2014.08.27.

Other announced members

차호근 Cha Ho-gun; poet. A song with his lyrics was performed for the first time in the 20130411 concert. After that he has written lyrics for numerous MBB songs.

Cha Ho-gun 06.26

Cha Ho-gun giving a speech in 20140827

길원금 Kil Won-gum 録音師, recording expert. Announced in 2014.08.27

Gil Won-gum 07.02

Kil Won-gum giving a speech

A note on North Korean honorary titles

인민예술가 Inmin Yesulga People’s Artiste 人民藝術家
인민배우 Inmin Peu People’s Actor/Actress 人民俳優
공훈예술가 Konghun Yesulga Merited Artiste 功勲藝術家
공훈배우 Konghun Peu Merited Actor/Actress 功勲俳優

There are two ranks of honorary titles specifically for artists: merited artists, which is lower, and people’s artists, which presupposes lots of accomplishments after the first rank. No problems with this.

East Asians in general, and North Koreans here formally with their honorary titles, make a further distinction between ”artists” and ”actors/actresses”. Simply put, an artist is someone who creates ”art” at a table: a painter, a writer, a composer. She creates physical objects. An actor is someone who performs on stage. She creates a temporal experience, but nothing that you can touch with your hand remains afterwards. There is a status difference between these concepts. One would expect accomplished orchestra directors to be ”배우 Peu”, but no, they are ”예술가 Yesulga”, which implies that because they are in a leadership role, a higher ranking title is used about them. The Chinese character for actor is 俳, which is composed of two elements: 亻”human” and 非 ”not”, giving the actor the original meaning of ”non-human”. The idea apparently has been that of a shaman who has behaved strangely, or a comedian doing the same on stage trying to make spectators laugh. Thus it is a lower ranking concept. This kind of distinction does not appear in European languages, where the idea is that a composition remains only ink on paper until someone gives it life by performing it in front of an audience. Two different acts are needed for the creation of musical art. As a European the Korean distinction does not make much sense to me as I have learned to think differently. KCNA’s translation policy is not consistent either; the students it apparently employs sometimes translate peu as actor/actress, sometimes as artiste. I have not been consistent either. Using different languages easily leads to temporal schitsophrenias. Anyway, from now on I attempt to translate both peu and yesulga as artiste, retaining the French form of writing the word, preferred by North Koreans. Not recognizing any distinction is the most sensible way for a European, and it simultaneously displays due respect towards the skilled artists of Moranbong Band.

52 thoughts on “Band members”

  1. moalian said:

    Dear Sir,

    Small correction on your remark “Kim Yu-kyong started to fade away in 20140404 (camera avoided her) and was no more seen in the 20140416 concert. No explanation for that.”

    Kim Yu-kyong was on the stage for approximately the last 15 minutes of the show, as the 8th vocalist (position on the far right side). There is no close up of Kim Yu-kyong on youtube, but in a high resolution picture she can be spotted between Pak Seon-hyeong and Pak Mi-kyeong. See for example the picture on the website or other locations.

  2. Samhero said:

    Dear Mister,

    I am a Chinese fan of Moranbong Band, and some of your photos/files are collected and edited by Chinese fans. Of course, you’re welcomed to use them, and we welcome you to our YouTube sites such as: or for more information and discussion.

    In fact Moranbong Band members’ names are few translated into Chinese, we translated most of them for domestic communications. You’ve done a lot of work with limited information and help, I do appreciate that. However there are minor mistakes in your article which I’d like to point out:

    You’ve mentioned some of the singers, including Ra U-mi and Ryu Jin-a are awarded the title “Merited Artiste”(공훈예술가), while this title is used to merit the composers, film directors and professionals of artistic creators, like Hwang Jin-yong, Wu Jong-hui and the directors. For the singers, they are titled as “Merited Actress” (공훈배우).

    Looking forward to your reply, and wish you all the best.

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      Thank you, Samhero. I am always happy for corrections. As you have noticed, I have to work with very limited information, as well as with limited linguistic skills.

  3. kwaximus said:

    Hi Pekka!

    As a fan of Moranbong band I would like to thank you for putting together such a thorough research. This is the most complete study of the band that ever existed. Great job and thanks again!

    There is one curious thing about Kim Yu-kyong that I have noticed. You correctly show her rank as junior lieutenant but in 2012 concerts she appeared to be captain (e.g. here at 37:17 you can clearly see that). It appears she was demoted to junior lieutenant (3 ranks down) sometime during 2013. Have you seen any mention of this anywhere? Any clue of what might have happened?

    On the other hand Kim Seol-mi have been promoted from junior lieutenant to senior lieutenant (2 ranks up). My congratulations to her!

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      Hei Kwaximus, thanks a lot for this. I had not noticed these details. No, I have not seen any news or analysis of these demotions and promotions, but they seem to indicate that especially Kim Yu-kyong and Sonu Hyang-hui are in some kind of trouble. That is indicated also whether a specific lady appears on stage, and if she is there, does the camera show her. Kim Yu-kyongs demotion may have happened in February-March 2013, when Kim Hyang-sun (synthesizer) and Ri Sol-lan (bass) were purged/disappeared from the band. I have never seen any explanation.

      Busy now with my real work, but these things need checking out. Thanks again.

      • kwaximus said:

        I’d like to think that the girls from the band that were replaced got happily married and are expecting/delivered babies. And this is the reason why they had to be replaced. Such things happen in life you know. And I would not like to think of any other reasons. Though with NK you never know.

        Best of luck with your studies.

  4. kwaximus said:

    Hi Pekka, in case you haven’t seen the news – there were 2 concerts given by Moranbong band on Wednesday and Thursday as announced by KCNA. Some pictures released. No videos available yet.

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      Yes, thanks. I noticed it, the news are here.
      But too busy with work to be able to react on this site.

      • kwaximus said:

        Seonu Hyang Hui is there. Cha Yong-mi is missing. One of the singers has long hair – a new one? Though it might be Jong Su-hyang but then that means her hair grows super fast.

    • kwaximus said:
      The second picture from the top – you can clearly see the string trio.
      Can’t really discern the singers on any of the pictures except Kim Seol-mi and Ra Yu-mu. Kim Yu-kyong is probably there but not sure about Ryu Jin-a and others. Would be a real disapointment for me personally if Pak Mi-kyong is missing.

    • kwaximus said:

      If the long haired girl is a new singer that means that 3 singers from the original line up are missing. From what I see they most probably are: Pak Mi-kyong, Pak Son-hyang, and Ri Myong-hui. Pak Mi-kyong has not missed a concert in the past. What could have gone wrong with her?

  5. I saw the movie of a PercPad unknown lady at a concert of 조선인민내무군협주단(The Band of Korean People’s Domestic Force?), not KPA. Perhaps, her name is Han Sun-jong(한순정). Perhaps, Chinese character is 韓純情 or 韓順貞.

  6. pekkakorhonen said:

    Thanks a lot, I was not sure of the Russian acronym in the video that I saw. Wikipedia gives ‘Korean People’s Internal Security Forces’ as the English name for that branch of the military; 朝鮮人民内務軍協奏団. You might not have an address to the video? And could you tell how you know the name. I should check that a written source exists somewhere.

  7. hellonc said:

    I think there’s a possibility that Ri Su-kyong is not the mystery singer from the September 2014 concert. They have similar hair, but they look a bit different to me. But this is pure speculation on my part.

  8. pekkakorhonen said:

    You are right, that could also be the case. Life would be easier if every member was clearly shown and properly introduced in each concert, and the videos were of better quality. Mouth shut, or mouth wide open, and a bit different angle, and the lady looks different/similar with someone else. In a situation of uncertainty I opted for permanence rather than change, and decided to treat her as the unknown September 2014 lady. In this I am backed only by Immanuel Kant, who was of the opinion that we tend to see what our concepts lead us to see.

    Nevertheless, also Kant valued empirical observation. I’ll change the interpretation if I see a clear and close face, either in a photo, better video, or a new concert. The blog is constant correction.

  9. i hope 선우향희 come back.

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      We all do. But she may be too individualistic to fit the band in its current style, which emphasizes discipline. She is a great artist, though, and may be we’ll see her in one way or another.

  10. MBfan said:

    Though the article applies to visual arts, some parts may relate to musicians/singers.

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      I have sometimes seen something similar written about composers. Quite probably the weekly and daily schedules of musicians and singers are also similar with that of the visual art workers.

  11. suki jin said:

    I found a new video for Kim Yu-kyong

    She was a college student at 2010.

    The song title is estimated to󰡐[morabong nil-ri-ria] 모란봉 닐리라아

    This is very interesting.

    Does she have a key role in the creation of the band?

    or She is a Royal family in north korea?

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      This is absolutely interesting. Youku contains important treasures, but is usually difficult to use from Europe. Much easier and faster here in South Korea. She is indeed wearing a student uniform. We know nothing of her family background, but she probably was one of the key persons when the band was created. She was the lead singer in the beginning, with the military rank of a captain, highest among the singers. She also travelled the golden path to the title of Merited Artiste, although there were difficulties along the road. All singers are not treated in the same way, nor given many solos or duos to sing, so she presumably has an important family background. Even the fact that there exists a video of her in 2010 could hint to importance. Thanks a lot for this rare piece of information.

      • pekkakorhonen said:

        I placed her photo on the Prehistory page.

      • suki jin said:

        Hi pekka!

        This is all just a guess …
        She was young than you think.
        I expected her now around 26 years old,
        Because North Korea is graduating from school early than South Korea.
        South Korea will graduate from high school at age 19, but North Korea is only 17 years old.
        North of the course of study is 4 (elementary)+6(middle)+2~6(university).
        So if she is assumed to fourth grade in 2010
        Her estimated age is 20 years old in the video.

      • pekkakorhonen said:

        You are right, I also think now that her age must be lowered – but how much? The 4+6+2-6 system is the normal one, but it is also said that elite children in special training programmes like music or science may study longer in special schools until 18 before they move to university. But as we do not know anything specific about Kim Yu-kyong’s educational history, I am perfectly willing to accept your estimate.

  12. I really appreciate all the effort put on this research! It is quite hard to identify the band members.. I’ve seen some pictures of the band in China prior to their (cancelled) show but I’m not sure of who is who. For example, in this one: the girl with the white case (a violin, probably) is Hong Su-Kyong and the one carrying a cello (big black case) is ms. Yu Un-Jong?

    Thanks again!!

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      Yes, I also think the ladies are those you mentioned. Beside them Ri Hui Kyong, synthesizer player. I do not know the lady in the civilian dress. Thanks for the picture, had not seen it before.

  13. suki jin said:

    Enjoy the other photos in Beijing…

    • MBfan said:

      Thanks, I haven’t seen most of the photos. I’ve been noticing those award ribbons under their pins and I see that most ladies were awarded the Order of the National Flag in 2nd or 3rd class, a common award in NK.

  14. MBfan said:

    Found some candid shots of MBB members in a video. Does anybody know where the photos came from? Could they be possibly edited?

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      No idea. Reconstructing pictures is of course always a possibility, but these could be quite natural photos of band members in any country. Grabs from selected concert videos are unlikely, however. At least I do not remember seeing those poses. I suspect that there are actually more links between the North and the South than is usually known.

      • MBfan said:

        Maybe they’re not really candid shots, but they posed for some reason (maybe for a DVD content?) Nevertheless, I’m interested of seeing more photos of them in this kind of manner. If I’m lucky enough, I might find their photos featured in the new year concert during 설눈아 내려라.

      • MBfan said:

        Came across another photo of the group. This time, they’re in the military winter coats. This is from a Chinese website that posted a screen grab from KCTV.

        The image is obviously not from the 2015 China trip as it has Jong, Sonu and other former members on it. Interestingly, they pose in front of an Air Koryo aircraft (a possible overseas travel? I estimate the date to be late 2012 or early 2013.)

      • pekkakorhonen said:

        You have found an interesting photo. The screen grab from KCTV is presumably a new one, even though the photo obviously is old? The only provable trip abroad is the December 2015 trip to Beijing. Adam Cathcart in his blog claimed in 2014 that the Band had visited Beijing in August 2012 with Jang Song Thaek.
        I once asked him about this, but he did not answer then. As there is no other info concerning that trip, it may be a rumour or a mistake, and anyway, they would not have needed winter clothing in August.

        Domestic travel could also be a possibility. If I remember correctly, the only long domestic trip to the north was to Samjiyon county in April 2014, Even though it was already April, if the trip included also a visit to Mount Pektu, winter clothing would have been in order. Kang Phyong-hui was indeed still with the band at the time. Yet, if the two difficult to recognize ladies at the back row indeed are Kim Hyang-sun and Ri Sol-lan, then the dating should be earlier, but they can also be some other people.

        There is of course much activity that we never hear anything about. They can visit many kinds of places in winter, and even give concerts without cameras, and that would not necessarily become any news. I do not challenge your dating, but I guess that the trip must have been domestic. The band became an international sensation in 2012, and any visit abroad would have drawn paparazzi around them, even in China, which is a very commercial country nowadays.

      • I put the members legend myself. Yes, it was from the Samjiyon trip.
        Found another website with some other photos.

        I think if KCTV-related Youtube channels still has news clips from late 2012, maybe the photos of MBB members frolicking in the snow can be found, the most sought after images of the band.

  15. suki jin said:

    This year, the new performances is also rare ㅠㅠ…
    enjoy! look at the past performances of the other version….

    (korea SBS 8 NEWS)

    (체널 A)

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      Thanks for the news videos. As few people reading this site know Korean well, me included, could you tell us how the band is represented in ROK news media? Usually people that I met there in June knew nothing of the band.

      • suki jin said:

        This is a movie of the past .
        Mb latest news is not here too.
        If even a small news I will tell on this site.

        What I notice is the quality of the video image.
        HD looks good as the appearance of a member.

        I’m sorry. I use the Google translator to wrong English.

        (Anchor) MB has become the first foreign life performances..
        WOW ~~ pretty! WOW ~~ pretty!(woman)
        MB has received praise looks ashamed seemed to laugh
        MB is wearing a military uniform insignia because soldiers.

        Skip back ……………………..
        Hyon Song-Wol leader interviews, performance schedule…..

        (Anchor) MB’s dances and songs’ve lived it more colorful.
        Compared to South girl group it does not keep up
        …………… Moment is good at dancing
        (woman) Dancing is also gorgeous than in the past
        It is similar to the crew of Air Koryo.
        …………… Skip back ……………………..
        Analysis of the founding history and political significance of the band

        Analysis of the founding history and political significance of the band

  16. suki jin said:

    MB NEWS(2017.07.16.)

    – summary –
    1. The first person to see the MB is awesome and they are difficult to discern individual
    Do not have a distinctive role as a dedicated differ only in their respective octaves team does not highlight individual members greatly
    2. In S.Korea, the main member is positioned in the center
    But N.Korea and placed in a high-octave stage unconditional order from the right.
    (From left to right : Soprano – mezzo-soprano – Alto)
    3. In North Korea, even if the singer left the band it can never work as a solo artist.
    4. Members are given more roles assigned in accordance with the interests of the Kim family, rather than the popular masses

    It is Believe it or not………….. (I think NO.3 is some confidence)

    • pekkakorhonen said:

      Thank you. So they are mainly comparing MBB with southern groups.

      • suki jin said:

        How do I modify the text?
        I do not know how

      • pekkakorhonen said:

        Well, let it be. The interpretation of Google translations requires some imagination, but it is ok.

        For some reason everything you do comes in twice. Once would be enough.

  17. MBfan said:

    I think anonymous4 is number 12 on the photo with KJU.


    • pekkakorhonen said:

      Interesting news. I do not ask for any specifications. But once again, we do not know the truth value level of this. Thanks.

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