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5 Reasons You Want to Be a Musician in North Korea

Where if your music bombs, that's a good thing...


by Craig Anderton



          Photo by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) of a performance by the Moranbong Band 


Sure, there have been some rough patches in the USA/North Korea relationship. But in the spirit of the thaw that started during the recent Winter Olympics, let’s keep things going in the right direction by reaching out to our fellow musos and finding out about the bountiful music opportunities in “The Hermit Kingdom” (not to be confused with the "Herman's Hermits Kingdom")!


1 — Musicians get paid more in North Korea. Well actually I don’t know that for sure, but it seems impossible to believe they’d get paid less.


2There are gigging opportunities you won’t find anywhere else. Having a hard time booking Patriotic Disco Opera gigs for your band? Pyongyang awaits! Just check out the YouTube videos from the all-girl Moranbong Band—with players chosen by the Supreme Leader himself—and you’ll be rockin’ to the hit songs “Let’s Defend the Party Central to Our Death” and the hauntingly melodic “Song of Coastal Artillery.”


3Tolerance for weird, eccentric artist types. Despite a reputation for being pretty straight-laced, let’s face it—if North Korea can tolerate Dennis Rodman, tolerating you should be easy-peasy!!


4Wake up to music every single day. If you live in the capital, you get to start your day at 6 AM with music when the two-minute song “Where Are You, Dear General?”—with its catchy, Blade Runner-style synth line—blasts out from speakers all around the city. Who says music isn’t important in North Korea? Not us!


5Long audience attention spans. Forget having to write titles a couple words long to appeal to a population with an attention span so short, it can’t even…uh…something, I forget. Anyway, while western pop music defaults to titles like “Back to You, “ “Touch,” “Slow Hands,” “Power,” and “The Cure,” North Korea gives you unlimited artistic freedom to use as many words as you want! Need proof? How about these chart-toppers: “The Joy of Bumper Harvest Overflows Amidst the Song of Mechanization," and “The Dear General Uses Distance-Shrinking Magic.” (Yes, all the song titles are real.) So let’s follow their example, and maybe someday we’ll again see titles like “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ with Lovin’ on Your Mind.”




Craig Anderton is a Senior Contributing Editor at Harmony Central. He has played on, mixed, or produced over 20 major label releases (as well as mastered over a hundred tracks for various musicians), and written over a thousand articles for magazines like Guitar Player, Keyboard, Sound on Sound (UK), and Sound + Recording (Germany). He has also lectured on technology and the arts in 38 states, 10 countries, and three languages.


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Ben Lorentzen  |  June 07, 2018 at 9:35 pm
Ha ha, love it!

Underneath the irony I think there might be some truth. 
We have now two options: peace or war. Both is going to cost us. 
One will cost lives. The other is more complex, maybe more difficult. Killing and dying is easy. believing and upholding principles and standards while building bridges towards entities that shows no regard for these standards is extremely difficult. 

But we have done this before. We embraced Germany and Japan efter WWII. Hitler commited suicide, and sure we brought to trial the worst offenders on Germany. But how about Japan?  We let the Emperor remain on his thrown, I didn't see any tribunals like the Nuremberg Trials in Japan. 

And the outcome after WWII was of course vastly different than the outcome of WWI.

Can we see North Korea in a different light? Embrace and actually build the enemy to a place where they are no longer our enemies?
Bobkat2018  |  March 18, 2018 at 4:48 pm
This is some of the best parody I've seen in a while!  I mean, this is parody... right?  RIGHT?!??
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