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16 April 2024

N Korean accordion players are YouTube wonder


A group of North Korean accordion players is proving to be an unlikely hit on YouTube, attracting nearly 320,000 viewings in five days with their spirited version of a 1980s pop song.

Five students of Pyongyang's Kum Song School of Music are seen performing the mid-80s hit "Take on Me" by Norwegian group a-ha, a rare performance of popular Western music in North Korea.

The performance last December was filmed by visiting Norwegian artist Morten Traavik, who posted the clip on the video-sharing website on February 1.

He has invited the three men and two women to play a mixture of Korean and international hits during the Festival Barents Spektakel, a cultural event to be held in Norway from February 8 to 12.

It could not immediately be confirmed that the accordion players had accepted the invitation.

Most artistic performances and exhibitions in North Korea are used to perpetuate the personality cult around the Kim dynasty, which has ruled the country since its creation in 1948.
A Lunar New Year concert last month featured the titles "Cantata to Comrade Kim Jong-Il" and "We Long for You, General" -- a reference to the former leader who died on December 17.