North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Pyongyang Burlesque

According to a report from Yonhap News Agency, an illicit video of the Wanjaesan Light Music Ensemble’s dance troupe  is making the rounds among North Korean citizens.  What makes the video so illicit is the skimpy attire (Yonhap has a photograph) of the dancers and the Hawaiian folk tune (in other words distinctly non Korean, non North Korean) to which the dancers shuffled and swayed.  The performance certainly brushes up against the DPRK’s cultural mores, and its lascivious content establishes that the performance was for an exclusive audience.

Then again, the Wangjaesan Light Music Band and Dance Troupe’s primary audience (save for the odd overseas engagement) are North Korean elite.  Unlike other DPRK performance troupes, Wangjaesan is the primary entertainment at KWP Central Committee functions, as well as serving as Kim Jong-il’s in-house live entertainment.  General-Secretary Kim founded the Wangjaesan Light Band (named after a mountain in North Hamgyong Province where Kim Il-sung supposedly held a partisan meeting)  in the early 1980’s and has sporadically worked on its performances.  It seldom gives public performances and is rarely mentioned in the North Korean press.  The Wangjaesan Light Band is subordinated to Kim Jong-il’s Personal Secretariat.  To an external audience, however, the Wangjaesan Light Band is not nearly as cloistered–its recordings (as CD’s or MP3’s) and videos are sold by the DPRK.   And unlike our Korean friends burning CD-ROM’s, you can see a chaster performance of the Wangjaesan Light Band on YouTube  here


This article was written on 03 Nov 2009, and is filled under Kim Jong-il, KJI Personal Secretariat, Uncategorized.

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