One of the more obscure questions people ask about the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) is “Can you listen to music in North Korea”. This is a rather silly question, witch a fairly obvious answer, which we will explain in this article.
Why do people say that you cannot listen to music in North Korea? Quite simply because when it comes to the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK)/North Korea people can seemingly say whatever outlandish shit they want.
So, can you listen to music in North Korea? Yes you can and indeed will, with North Koreans in general being a very musical people. In the past music in North Korea largely consisted of state sanctioned songs, as well as music from other allied nations. However North Koreans can now listen to a much wider array of music, including western songs. One of the most famous of these being the them tune to Titanic.
What is the music scene in North Korea?
The music of North Korea includes a wide array of folk, pop, light instrumental, political, and classical performers. There are also certain artists and genres that are very unique to North Korea, such as the Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble.
Overall though you can pretty much split the music of North Korea into two prolific genres, traditional songs, and those that are more patriotic, about the leaders, or socialism in general.
Traditional music in North Korea
You will listen to a lot of traditional music in North Korea, with many citizens of the DPRK being able to bash out a good tune, or two. Most famous among these though is of course Arirrang which every Korean both sides of the 38th knows.
One might even say it is the official anthem of what one day become a Unified Korean State.
What kind of music do young people listen to in North Korea?
In some respects there is not a huge divergence between what music young and older people listen to in North Korea, but there has definitely been an almost proliferation in pop type bands in North Korea in the last ten years.
Most famous among these and probably the most popular if you want to listen to music in North Korea is the Moranbong Band, sometimes referred to as NK-Pop
Can you listen to foreign music in North Korea?
Again despite the myths western music in not banned in North Korea and the at the Karaoke’s at places like the Yanggakdo Hotel singing Bohemian Rhapsody in Pyongyang is almost cliche now!
There are also a number of other songs that are well known, with many a female being able to belt out the Titanic theme, or believe it, or not many a Disney (pre-pandavers) classic too.
You can read about our top North Korean bangers here.
Have North Koreans heard of Gangnam Style or K-Pop?
When Gangnam Style first came out we would have guests do the dance and unassumingly ask guides if they knew it – who would reply dryly “no we have never heard of Gangnam style”.
And as for K-Pop, let it not be forgotten that in 2018 when the “Spring is Coming:” concert was held in Pyongyang meaning citizens could listen to music in North Korea from South Korea at these concerts.
Are there concerts where people can listen to music in North Korea?
There most certainly are, with YPT actually helping to arrange the first ever rock concert in the county, namely Laibach. This was amazing experience, although how many North Koreans still listen to this music is unknown.
So, yes you can very much listen to music in North Korea, sing in North Korea, dance in North Korea and overall eat, drink and be very merry in the country, despite what rumors you might have heard to the contrary.
And YPT run a number of tours where you can do this, such as New Year, or when concerts are held. Check the link to see our full list of North Korea tours.