- Video shows couple in Chongjin in the singing room
- South Korean songs popular choices
- Imported second hand karaoke machines include stored SK songs
Open Radio for North Korea has come into possession of video of the inside of a North Korean norae-bang (singing room). Recently, the North Korean authorities began closing such businesses down.
The 4 minute 38 second video shows a dankly lit room, festooned with images of Kim Jong-il, the Baekdu Mountain range and Chonji lake. A male - female couple sing songs and can be heard conversing in the Hamgyeong province dialect.
According to defector testimony, the machinery used in the singing rooms is smuggled or traded across the Chinese border, and sometimes comprises second hand Japanese manufactured technology. Some of the songs are South Korean in origin, remaining stored on second hand machines which came from the border region. Songs such as "Peach Tree Cease your Tears" and "The Travellers Sadness" are available.
At the time the video was taken in 2007, South Korean songs were less well known to North Koreans. They were familiar only to those who made official or business trips to China. However, the so-called "Korean wave" of exported popular culture from the South has reached far enough into the North for most ordinary people to know at least one or two South Korean songs.
Translated by Danny Lee