NATIONAL

Baek Ji-young popular in North: defector

By Catherine Chung
  • Published : Mar 22, 2018 - 18:25
  • Updated : Mar 23, 2018 - 10:21
The Unification Ministry is fine-tuning the details before sending a 160-member art troupe to Pyongyang for two performances between March 31 and April 3. The artists included Cho Yong-pil, Lee Sun-hee, Choi Jin-hee, rock singer Yoon Do-hyun, Baek Ji-young, Jung-in, former Girls’ Generation member Seohyun, Ali and K-pop act Red Velvet.

Among the much-anticipated performances, it is said Baek Ji-young is the most popular north of the border, thanks to her award-winning soundtracks for TV dramas and hit songs. 

Baek Ji-young (WS Entertainment)

One North Korean defector, who was responsible for media censorship at Pyongyang’s Ministry of Public Safety until 2013, told Korean newspaper the Chosun Ilbo Thursday that “many college students in Pyongyang carried Compact Discs or USB flash drives, containing South Korean movies, dramas and songs.”

The defector further mentioned that among the seized properties, Baek’s songs came up most frequently during routine inspections, specifically “Like Being Hit by a Bullet,” which became North Korean college students’ favorite song to sing.

“Baek Ji-young’s songs came up so much that our inspection team started to sing her songs from memory,” the defector recalled.

Baek, who debuted with “Dash” in 1999, rose to K-pop stardom with many of her chart-topping hits, such as dance track “My Ear’s Candy,” soft ballads “That Woman” and “Don’t Forget Me.” 

University students in Pyongyang (AP)

Baek’s “Like Being Hit by a Bullet,” which was produced by music producer-CEO Bang Si-hyuk of Big Hit Entertainment, topped South Korean music charts Melon and Mnet for four and six consecutive weeks, respectively.

Yun Sang, a singer-songwriter and producer, led the South Korean delegation to the working-level talks concerning the art-troupe performance. 

His North Korean counterpart Hyun Song-wol agreed to the North’s hosting of two performances at Pyongyang’s Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Gymnasium and East Pyongyang Grande Theatre in between March 31 and April 3, according to the Unification Ministry Tuesday.

South Korea sent a six-member advance team Thursday to check out venues for the upcoming performances.

By Catherine Chung (cec82@heraldcorp.com)