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North Koreans may perform at DMZ music fest in June

A North Korean art troupe might take part in an upcoming music festival to be held in Seoul and near the Demilitarized Zone in Gangwon Province.

The organizers of the DMZ Peace Train Music Festival said Tuesday they are considering officially inviting North Korean musicians to the event at the end of April.

“While nothing has been set yet, we are planning to send an invitation to the North after the South-North summit, scheduled for the end of April,” said Gangwon Province Gov. Choi Moon-soon at a press conference for the DMZ fest on Tuesday.

“The organizers will also give prior notice of the event to the North so that it doesn’t mistake the festival sound for that of artillery.“


 
Han Kyung-rock of Crying Nut speaks during a press conference for the DMZ Peace Train Music Festival in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
Han Kyung-rock of Crying Nut speaks during a press conference for the DMZ Peace Train Music Festival in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

The festival, co-organized by Martin Elbourne, one of main bookers of England's Glastonbury Festival, and Lee Dong-yeon, a professor at Korea National University of Arts, will run from June 21-24. .

The co-organizers explained that the festival, which will be held annually, intends to continue the mood of a thaw in tense inter-Korean relations, which has been gaining traction since the North’s participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in February.

Elbourne said he came up with the idea of staging a festival under the theme of the DMZ after visiting last year as a tourist. He said he was convinced the DMZ was the proper place to send the social messages of music.

 
(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

The festival‘s lineup shows more indie and underground artists rather than K-pop idols. Among participating artists are veteran singer Kim Soo-chul, rock band Crying Nut, traditional folk band Ssing Ssing, indie rock band Kiha & the Faces and Jambinai, a band widely known for blending rock instruments and Korean traditional sounds. Foreign artists such as French singer-songwriter Joyce Jonathan and Scottish band Colonel Mustard & the Dijon 5 will also take part.

A seminar for musical industry insiders from disputed territories, such as Palestine, will take place at Platform Changdong 61, a cultural space in Seoul, from June 21-22, while a live performance will be staged at Goseokjeong Pavilion in Cheorwon county in Gangwon Province, from June 23-24. The event will also see a special concert at Woljeong-ri Station, South Korea‘s northernmost train station located near the DMZ. All concerts and performances will be free of charge.

Han Kyung-rock, the Crying Nut bassist, said the band will play its hit “Luxemburg,” an upbeat song that includes the line, “Korea that will be united soon.”

“We wish our song performed at DMZ to spread around the world like a butterfly effect, and wish messages of peace to resonate during the festival instead of gunfire,” he said.

More artists announced for the lineup of the event will soon follow, the organizers said.

(lotus@heraldcorp.com)
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