Tuesday, 24 April, 2018

Red Velvet singer Joy to skip Pyongyang concerts over scheduling conflicts

Members of South Korean popular girl band Red Velvet pose for Members of South Korean popular girl band Red Velvet pose for
Jodi Jackson | 02 April, 2018, 01:11

Top South Korean musical acts including a K-pop girlband are set to hold a rare concert in North Korea Sunday evening in the latest reconciliatory gesture before a rare inter-Korean summit.

More than 150 artists are in the capital Pyongyang for two shows.

Her 1984 mega hit Love Maze was reported to be late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's favourite song, and is credited with helping South Korean pop culture gain a following in the socialist state.

It comes amid thawing relations between the Koreas after months of tension.

K-pop stars are set to perform at a concert along with 10 other music groups from South Korea in Pyongyang on April 1 - a month ahead of a much-anticipated inter-Korean summit.

It marks the first by South Korean artists to perform in the North since Cho held a solo concert in Pyongyang in 2005.

The two rivals on Friday agreed a date for next month's inter-Korean summit the third ever of its kind following 2000 and 2007 meetings at Panmunjom truce village on the heavily-fortified border on April 27.

Meanwhile, the USA and South Korea have begun their annual military drills, which have been scaled down compared with previous years as both countries prepare for talks with North Korea.

South Korean groups perform during a rehearsal in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sunday, April 1, 2018.

Also in the group traveling Saturday are staff members, taekwondo performers, journalists and government officials tasked with supporting the performers.

Joy, one of the five members of Red Velvet, will miss the trip to Pyongyang due to her TV drama shooting schedule, their agency SM Entertainment said.

The popular quintet who first formed in 2014 are still seen as relative newcomers, but have already managed to scoop up their fair share of awards. As one of the most established K-pop acts today, the band is expected to offer a taste of some of the most cutting-edge K-pop to people in the isolated communist country.

"Spring literally has arrived and it also presents our wishes for spring to come over our relationship between the North and the South", Hwang Seong-un, a spokesman for South Korea's culture ministry said at a briefing in Seoul on March 27.

An industry veteran, Cho is considered one of the most influential figures in South Korea's music scene.

North Korea's culture minister Pak Chun-nam and Hyon Song-wol, head of the North's all-female Moranbong Band, greeted them at the airport, according to a pool report.

Another iconic singer in South Korea, Lee Sun-hee first made her debut in 1984.

The South's taekwondo athletes also staged a performance before an audience of 2,300 in Pyongyang yesterday ahead of a joint display of the Korean martial art with the North's practitioners on Monday.

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