N. Korea art troupe performs their first performance in Gangneung

북한 예술단, 목요일 강릉아트센터에서 첫 공연

Seats at the Opening and the Closing Ceremonies are normally the hottest tickets in town during the Olympics,... but this time a rival performance blew them away in terms of demand -- two extremely rare performances by a North Korean orchestra.
More than 150-thousand South Koreans applied for just 1,060 tickets.
Won Jung-hwan reports.
An audience of more than 5-hundred-50 people were treated to a unique performance by a North Korean art troupe on the eve of the opening of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in the city of Gangneung.
The lucky audience members were randomly selected from a pool of nearly 40-thousand people who previously applied for a ticket to watch the troupe's first performance in South Korea.

"I felt sense of cultural similarity regardless of its difference between the two nations,… and the overall performance was well structured."

"Although we had a lot of expectations, we really enjoyed the show,… we could see that they prepared a lot for this performance. But at the same time, I wish this is not just a one-off thing just for the Olympics,… I wish the two country exchange more after the Olympics."

The 140 member-strong art troupe otherwise known as the Samjiyon Band and led by Hyon Song-wol , arrived in South Korea on February 6. The band is comprised of more than 50 elite musicians known for their diverse repertoire,... which even includes songs from U.S. animated movies like "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Lion King."
Thursday's show at Gangneung Arts Center featured popular songs by household South Korean artists such as Lee Sun-hee and Shim Soo-bong .

They sang songs which we were familiar for us to sing along,… I was impressed by Choi Jin-hee's 'Maze of Love', 'Arirang', and 'Everybody ChaChaCha'.

Another widely anticipated performance was that of the so-called Moranbong Band, a group of talented musicians and all-female singers who are known for their colorful performances and are often compared to South Korean K-pop girl bands.
This marks the first time since 2002 that Pyongyang sent an art troupe to South Korea. It is also the largest North Korean artistic delegation to ever perform on a South Korean stage.

Meanwhile, nearly 300 conservative activists held a rally in front of the Gangneung Art Center, some 4 hours prior the performance. The protest ended without incident.

"Next for the North’s art troupe, a trip to Seoul to perform at the National Theater of Korea on Sunday evening,… one day after the joint Korean women's ice hockey team faces its first Olympic match against Switzerland.
Won Jung-hwan, Arirang News. Gangneung.”

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