North Korea

Kim Jong-un’s favourite group the Moranbong Band is back

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 April, 2014, 10:14pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 April, 2014, 10:14pm

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's favourite group the Moranbong Band - with guitar-slinging, miniskirted girls - is back.

After a six-month break, the queens of North Korea's pop scene are once again playing to standing room-only crowds and rave reviews in the state media.

They are also the darlings of primetime television, such as it is.

Even athletes at this month's Pyongyang marathon were treated to one of the band's livelier tunes - blared at them from a sound truck. More than merely a pop sensation, the Moranbong Band, said to have been hand-picked by Kim himself, has come to be the softer, more hummable face of the new Kim regime since the group's stage debut in 2012.

This is despite speculation at least one of its members had fallen out of favour in connection with the purge of Kim's once-powerful uncle earlier this year.

The last big concert by the band, made up of more than a dozen members - who play everything from electric violins and cellos to keyboards and drums - was in October.

Kim was on hand this month for one of band's comeback concerts, when, according to state media, he was treated to "colourful numbers" including O My Motherland Full of Hope, Our Father, We Think of the Marshal Day and Night and other "light" arrangements.

"The supreme commander spared time to watch the performance, though he was very busy with the work to protect the destiny of the country and its people from the arrogant and reckless moves of the US imperialists and other hostile forces to stifle the DPRK," the concert host reportedly told the audience.

"Kim Jong-un waved back to the cheering performers and audience and congratulated the artistes on their successful performance."