Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Naxos of Evil

Since the possibility of the New York Philharmonic playing in North Korea is in the news again, here are a few more artistic exchanges happening with North Korea:

  • North Korea's State Orchestra is going to play the UK for 10 days in September 2008. Interesting backstory. The Orchestra will tour thanks to an invitation by Suzannah Clarke, a soprano who has performed in North Korea since 2003. She was invited in part because she is from Middlesbrough, the city that hosted the North Korean soccer team during the World Cup of 1966. In 2002, of course, was when Daniel Gordon's documentary THE GAME OF THEIR LIVES, about North Korea's improbable World Cup run in 1966.

  • Guitarist Jason Carter played in Pyongyang earlier this year (thanks to Philip for the fun entry and all the other good stuff he does). Carter wrote all about his trip in a long blog entry. It is quite a Kool-Aid-drink, but still quite interesting. You can even listen to an MP3 of him playing THE SOUND OF SILENCE in Pyongyang.

  • In August there was an art exhibition of North Korean works in London's West End. Amusingly (or interestingly, depending on your levels of cynicism and irony) the curator met a North Korean artist in Zambabwe in 2001, which is how the whole thing got started.

  • Of course, any planning with North Korea is always pretty dicey. Remember how the Rock for Peace concert in NK turned out.

  • What does it all mean? Heck if I know. But I suspect Andrei Lankov is right, that any and all exchanges mean that more people in North Korea are being exposed to the truth, and truth will inevitably chip away at the regime up there. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, as the saying goes.
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