SONGS OF JOY

A North Korean girl group helped celebrate Kim Jong-un’s latest missile launch

North Korea isn’t exactly known for its pop culture, but when there’s an important missile launch to be celebrated, it apparently knows how to party.

This past weekend (July 9) the ruling regime held a concert headlined by the Moranbong Band, a girl group formed in 2012 whose members were reportedly chosen by the dear leader Kim Jong-un himself. It’s known for (paywall) such well-received songs as “Our Dear Leader!” and “Do Prosper, Era of the Workers’ Party.”

Behind the performers was the real star: the Hwasong-14 missile, shown on a jumbo screen heading skyward. Launched on July 4, the nation’s first intercontinental ballistic missile gave the region—as well as the US, which was celebrating its Independence Day—the jitters. The missile landed in the Sea of Japan after being launched on a very high trajectory from North Korean soil. Experts later determined that it could have hit Alaska on a standard trajectory.

Also performing on the big night were a dance troupe, the national choir, and the all-female Chongbong Band. Among the songs performed were “Song of Hwasong Rocket,” “Make Others Envy Us,” and “Toast to the Victors.” The audience included military brass, missile engineers, and Kim himself, for whom the audience made a thunderous applause along with shouts of joy.

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