North Koreans won’t be seeing Psy perform, but they’re still in for a rare treat.
As part of its ongoing diplomatic efforts with North Korea, Seoul will send a 160-member art troupe to Pyongyang for a series of concerts held between March 31 and April 3. The South Korean government confirmed that the Gangnam Style singer had been considered for the roster, but didn’t make the final cut.
The cultural offensive comes just after North and South Korean officials agreed that a summit between leaders of the two countries—the first since 2007—would take place on April 27 at the border village of Panmunjom.
The biggest name among the delegation is girl group Red Velvet, which will perform its recent hits ”Bad Boy” and “Red Flavor.” Seohyun, a member of another hugely popular girl group, Girls’ Generation, will be flying solo in Pyongyang.
Singer Lee Sun-hee, known for her ballads, and veteran singer Cho Yong-pil are other notable singers in the troupe.
South Korean musicians have performed in the North during previous windows of detente. In 1999, two idol groups, including boy band Sechskies (below), performed in Pyongyang.
Legendary boy band Shinhwa, which performed in Pyongyang in 2003, wished the cultural troupe good luck ahead of its departure to North Korea tomorrow (March 31). One member said, “I’d advise junior artists to be cautious when approaching North Koreans, since expressing friendliness in our way to them can be a little tricky.” As this video from Shinhwa’s performance shows, the North Korean audience gave the group a less-than-rapturous reception than what they would have been used to at home.