Korean art troupe arrives in Pyongyang for performances

Korean art troupe arrives in Pyongyang for performances

South Korean popular girl band Red Velvet's arrival in North Korea for two concerts has highlighted the sudden thaw in relations between the two Koreas after years of tension.

As many as 160 K-pop musicians could take part in the concerts; such top musicians as Cho Yong Pil, the five-strong Red Velvet female band (except for one of its members, Joy, who didn't join her bandmates due to scheduling conflicts with the drama she's now starring in and was harshly slammed on social media for her being absent) and the solo singer Seohuyn will perform for their North Korean neighbors.

According to the South Korean news media, several of the stars going on the trip this week, including some in their 60s, will perform North Korean ballads and other songs invoking peace and reunification. On Tuesday, they will take part in a joint performance with North Korean artists at a larger venue in the capital.

Kim proposed that the next one be held in Seoul under the title "Autumn Comes".

They travelled to Pyongyang on Saturday in a reciprocal cultural visit after North Korea sent performers to the South in February, the South's Culture Ministry said.

This is the first time since November 2007 that South Korean artists have performed in the North.

The team, made up mostly of technicians, will set up stages for the 160-member South Korean art troupe that will perform twice in Pyongyang the following week in cross-border cultural exchange ahead of an inter-Korean summit on April 27.

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In February, the 26-year old performed alongside North Korea's 137-strong Samjiyon Orchestra, which was part of North Korea's art troupe during the recent Winter Games. No date has been set for the US-North Korean summit.

This year's drills feature fewer strategic weapons such as a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, Seoul's military has said.

They have won over buttoned-up investors at a banking conference with their jingles about teenage love, but the K-pop girl band Red Velvet is about to face what may be its toughest audience yet: North Korea.

Red Velvet will be performing their hit songs "Red Flavor" and "Bad Boy".

Another member, Seulgi, appeared red-eyed as she bid farewell to the audience at the end of the concert, apparently overcome with emotion.

Eleven Korean acts in the lineup of the concerts are: Cho Yong-pil, Lee Sun-hee, Choi Jin-hee, Yoon Do-hyun, Baek Ji-young, Red Velvet, Jungin, Seohyun, Ali, Kang San-eh and Kim Kwang-min.

The stiffened crowd refused to respond to the athletes who motioned them to clap their hands to "Fire" - an intense electro-dance score peppered with rapid-fire rap delivered in both Korean and English.

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