North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has established a new orchestra to produce music for the masses while simultaneously ordering the confiscation and destruction of other, banned music, UPI reported. Kim’s newly formed Chongbong Orchestra is composed primarily of brass instruments. Unlike other musical bands in North Korea’s recent history, which made music for the upper echelons of North Korean society, the Chongbong Orchestra’s task is to produce music for the people.
At the same time, Kim has cracked down on other music, issuing a decree demanding the confiscation and destruction of any tapes or CDs containing music that could potentially threaten the North Korean regime. An example: the banned soundtrack from a local film whose hero is reminiscent of Robin Hood. Two of its tracks included “Take Action Blood Brothers” and “To Get Revenge,” the Daily NK reported. The fear is that the lyrics of banned music could inspire anti-regime sentiment.
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The inminban, or “people’s units,” were overseeing the confiscations of music, the Daily NK reported. The inminban has been described as “the backbone” of North Korean surveillance, in which citizens are obligated to monitor one another's activities.
The crackdown may be having the opposite effect of what Kim intended, however. Not only were some local residents pushing back against authorities who confiscated or destroyed their property, but the ban also brought attention to and renewed interest in songs that were newly censored.
It was not clear whether Kim created the Chongbong Orchestra, which produces mostly “light music” and whose members have been described as “ideological scouts, the bugles of revolution, ideological flag bearers,” to fill the musical vacuum left by the newly confiscated tunes, UPI reported.
Kim previously created a female band, Moranbong, that was similarly geared toward producing music for the people.