Norkore is what writer Travis Jeppeson calls North Korean pop music. He traveled to NK in 2012 and was the first American to ever enroll in a North Korean university (according to Wikipedia).

“norkore – excerpt from see you again in pyongyang” (from 3:AM Magazine)

He describes NK’s “house band” Moranbong Band, tells us that one of Kim’s favorite songs is the theme from “Rocky”, and more.

Many people believe that music is a universal language. Maybe Kim and Trump can bond over music and then move on to talking seriously about nuclear disarmament and freeing the Japanese abductees.


Mixing kawaii and grotesque

Comedian Naomi Watanabe may be “the Japanese Beyonce” (also here) and people have for years been saying that Hayao Miyazaki is “the Japanese Walt Disney” (see this and this and this for example). Now this article from the BBC asks, “Is Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Japan’s Lady Gaga?” (it’s mostly an interview with the eccentric Japanese singer and fashion icon).

Some highlights:

  • Her image is called a combination of “kawaii and grotesque”. (That’s similar to Gaga.)
  • She likes Starbucks but doesn’t like coffee. (Maybe not so uncommon these days?)
  • Her private look is not as colorful as her public persona. (Makes sense.)
  • She doeesn’t mind being compared to Gaga, but they are both evolving, she says.

Summary task: Continue reading the interview and summarize your own “highlights”.

The 97%

This self-taught guitarist is from a small town in Russia. He was 19 when he did this.

Watch more of his renditions of popular songs on his YouTube channel.

And you can read an interview here. A couple of excerpts:

“I just play what I love in the style which I love.”

“I try my best to make my own music interesting and original.”

I liked it when he said it took him “a whole week” to learn to play it flawlessly. Like a week is a long time to be able to do that!

And the final question, about the secret to his success:

“Well, I think the secret lies in dedication and many hours of hard work. I don’t really believe in a “talent” and some natural abilities to play music. If the talent exists, it gives you only 3 percent of the success. The other 97 percent of the success are made only by you.


Japanese blues

Jero is an enka (“Japanese blues”) singer. He’s a bilingual African-American man who was born in Pittsburgh and started singing songs her learned from his grandmother, who was from Yokohama, when he was a little boy. He’s the first black enka singer in history.