Unusual Music on DPRK Radio

Thursday, March 03, 2016
Juche Tower, Pyongyang by groucho
Today, while listening to DPRK's Voice of Korea Russian Service, I heard what sounded like traditional Korean music. I found this rather unusual, since their playlist typically consists of military choir recordings, marches, solemn patriotic songs and the occasional bit of light pop music (none of which sound particularly Korean). Below is my recording of this piece, made outdoors using a Tecsun PL-680 radio and the supplied external antenna (15245 kHz on 03/03/2016 at 0918 UTC):

Indeed, my friends on Twitter, Mark Fahey of Behind The Curtain and Thomas Witherspoon of SWLing.com — both experts on North Korean radio — were equally surprised:
Below is the full recording from which the above audio clip was taken (15245 kHz on 03/03/2016 at 0903 UTC):

Click here to download the recording.

Another interesting thing about this broadcast was a song in Russian by Sultan Karimov, a popular Kyrgyz singer. The song, titled "Love!" (imperative verb),  is in praise of one's wife, whom one must love very much and recognise her role in the functioning of the revolutionary socialist society. Introducing it, the presenter goes as far as to say that "the song is dedicated to beloved wives, who are not only responsible for family life but are also one of the wheels in the cart of communal life". I have not been able to find a trace of it anywhere else, which probably means that it was specially commissioned by North Korea. You can find it at 11 minutes 58 seconds into the full recording.

It appears that Voice of Korea are diversifying their playlist somewhat, though perhaps not in the way one might have expected.

About the author

This blog is written by a shortwave radio enthusiast based in London, UK. You can follow him on Twitter at @LondonShortwave