Contrary to popular belief, North Korean life isn’t all about being serious and in fear, it has a fun side too. In fact, North Korea, just like it’s neighbours South Korea and Japan, has a huge Karaoke culture. North Korean people love to sing and dance. In most restaurants you go to go in Pyongyang there’s no escaping a performance afterwards. Or alternatively, you can do it yourself in the Yanggakdo hotel in the evening! So no matter where you go, you’re going to be faced with the experience of North Korean Karaoke, you might as well make the most of it!
Restaurant Karaoke: North Korean Style!
You’ve just had a delicious evening meal in Pyongyang, be it hotpot, Korean BBQ or Pyongyang specialty Naengmyeon. You observe at your restaurant there’s a widescreen TV in the corner of the room and a stage. What could that be about? Suddenly, the waitresses you have been serving you grab a microphone and they start singing. The songs that they sing to you are obviously not K-Pop ones, they’re local ones about the country’s leaders and politics. The music all has a very 1980s electronic theme to it. But there are also other ones too, such as traditional Korean songs. A very famous one you’re likely to hear is called “ban-gap-seum-ni-da 반갑습니다” which literally means “pleased to meet you in Korean”. A bizarre sounding song that’s for sure, but you’ll actually find it’s very catchy… then you won’t be able to get it out of your head! Sit back and enjoy the performances for a memorable evening in Pyongyang!
The Yanggakdo Hotel Karaoke
Fancy it yourself? In the Yanggakdo Hotel basement there is a whole Karaoke room for visitors! It costs 20 RMB ($4 USD) for a session to sing on it. The difference is that this North Korean Karaoke isn’t about local political songs (although they can be if you really want them) it’s all about famous western songs. Using a Chinese imported system, they have everything and everything from you to sing here. We spent one night here ending up singing the song from Titanic, Elvis, Robbie Williams, Madonna, Disney all the most famous western artists you can think of! Plenty of us had a turn as well. Overall, do you think North Korea is boring? Think again! Come and stretch your vocal cords with North Korean Karaoke!