If you are interested in partying in North Korea, we have bad news for you.
There are no clubs in Pyongyang or anywhere else in the country. Nightlife will most likely be limited to two hotels: the Yanggakdo Hotel and the Koryo Hotel, both of them equipped with casinos, karaokes and nightclubs, although these are not open to locals.
North Korea is a place where even Internet, music and movies are subjected to political censorship, and devotion to the regime is the only accepted norm. Being caught with prohibited material can lead to jail, forced labor, or worse.
Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea, has absolute control over the country. Thus, he has the last word in music, since it plays a crucial role as a propaganda machine and promotes government interests.
An example is that of the Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble, formed by Kim Jong-il in the early-80s. They were the first North Korean band to use electric guitars, synthesizers and saxophone, playing Korean folk music, Chinese, Soviet and even a little bit of Western pop.
Every morning in Pyongyang, at 6am, citizens begin their day with the song ‘Where Are You, Dear General?‘ performed by the above-mentioned orchestra and played through the various city’s loudspeakers. Listen to it below!
Or the Moranbong Band, formed by Kim Jong-un in 2012. Referred to in the West as “North Korea’s version of the Spice Girls“, the first DPRK all-female band performs interpretive styles of pop, rock, and fusion.
Due to all these restrictions the locals have arranged an underground network of secret clubs, taking places in abandoned buildings or private houses where rooms are soundproofed to prevent the noise of illegal music from escaping outside. Definitely the only places where North Korean youth can dance and listen to electronic music.
On Tuesday 12th June, there was an epochal event of great significance: U.S. President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signed a symbolic agreement to promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Hopefully, following their meeting in Singapore, things in the DPRK will improve… and maybe locals will be able to enjoy any kind of music without hiding in DIY clubs.