Impress the locals with these popular tunes
Music plays a big part in North Korean culture. One thing that you won’t miss when you visit North Korea is the opportunity to sing karaoke in restaurants – the perfect chance to show off your shower singing skills!
Today we give you a list of the best Korean karaoke songs for impressing locals with. North Korean songs have their unique tone and rhythm that will certainly become earworms throughout your trip.
반갑습니다 Glad to meet you
There is no better song to kick off Korean karaoke than '반갑습니다', which translates as 'Glad to meet you'. It was written by Ri Jong O in 1991 and became famous throughout the whole of Korea as it dominated all the inter-Korean concerts. It is the perfect anthem to break the ice on any occasion and trigger a chorus between the crowds.
그대정녕아시는지 Wonder if you know
One of the best film soundtracks in the DPRK, this song is from Rim Kyok Jong, a film about the chief of 'brigands' that took the sword against the feudal rulers in the 16th century. Though born in a low social class, he is gifted with strength and leadership, and he decides to use it for the sake of peasants and the poor. The scene in the music video is when he falls in love at first sight with his future wife playing the kayagum. Many characteristics of the song, like a moderate tempo, predictable melody and the ravishing string sound of the kayagum are what keep the song playing on loop in your head.
바다의노래 Song of the sea
A folk Korean song, so popular that you can even find in Chinese Karaoke (KTV)
도시처녀시집와요 An Urban Girl Comes to Get Married
A soundtrack from the movie Urban Girl Comes to Get Married, a love story of Ri Hyang and Song Sik. Ri Hyang moves to the countryside to marry Song Sik. It has a real groove that will make you want to grab the mic and pretend to know the lyrics.
준마처녀 Heroic Workers' Factory
It is not very convenient for men to sing this song, as the lyrics go 'I’m an excellent worker girl', but the tune is catchy enough that even men want to sing along.
Junmachonyo refers to a young woman whois proficient and competent. Koreans use the word 마 (ma, which literally means ‘swift horse’) to indicate something that is fast and effective. The origin comes from the Chollima movement in the 1950s, a competition waged among the workers to work harder for the ‘Great Leap in Socialist Construction’.
Ri Jong O turned Jo Gi Chon’s (one of the most famous Korean poets, who wrote the famous poem Paektusan) poem into music. And as with all other of Ri Jong O’s songs, it is a big banger in DPRK. The funky tune in the hook is the best part to whistle along to and dance the night away.
다시만납시다 Let us Meet Again
It is customary for Koreans to sing this classic to end the night. So be warned! It is considered rude to select the song in the middle of the karaoke event, as it is a farewell song! Koreans would never sing that song unless you are the boss, or were told to sing the song. It has rather melancholic harmony, but a great song to build up memories with the locals!