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K-pop star performs with North Korean Samjiyon Orchestra.

The North Korean performance troupe Samjiyon Orchestra's last performance in South Korea ended as a harmonious collaboration between the two countries.

South Korean K-pop idol Seohyun was a surprise guest singer at their final performance held Sunday at the National Theater of Korea in central Seoul.

This is the second and last performance by the North Korean troupe in the country, following the first on Feb. 8 at the Gangneung Arts Center on the eve of the opening of 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games.

The first piece performed in the Seoul concert was "Pangapsumnida" which means "nice to meet you" in Korean. It is the same piece that was performed in the Gangneung concert last Thursday. The rest of the repertoire was not much different from their previous Gangneung performance. They performed eight North Korean songs, 13 South Korean ones and 25 international songs, filling the 100-minute concert with over 40 repertoires.

K-pop star Seohyun's appearance was unexpected and the crowd cheered as she sang "Our Wish is Unification" with the North Korean troupe.

President Moon Jae-in and the first lady watched the performance next to Kim Yo-jong, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister, and Kim Yong-nam, North Korea's nominal head of state. A total of 1,550 people filled the Seoul concert hall with dignitaries including Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, Korean Air Chairman Cho Yang-ho and pianist Son Yeol-eum to name a few.

Security at the venue was intense. Several metal detectors were placed in the lobby and attendees faced heavy inspections of belongings as well as body searches in order to enter the concert hall.

Mixed reactions were felt within and outside the performance venue.

Those inside the concert hall were excited to be part of the historic event, waiting in line to get their tickets three hours before the concert, saying it's a "miracle" and a "very special memory that will last a lifetime." Outside the venue, however, anti-North Korean protests were held in the vicinity and in central Seoul.

Getting tickets for either of the troupe's performances was practically impossible, as their popularity soared in this country due to the rare opportunity to see any North Korean group performing here, and 156,000 people applied for a lucky draw to be selected as audience members. The culture ministry had to draw lots for both Gangneung and Seoul performances due to security reasons and limited availability of seats.

Previously in Gangneung, 280 citizens won tickets out of 560 available seats, and in Seoul 500 were selected from the 1,500 seats available. Each lucky winner received two tickets and the rest went to dignitaries.

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Publication:The Korea Times News (Seoul, Korea)
Geographic Code:9SOUT
Date:Feb 11, 2018
Words:504
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