September 30, 2023

A North Korean school of rock: teaching heavy metal to Pyongyang school girls

Funky Sueyoshi reflects on his time at the June 9th school — and whether music could ever inspire change in the DPRK

I’m waiting in the basement of the Umeda Zeela concert hall in Osaka, Japan. In just a few hours, drummer Funky Sueyoshi will be performing a 20th-anniversary concert with members of his band, X.Y.Z.→A (pronounced X, Y, Z to A). 

Wearing a simple T-shirt and his long white hair not quite stage-ready, Sueyoshi greets me cheerfully. His exterior is certainly that of a rockstar, but the man I’m talking to is far from your typical Japanese musician.