August 05, 2021

In North Korea, the accordion plays the soundtrack of the state

The instrument serves as a tool to coordinate work and maximize indoctrination, rather than entertain

Growing up in Pyongyang, Sun Kyung Choi, a defector now living in South Korea, said that most parents wanted their children to learn how to dance, sing or play an instrument, much like mothers and fathers anywhere in the world.

But in North Korea, there was one musical instrument in particular that parents preferred, a box of bellows and buttons that produces the soundtrack of the state — the accordion.