View map

We are excited and grateful to be in community with Dr Keith Howard, Emeritus Professor of Music and Leverhulme Fellow from SOAS, University of London, as the first voice of the Voices in East Asian Studies and Music project led by Christopher Hepburn, a Postdoctoral Scholar and Teaching Fellow.

Join us as Dr Keith Howard takes a deep dive into North Korean ideology, providing an overview, zooming in on two periods of leadership transition – from Kim Il Sung to Kim Jong Il in 1994-1997, and from Kim Jong Il to Kim Jong Un in 2009-2011 – and finally looking at contemporary song production.


Summary of Talk: Under North Korea’s juche ideology, “seeds” are implanted in the lyrics and in the leitmotifs of songs. Songs are then recast in multiple forms to increase the penetration of the “seeds”. They become background music, festival music, and the music of mass games, but the message remains the same even when lyrics are replaced by instrumental or orchestral arrangements.


Brief Bio: Keith Howard is an ethnomusicologist, musicologist and anthropologist. With an astonishing academic career, spanning over forty years, Howard, primarily known for his ethnomusicological work on Korea, has written or edited 23 books, including, recently, Songs for "Great Leaders": Ideology and Creativity in North Korean Music and Dance(Oxford University Press, 2020), Presence Through Sound: Music and Place in East Asia (Routledge, 2020), and Transcultural Fandom and the Globalization of Hallyu (Korea University, 2019). 


We would like to acknowledge and thank our co-sponsors, the Levan Institute for the Humanities, the Thornton School of Music, the Korean Heritage Library, and the Shinso Ito Center, for their generous support of Keith Howard's visit.

Event Details

See Who Is Interested

0 people are interested in this event

User Activity

No recent activity