The Olympic Games in South Korea have seen an unprecedented influx of performers and politicians from Seoul's reclusive neighbour and rival state.
And, at for least a few days, cultural diplomacy has seemed to outshine the growing confrontation between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump.
Adam Cathcart, a lecturer in Chinese history, at the University of Leeds, has given interviews to the Washington Post about the North Korean musical performances in
Along with his co-author, Pekka Korhonen (Politics, University of Jyväskylä, Finland), Cathcart was just awarded the R. Serge Denisoff Prize by the Popular Music & Society journal, the journal's annual award for the top article published on its pages.
The journal is at the forefront of many debates about the interface between music and politics -- including questions of censorship, with articles about Finnish heavy metal bands, rock music in East Germany, and the Russian protest band "Pussy Riot."
Cathcart and Korhonen's prize-winning article documented a cultural shift in North Korea during the transitional years during which Kim Jong-un was rising in prominence, and looked at changes in musical ensembles in North Korea. The two have also authored articles on the Moranbong Band, Kim Jong-un's emblematic ensemble which has brought a very limited kind of openness (along with images of a few missile launches) to one of the most closed countries in the world.