When Norwegian artist Morten Traavik traveled to North Korea, he met students from the Pyongyang Kum Song School of Music and gave them a CD of Euro-pop group a-ha. The students surprised him by performing "Take On Me" on accordions.
From Korea Realtime blog over at The Wall Street Journal:
After giving the students the CD on a Monday night, they surprised him by playing their own improvised version of “Take On Me” on Wednesday morning. Mr. Traavik made a video of them and decided to post it on YouTube to promote the festival. Since he put it up on Thursday, the video has gone viral, passed along by North Korea watchers and others mystified or intrigued by the idea of musicians in a collective society with traditional instruments playing one of the classics of 1980s Euro-pop.
Mr. Traavik said he’s noticed the video has attracted the normal skepticism about its origins and whether the musicians were threatened to learn the music or secretly dislike it. He said he views them as normal artists who, skilled at their instrument, did what was natural when presented with something they liked – tried to re-create it.
“I think it’s quite evident from the video that you can’t accomplish that in such a time if you would suppose those young musicians actually hate what they’re doing,” he said.
Hit play or go to Link [YouTube]
The accordion is not touted by totalitarian regimes as the instrument of the people. It is a widely used instrument. It has many variations and is considered a traditional instrument in other countries.